LPWAN

Main features of LPWAN Technologies

  • Low power RF technology
  • Low current consumption, therefore long battery life
  • Wide area coverage, compared with other technologies like Bluetooth Wifi.
  • Lower cost than mobile networks, such as 5G
  • Enable wireless connectivity of remote ‘field’ sensors to internet gateway devices.
  • A key component in the internet of things.
  • Suitable for devices and applications that require low speed data rates.
  • Not suitable for devices & applications requiring high speed levels of data transfer, such as cctv links. Wifi is a much more suitable technology for cctv links.

History

LPWAN is short for Low Power Wide Area Network.

The term was first introduced in 2013 for a technology designed for M2M communications, which is short for ‘Machine-to-Machine’ communications.

What is LPWAN

As a technology it provides a niche gap solution between mobile cellular (3G, LTE), and short range  technologies, such as LoraWAN, Bluetooth, Wifi & Zigbee.

LPWAN is designed for machine communication rather than between humans.

Human communications consist of voice, video & data, and have different technical requirements to M2M.

Human electronic communications require high data rates and low latency (signal delay), while the user is moving around.

M2M requirements by contrast require low data transfer rates, infrequent transmission, and a low mobility requirement.

LPWAN technology is used by businesses to create their own secure data communications network, such as LoraWAN networks.

Current LPWAN Technologies

It is available operating both on licenced radio frequency spectrum, and unlicenced radio spectrum.

Licenced Radio Spectrum IOT Technologies

  • NB-IOT
  • LTE-M
  • EC-GSM-IOT
  • Thingstream

Unlicenced Radio Spectrum IOT Technologies

  • Sigfox
  • LoraWAN
  • RPMA
  • Weightless
  • nWave
  • SAT4M2M
  • hiber
  • Telensa
  • NB-Fi
  • helium
  • MIOTY

Industrial digital two-way radio light Industrial

Industrial Radio for light factory operations or Retail Environments.

When choosing a hand-held two way radio for your factory, there are various factors to consider.

If you operate a light manufacturing factory, such as a printing works, then the atmosphere will be fairly clean.

For such situations, a radio such as the Hytera PD405 is ideal.

Industrial Conventional digital two-way radio

Robust and reliable, the Hytera PD405 handheld digital radio offers a simple communication solution, ideal for users operating in manufacturing, facilities management or education environments.

VHF & UHF Models

Available

Digital DMR

Clear Audio

For more details visit our website: www.yesway.co.uk

Legacy compatible

Can communicate with existing older analogue radios

long term charge

The Hytera PD405 has long battery life

Clear Audio

DMR Digital technology ensures clear voice quality.

If you are likely to be operating in more harsh factory environments, then we would recommend you let us advise you on the best options available.

Typically for harsh environments such as wet conditions, you will want a radio with a high IP or Ingress Protection rating.

One such radio, which we would recommend is the Entel DN400, which is an IP68 rated handheld radio.

What this means is that the radio can be dropped into water and survive*

* Up to 2M deep for 30 minutes.

Another consideration, is are you likely to be operating in environments where there is a potentially explosive atmosphere.

An example of such a location is the battery room of a ship, where potentially flammable gases are realeased while the ships batteries are being recharged.

Environments where there is a potential risk of explosion, require intrinsically safe (ATEX) rated radios.

Intrinsically safe radios have specially sealed cases and components, that prevent an electrical spark being created by the radio.

For expert advice, contact us on 01522 740818

What Is 6lowpan

What is 6lowpan Wireless Technology?

6lowpan name comes from an acronym consisting of a combination of the  IPv6 Internet Protocol and also Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks (LoWPAN).

The standard is designed to allow the Internet Protocol to be wirelessly transmitted on small devices , which only have limited processing power.

Wireless IOT

Standard

Low Power Devices

Compatible

IIOT

Suitable for Low Power Industrial Internet Of Things Devices

long term battery life

Suitable for low power devices, that are optimised for low power consumption.

Integration

We can custom integrate 6Lowpan technology into existing or new products

Training courses in wireless technologies, tailored to your requirements are available.

