The IEEE 802.11/a/b/g specifications for wireless local area networks (WLAN), the IEEE 802.15.4 specification for low-rate wireless personal area networks, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) specifications have enabled a wide range of wireless applications such as wireless networking, wireless sensing, monitoring and control, and asset and personnel tracking. For the Oil & Gas industry, using this technology will lead to reduced operating costs as well as enable new applications.
This paper identifies the technical requirements for wireless technology within the boundaries of the Oil & Gas industry. Experiments have been performed on wireless solutions within three application areas in order to examine whether or not currently available technologies fulfill these requirements. The conclusion is that WLAN technology is ready for deployment in Oil & Gas installations, while there still is a need for an open industrial standard for wireless sensor networks. Regarding RFID, our experiments show that solutions with passive tags are not suitable for asset and personnel tracking applications.