By David Andeen, ApplicationsDirector, Core Products Group, Maxim Integrated

In the modern world, we communicate every day using broadband cellular and Wi-Fi. We live in a wireless world. But, still, it’s important to consider wireless in the context of the device we are using.

For example, a smartphone relies on many radios to communicate to the outside world. But does a smartphone have wireless technology inside for communication between the battery and the applications processor? That would be absurd, since putting tiny radios within a phone for intra-system communication would be costly and would also compromise system performance.

As with any system design, the decisions about what to put inside eventually come down to tradeoffs between parameters such as performance, cost, size, and power consumption.

This brings us to wired communication. Engineers have developed and implemented various wired communication solutions over the past decades. Remember the RS-232? While the RS-232 seems old and dated, it still provides excellent wired communication in applications where it makes sense. What about the RS-485? RS-485 has persisted for decades and continues to grow—it’s simply a great solution that meets (and will continue to meet) engineering requirements for many applications.

AutomatedFactory, MAxim
.Industrial applications such as automated factories are one of many areas that can still benefit from wired communications interfaces

Taking a look at newer applications, such as factory automation systems, it’s quite obvious that wired communication interfaces still have an essential role. In many cases, using wireless communications just doesn’t make sense in terms of performance or cost.

Read my article, “Why Now is the Time to Consider Wired Interface Solutions,” for access to a wired interface tutorial that will give you a deeper understanding of how the RS-485 can benefit industrial applications..

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