MQTT IOT Protocol

MQTT  in IOT?

MQTT is short for MQ Telemetry Transport, and is a messaging protocol used in the Internet Of Things (IOT) systems.

It is  very simple and lightweight messaging protocol, designed for devices with limited processing power and low-bandwidth, high-latency or unreliable networks.

It was designed  to minimise network bandwidth and device resource requirements, whilst also attempting to ensure  data delivery reliability and some degree of assurance of delivery.

The protocol ideal for Internet of things (IOT)  “machine-to-machine” (M2M) devices.

This is because  bandwidth and battery power are at a premium, in IOT equipment designs.

We can incorporate MQTT into custom equipment for our clients.

We can also train your employees in MQTT

What Is Industry 4.0 & Smart Factories

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a phrase that you will increasing hear in business manufacturing, but what exactly is it?

According to Wikipedia it is the following:-

“Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing. Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a “smart factory”. (Source: Wikipedia.com)

Why 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is often described as the Forth Industrial Revolution, so it would be useful to explain what Industry 1,2 & 3 were.

Industry 1.0

Industry 1.0 refers to the first industrial revolution that started around 1780.

The first industrial revolution was powered by water and steam, and was very mechanical in nature.

Industry 2.0

In 1870 the first electrically powered assembly line was introduced, and as the distribution of electricity become widespread, it opened up further opportunities for manufacturing.

This was the start of the era of mass production.

Industry 3.0

From the late 1960s onwards , computerisation started to be introduced into industrial processes.

This started with the Modicon 084 , which was the first PLC, which is short for Programmable Logic Controller.

A PLC is basically an industrial computer, used to control production processes.

By using PLC control, factories were able to improve efficiency, and save time and money.

An example of how a PLC did (and still does) save money is  that the program software can be easily changed and modified, to adapt to manufacturing requirements.

Prior to PLC control, you would need to redesign, and rewire large parts of your factory plant, to carry out the new process.  This was both time consuming , and expensive to do.

Industry 4.0

The latest revolution in manufacturing involves  minimal intervention & involvement by human beings.

Instead what is often described as ‘machine learning’ takes place, where algorithms make decisions based on live input data.

 

What is Lora Wireless Technology

Lora

LoRa is a spread spectrum wireless technology, developed by Semtech Corporation. It has been developed to allow long distance transmission of low rate data.

The low rate data is collected by remote field sensors and actuators, and is used for Internet of Things and M2M applications. Lora uses the 868 Mhz unlicensed radio spectrum, in what is known as the ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) bands to wirelessly facilitate low power, wide area data communication between the remote sensors and gateway devices, which connect to the Internet, or other network.

Lora is not suitable for every Industrial Internet Of Things IIOT application.

For example if you wanted to transmit wireless CCTV images, then Lorawan would not be suitable, due to its low rate of data transfer.

What Lora excels in however, is in transmitting small amounts of data long distances, and at low power consumption.

Low power consumption is important to wireless IIOT because some of the field sensors which record the data, may be in remote locations.

Remote locations include roads and fields, which will be time consuming and therefore expensive to get to.

By having a low power consumption rate, Lora enabled sensors do not have to have their batteries replaced very often.

Devices can be engineered to run on the same battery power supply for a few years.

How to Build a Lorawan Gateway

What is  Lorawan

First of all, what is Lorawan.  It is a wireless technology that allows small amounts of data to be sent between a remote sensor (such as a river level detector), and the Internet.

Lorawan technology is very efficient at sending the sensor data over long distances, whilst consuming very little power. This means that a the sensor devices can be battery powered, whilst the batteries last for years.

What is a Gateway then

A Lorawan Gateway is the device that receives the wireless signals containing data, that has been transmitted (using Lora wireless technology) from the remote sensors (river level monitoring, air quality etc).

Once the  Gateway has received the  wirelessly transmitted data, the gateway forwards the data onto the Internet.

Gateway connection to the Internet can be via a variety of means, such as Wifi, Ethernet, 3G, 4G, 5G etc.

Building the Gateway

For beginners to building their own gateway, I would recommend joining, or founding a local Things Network .

