There are many myths about the data transmission process of wireless sensors: they have unreliable connectivity, can’t transmit very far (especially in factories or other “radio-noisy” environments), and can lose data in the air. The reality is, new wireless technology makes it possible for a sensor to “listen” before it “talks” to ensure that airwaves are clear. Wireless sensors also use Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS). By allowing the radio signals to travel at or below the radio noise floor, DSSS creates a reliable connection and extends the transmission range by a few thousand feet. Also, fast data rates limit the time the high-power radio transmitter needs.
Some wireless sensor transmission processes operate in “fire and forget” mode where the data is transmitted, but there is no acknowledgment from the software that the data was received. This creates the perception that wireless sensors can have unreliable connectivity. However, it is now possible for a sensor to send data, then wait for an confirmation from the software. If there is no confirmation, the sensor transceiver node will store the data with a timestamp and send it in the next transmission. This capability combined with software acknowledgement gives you confidence in the reliability of your sensor data, even if you do “cross the streams.”