Windmill Software Ltd
Windows Engineering Software

May 2005

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 82            May 2005
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to Issue 82 of Monitor.  This month we have
two articles about wireless data acquisition, including 
notes on connecting your RS232 instruments to 
WiFi networks.

We hope you find the newsletter useful, but should you 
wish to cancel your subscription you can do so at

* Windmill News: People Counting without the Wires
* Data Acquisition over Wireless Networks
* Data Acquisition and Control Exhibitions

Windmill News: People Counting without the Wires

By counting their visitors stores, banks, galleries and 
other businesses can evaluate their advertising campaigns, 
plan their staffing levels, see how many people are inside 
the building at any moment, and so on.  Automatic people 
counting systems are available that connect directly to 
a PC running Windmill software.  And Windmill can now 
collect the people counts over WiFi wireless networks.

Previously the people counters were connected to the PC 
over RS232, RS485 or Ethernet cables, or via a modem.  
As Windmill can now communicate with the counting units 
over WiFi, installation can be speeded up and cabling 
costs saved.

For more on people counting with Windmill see

Data Acquisition over Wireless Networks

With wireless communications, measurement and control 
devices talk to the PC over radio waves. There are 
several types of wireless networks, including Bluetooth, 
ZigBee and WiFi.  In this article we're concentrating 
on interfacing instruments over WiFi (short for 
Wireless Fidelity).

WiFi networks conform to the IEEE 802.11 specifications. 
The first 802.11 specifications were introduced in 1997 
and these have been regularly amended.  Each new 
version of the specification has a different letter at 
the end - IEEE 802.11a and IEEE 802.11g for example.  
The differences between the versions include the 
frequency at which they operate and the speed of 
data transfer

It is very easy to enable your PC for WiFi 
communications: just plug an adaptor into the USB port. 
Many new computers come with a WiFi card built-in.

One way to think of a Wifi network is as an Ethernet 
network without the Ethernet cables. Both types of 
network consist of a base station (or router) and a 
network adaptor for each PC or data acquisition 
device on the network.

Why use WiFi for Data Acquisition?
With wireless communications you can save cabling 
costs and installation time.  The networks are 
useful in electrically noisy or hostile environments, 
and if you often move your measuring device from 
place to place

What about Instruments with RS232 Ports?
You can use instruments with RS232 ports over WiFi.  
To do this you need a serial device server. This 
will usually come with driver software which makes 
your instrument appear as if it were connected to 
the COM port. You can therefore use any data 
acquisition software which reads RS232 instruments 
to log data from your balance, GPS receiver, 
multimeter, fluorometer, force gauge, torque meter, 
pH transmitter, etc.  We of course recommend the 
Windmill COMIML software to automatically collect 
data from whatever instrument you have connected

Further Reading
IEEE Wireless Standards Zone
COMIML Data Acquisition Software

Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences

Here are the next set of exhibitions dedicated to data 
acquisition and control.

Sensors Expo and Conference 2005 
  6-9 June
  Chicago USA  
  Dedicated to exploring the most up-to-date innovations 
  in sensor technology, including: physical sensors, 
  sensor networks, instrumentation and controls, 
  intelligent systems, machine-to-machine communication, 
  wireless sensing and IT technology

  Mexico DF, Mexico
  15-17 June
  Covers sensors, transmitters, robotics, 
  instrumentation and control systems.

Process Control, Instrumentation and Metrology 2005 
  Bangkok, Thailand
  16-19 June
  International exhibition and conference for 
  process control and instrumentation, measurement, 
  test, calibration equipment and quality control.

  Helsinki Finland
  6-8 September
  One of the foremost automation fairs in Northern 
  Europe. Sectors covered include: process automation, 
  remote systems, automation engineering and information 
  systems in industry.

  Shanghai China
  15-18 September
  International fair for measurement, instrumentation and 

  Dublin Ireland
  20-22 September
  For all those involved in the chemical, pharmaceutical, 
  processing and medical devices industries.  Content 
  includes production equipment, instrumentation, 
  environmental management systems, automation systems, 
  safety equipment, packaging and handling technology.

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

We are happy for you to copy and distribute this 
newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site 
or publication, providing the above notice is 
included and a link back to our website is in place.

An archive of previous issues is at
and an index of articles at

Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190
E-mail: [email protected]


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