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105 A P P E N D I X C Potential Barriers Related to Data Transfers and Communication Alternatives Communication Element Definition Key Issues Bandwidth Bandwidth refers to data rate transfer, or the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period, and is usually expressed in bits per second (bps). Modern offshore facilities require higher bandwidths. Bandwidth requirements will continue to increase as offshore facilities add requirements for real-time data sharing or videoconferencing. Different communication applications require different bandwidths. For example, instant messaging uses less than 1,000 bps, while high-definition video requires up to 4 Mbps. Latency Latency in communications often refers to the delay (or wait) between a source sending data and the des- tination receiving the data. This wait time can vary from one system to another. The delay is often introduced when the data travel over the geographical distance and different types of communications equipment. Latency can be critical for applications connected by either satellite or microwave networks and could limit technologies for real-time monitoring applications. Sources of latency can include propagation, transmission, and router and end-user issues. Synchronization Synchronization for commu- nications refers to the relationship of data from multiple sources with the actual time of occurrence. Data can be generated and gathered from different types of sensors and process- ing equipment. Careful synchronization of the time stamps of data elements is necessary for the correct interpretation of collected data.
106 Application of Remote Real-Time Monitoring to Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Reliability, performance, and affordability Reliability, performance, and affordability refer to the challenges of designing a network that will provide the necessary support for the movement of data at a specified capacity, speed, and cost. Designing a reliable, high-performance network in remote and often harsh environments might prove costly to many companies. Given this type of environment, the shorter-term contractual arrangements of drilling operations could lead to a network solution that is assembled from multiple providers. Such hybrid solutions supported by multiple oil service companies could create less reliable network designs. Production facilities allow for a more per- manent and integrated communications solution. Redundancy of systems is important for minimizing downtime of critical data transmission that may occur during common communication outages and planned maintenance. Note: Mbps = megabits per second. Source: Generated by the committee. Communication Element Definition Key Issues