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The Challenges of Networking the Smart Oil Field

May 03, 2016
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Falling global oil prices are continuing to have an adverse effect on cost-intensive upstream oil operations and the economies that are heavily dependent on oil production. Oil companies are finally feeling the pressure to implement modern cost-cutting networking technologies throughout their operations, while preserving safety and security requirements.

There are three main factors to consider when developing a smart oil field:

  • Safety
  • Legacy System Modernization
  • Real-Time Data Processing


To achieve true cybersecurity, and therefore network safety, the perfect balance needs to be struck between hardware durability and firmware capability.

To enable a scalable smart oil field network with near out-of-the-box functionality, easy network commissioning functionality should be provided to mitigate human error and aid integration into the existing SCADA system. In addition, you should use industrial routers with up to 500 Mbps throughput so that your network can support future growth and high-bandwidth network activities, such as surveillance at remote wellhead sites. The combination of ease-of-use and the ability to support VPN/Firewall/NAT will ensure that your smart oil field network is also a secure oil field network.


As illustrated in the system diagram above, Moxa's wide selection of all-in-one industrial secure routers can secure connections for remote monitoring and maintenance through VPN tunnels over public networks.

Legacy System Modernization

The existing versatility of industrial networking technology can ease the transition to fully utilizing smarter and more capable IP SCADA offerings.

Industrial wireless and Ethernet provide the ability for wellhead operations to monitor and control assets in the field with limited deployment expenditure and manpower. Moreover, the adoption and expansion of Ethernet and wireless devices offer interoperability and backward compatibility with fieldbus protocols, maximizing the parallel development of sensor technology and IP SCADA. Legacy devices in today’s oil fields use a variety of data interfaces, including digital input/output (DI/DO), RS-232/422/485, Ethernet, and USB. If a reliable networking vendor offers networking connectivity spanning all of these interfaces, it is much easier to extend the use of existing legacy DCS infrastructures.


The visibility of protocols at field sites can be increased with Moxa’s protocol gateway.

Real-Time Data Processing

Real-time data processing can only be supported by a capable industrial network.

The reasons for oil companies not to adopt Ethernet and wireless gateway technologies are fast diminishing against the operational savings that can be achieved. To effectively manage the ever-increasing volume of data produced by smart meters in oil fields, data must be better utilized for real-time responses. Of course, this data presents a challenge for archaic serial networks and fieldbus applications. Moxa is assisting companies who are part of the smart oil field revolution by connecting the application layer with the large numbers of sensors spread throughout these smart oil fields.

To learn more about the challenges of networking the smart oil field, download our whitepaper.

Moxa’s Solutions for the Oil & Gas Environments

Download the brochure to see how Moxa’s integrated networking, computing, and automation solutions are being used in hazardous oil and gas production environments.


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