Selecting the best frequency band for an industrial wireless network is one of the most challenging issues.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has three primary frequency bands designated for unlicensed operation.  Unlicensed means the operator of the radios does not need to file directly with the FCC to use the radio.  The three frequency bands used for this in the U.S. are the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz.

unlicensed radio frequencies for industrial wireless networks

As we have outlined in our blog series so far, each frequency band has both advantages and concerns for any industrial wireless network application.  In general, when comparing each of the unlicensed bands the following are differences of each:

900 MHz – This frequency band has the best coverage area and will provide the best range when compared to the other two.  Unfortunately, this band also has the smallest number of available channels that can limit how many concurrent wireless networks can operate in the same area.

2.4 GHz – This frequency band has many more channels available than the 900 MHz and also supports WiFi clients.  Because of the higher frequency of operation, the 2.4 GHz band must have a line of sight (LOS) between the antennas so more repeaters may be required.

5.8 GHz – This frequency band has the highest number of available channels and greater bandwidths that support higher data rates, but you will need a direct line of sight between antennas for reliable operation or longer distances.

Each of these unlicensed bands do have common features.  Each will support a self-healing, Mesh network, and all are compatible with ESTeem industrial wireless radios, which support high-speed Ethernet interfaces and have legacy serial ports.  All three frequencies support outdoor mounting using our industrial, NEMA4 rated mounting hardware, and all can be used in harsh industrial applications.

ESTeem has years of experience selecting the right frequency and designing the best industrial wireless networks for our customers’ needs. Contact us today for the assistance you need.