Editorial

by Alex Apostolov, Editor-in-Chief

Wireless Communications - can't live without them

Wireless communications are not something new. They are actually the oldest form of communications, maybe simply because wires appeared very late in human history.

Wireless Communications - can't live without them

The first wireless communications were based on sound (for example using drums or gongs) or visual (fire or smoke) to provide some form of pre-agreed upon information to a remote recipient. These communications were used successfully for thousands of years until the second half of the nineteenth century.
After Maxwell predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves and Hertz proved it, in 1897 Marconi received a patent and demonstrated a wireless telegraph to the English telegraph office.
It is amazing that in just a little more than one hundred years, wireless communications have developed in such a way and have become an integral part of our everyday life, creating what I would call a “wireless addiction” - we simply can’t live without them.

And the electric power industry is no exception.
That is why we decided to dedicate this issue of the magazine to wireless communications.
Like everything else, wireless communications have pros and cons. That is why we cannot just say that we will switch all protection and control communications to wireless.

Should we use them? It depends!
It depends on the application and its performance requirements. It depends on the location, terrain, distances, wireless technology and many other factors. But things are getting better and many applications, like the ones described in the articles in the magazine, demonstrate that there is a bright future for wireless communications in protection and control.
We are already seeing many examples of the successful use of wireless communications for PAC applications. But as usual, as is common to human nature, we want more and better. We want higher speeds and reliability. So, the question is - what is the future of wireless communications?

When we think about the future, we need to be realistic how far ahead we can see. When I think about the time that I started my career as a protection engineer, pretty much everything was wired and based on electromechanical devices.
To find information you had to go to the library, to watch a movie - you had to go to the cinema, to calculate something you used a slide rule, etc., etc. So, we could never imagine a future that is our reality today - with everything available on our multifunctional mobile devices using wireless communications.
That is why I think that we can only talk about the near future - maybe 10 to 20 years ahead. And in this future, it looks like wireless technology will play a key role in every aspect of our lives - personal and professional. The world of protection, automation and control is not an exception.

The days when Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology will arrive in the electric power systems based on 5G to support Peer-to-Peer (P2P) communications are not that far away, so we should start getting ready for it.
I don’t think that it will be difficult to convince PAC specialists to accept communications with latency of 1 ms and reliability with packet loss of less than 10-9. We need to start using this technology to become aware of all the benefits and challenges, so we can take full advantage of what it can give us

"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is,
all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.
We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance."

Nikola Tesla

Relion advanced protection & control.
BeijingSifang June 2016