Xavier Bush
Jesper Lindström
Prof. James Gross

10 minute read

As mentioned in our introduction, we will begin this series by covering the random propagation effects that occur within a wireless environment. These effects greatly impact signal reliability and are a significant hurdle for wireless networks to overcome before going industrial. This entry provides an overview of the issue, explains why current wireless technologies haven’t yet adopted an effective counter, then introduces a ground-breaking technique developed over the past decade. We will finish by introducing EchoRing and its potential as a commercial industrial wireless solution.         

The Challenge

The basic process of wireless communications begins when a transmitter encodes an information packet (a collection of bits) into an electromagnetic wave. This process is known as modulation. Propagation effects begin as the wave is sent over the air, which impacts the signal’s reception. The two most important propagation effects are:

Multi-Path Propagation

This effect happens when one or more “copies” of the original transmission reaches the receiver. This is because, in most cases, the exact location of the receiver is unknown to the transmitter, therefore the transmission wave is emitted in a wide arc in all directions. This wave then inevitably encounters and bounces off various physical objects in the environment (machines, walls, human workers, etc.), creating multiple signal copies that reach the receiver at different times.

An operator (sender) transmits to a robot (receiver), which receives multiple signal copies due to the signal bouncing around the environment

To learn more about the wireless propagation effects, please download the free PDF. 

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