Process Control systems are embarking on a new wave of opportunities driven by Information Technology developments in infrastructure and system integration. Currently, most process and control systems consist of multiple, separate networks witlimited interconnectivity. On the other hand, and due to the rapid developments of Information Technology, desktop computer system, Internet and Ethernet technologies are becoming increasingly suitable for use in the Manufacturing and Process Control sectors. This means that for the first time computer and communication structures based on Ethernet/Internet technology can be extended throughout the entire operation.

High speed industrial Ethernet and Broadband Wireless solutions provide reliable and flexible network connectivity deployment that is cost effective and efficient for various oil and gas applications. The wide area Ethernet network minimizes number of layers and protocol between Data Acquisition Server (DAS) at the control room and the remote sites. In addition, wireless broadband access has the potential to be first mile network access for plant and process operations such as Intelligent Field "I-Field," SCADA, and other remote process monitoring applications. Moreover, open standard Industrial wireless solution (IP based) can easily be integrated and interfaced with the wired solution "corporate LAN/WAN," thus providing seamless end-to-end network connectivity

This paper provides an overview of the High Speed Network for Intelligent Field Data Acquisition, introduces the communication infrastructure for Process Automation applications. Industry trends and directions related to security, reliability and availability requirements will be shared. Finally, the different network design options for Process Automation operational environment that have been evolved over the past years will be presented.

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