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LoRaWAN, The Solutions For Intelligent Monitoring

LoRaWAN, The Solutions For Intelligent Monitoring

LoRaWAN the solutions for intelligent monitoring 

With the industry 4.0 booming, more and more companies are looking for a non-invasive way to monitor equipment conditions (ex.: pump, motor, temperature in a sensor head) in order to conduct preventive maintenance, reduce downtime and to have a better understanding of their process. Basically, if you didn’t know yet, almost any input/output or communication protocol can be transmitted wirelessly.

Advantech Co ltd., founded in 1983, has researched this issue during the past few years and have come to understand that the difficulty involved in replacing (and rewiring) obsolete or defective sensors is the economic viability of this type of maintenance. Also, that the sensors must be designed to survive in the harshest environment since they could be monitoring vibration on a 1000HP motor or be exposed to water jets while employees are washing the equipment and they must continue to work perfectly. 

Economically Viable

Companies have always been about profitability. If they are conducting maintenance, they are losing money. If a motor stops working without the replacement part being in inventory, they are losing even more money! Replacing equipment is not only a waste of money because production is stopped but also because they must pay for the replacement equipment and then pay again to install and physically connect it.

Advantech uses a reliable technology in order to reduce sensor installation costs: wireless communication.

This communication network is designed for long-range, low-bit-rate communication ensuring low power consumption from the sensors. LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) are being deployed now because there is a strong business case to support immediate deployment, and the cost to deploy the network in unlicensed bands requires much less capital than even a 3G software upgrade.

Low power wide area (LPWA) networks are attracting a lot of attention primarily because of their ability to offer affordable connectivity to the low-power devices distributed over very large geographical areas. In realizing the vision of the Internet of Things (industry 4.0), LPWA technologies complement and sometimes supersede the conventional cellular and short-range wireless technologies in performance for various emerging smart cities and machine-to-machine applications.

LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Netword) sensors can work with a battery or solar power in order to minimize their power consumption. Wireless communication is simple and not as time consuming as physically wiring the sensors. The wireless signal can connect within 5 km in urban regions and up to 15 km in suburban regions making the connectivity between devices easy. In addition, the gateways are easy to use / easy to configure and can communicate with any network server. Working in the 902-928MHz frequencies, with a maximum power of +30 dBm, but for most devices +20 dBm is sufficient.

What is LoRaWAN?

Here is a video to help you understand the basics of LoRaWAN:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V02HHJCUGw

LoRaWAN defines the communication protocol and system architecture for the network while the LoRa physical layer enables the long-range communication link. The protocol and network architecture have the most influence in determining the battery lifetime of a node, the network capacity, the quality of service, the security, and the variety of applications served by the network.

Traditional networks utilize a mesh network architecture. In a mesh network, it adds complexity, reduces network capacity, and reduces battery lifetime as nodes receive and forward information from other nodes that is likely irrelevant for them. Long-range star architecture makes the most sense for preserving battery lifetime when long-range connectivity can be achieved. In a recent study and comparison done by GSMA of the various technologies addressing the LPWAN space, LoRaWAN™ showed a 3 to 5 times advantage compared to all other technology options.

In a LoRaWAN network nodes are not associated with a specific gateway. Instead, data transmitted by a node is typically received by multiple gateways. Each gateway will forward the received packet from the end node to the cloud-based network server via some backhaul (either cellular, Ethernet, satellite, or Wi-Fi). LoRa modulation qualifies as a digital modulation technique so it is exempt from having to comply with all the frequency hopping requirements specified by FCC.

Servicing the Harshest Environment 

LoRaWAN sensors are designed to survive the harshest environment to minimize maintenance scheduling. They are designed to last!

With the IP66 housings, many sensors are built to prevent anything from getting inside the enclosure. The IP66 rating is comparable to NEMA 4 or NEMA 4X rating. Some are designed to work in temperatures between -40 up to 75 °C offering a complete solution in terms of applications. Hazardous locations are not forgotten, in fact, it’s probably where you will find the best ROI.

The LoRaWAN is not only protected against harsh environment but also against hackers! Nowadays, it is important to not only secure our equipment from physical damage but also from hackers. The signal is embedded end-to-end with AES128 (Advanced Encryption Standard) to ensure your data is safe. 

In a Nutshell

Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are expected to support much of the billions of devices planned for Industry 4.0. LoRaWAN is designed from the bottom up to optimize the battery life, capacity, range and cost of LPWAN. The standard is there, now is the time to evolve towards modern technologies.

Here is a video on how LoRaWAN can be deployed in the industry: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS5ODhNxZL8&feature=emb_imp_woyt