The Lorawan Gateway that I am going to describe here, is designed to operate on the Things Network, however other lora networks can easily be installed.

The main components that you will need are:-

1) A Concentrator board from IMST of Germany. The Concentrator board is the wireless communications part of the system, responsible for receiving the wireless data signals, from the remote environmental sensors (Air quality sensors etc).

2) A small computer to store the software that controls the Concentrator board. We are going to use the UK designed Raspberry PI 3.

A Micro SD Card, for holding the software used by the Raspberry PI.  A small 4 GB card is fine.

3) A suitable Antenna (or Aerial), with pigtail connecting cable.

4) A suitable 2 Amp rated power supply, with a micro USB connector.

5)  7 Female to Female connecting leads, suitable for raspberry PI.

4) A suitable case, to house the components.

The first thing I need to make you aware of is the risk of static electricity, to your IMST ic880a Concentrator and Raspberry PI.

Static can damage the sensitive electronic components, therefore it is advisable to take precautions, such as not touching the board components, and wearing an anti static wrist strap.

The first thing you need to do is to format the micro SD card, that will be fitted to the raspberry PI, to hold the gateway software.

The SD card association has a free piece of software, for Windows PC and Mac, to do this. My card was already formatted, so I skipped this step.

The next step is to burn the actual software that will power your gateway, onto the Raspberry PI.

To do this, I used https://etcher.io/    

I first installed Etcher onto my  linux desktop computer. As most people use Windows PC, or Mac, you will need to find a suitable alternative to Etcher.

I also downloaded the operating system needed to run the Raspberry Pi, which is called Raspbian Stretch Lite , onto my desktop PC.

Put your micro SD card into your computers micro SD card reader. If your computer (like mine) does not have a card reader, then external USB plug in ones can be purchased cheaply (I got mine from my local Asda supermarket for £6).

Fire up Etcher, or whatever card  burning software you prefer, and select the copy of Raspbian Stretch Lite , that you previously downloaded to your PC.

Follow the instructions, and burn the operating system software onto the micro SD card.

Once you have successfully burned your Raspbian Stretch Lite, onto your SD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi (the slot is on the underside of the Pi).

The next thing to do is to connect your Raspberry Pi to a suitable monitor (I used a TV, that had a HDMI connection), and also connect a USB keyboard, power supply, and mouse.

The power supply should be 5 Volts DC, and Raspberry Pi power supplies are widely available. I used a USB phone charger, with 5 Volts output, and a current rating of 2000mA.

Boot up your Raspberry Pi (connect the power), and you will see lots of computer code scrolling across your screen (if you have done everything successfully, so far).

When the Raspberry Pi asks you for a user name and password, use the following default ones (the  bit after the  ‘ : ‘ ).

Username: Pi

Password: Raspberry

After you have successfully logged in, type:

 sudo raspi-config

Numbered options will now hopefully be on your monitor screen.

Select [5] Interfacing Options, and then P4 SPI

Then select [7] Advanced Options , and then [A1] Expand Filesystem.

You now need to exit the raspi-config utility, either by hitting the ‘CTRL’  and  ‘X’ keys, or by typing sudo reboot

Next you are going to Configure the locales and time zone.

Type this in, to set the locales, and follow instruction.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, type this in to set time zone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The next stage is to update the raspberry Pi software, do this by typing:

sudo apt-get update

Then install any upgrades to the operating system software, by typing sudo apt-get upgrade

Next we are going to install Git , which is needed to be able to download the Things Network software from Github.

Type:

sudo apt-get install git

The next step is to create a user called TTN (the things network).  This user will eventually replace the default raspberry pi user, which we will delete.

sudo adduser ttn

Then:    sudo adduser ttn sudo

Logout, by typing logout

Once you have logged out, log back in using the user name and password that you have just set up, when you added a user.

You can now delete the default Raspberry Pi user, by typing

sudo userdel -rf pi

Set the WIFI  SSID and password details, which can be found on the back of your home router / Hub (usually).

To set the WIFI details type

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf 

Once you have typed in the above text, you should see some code on the screen. Add the following to the end of the existing code, making sure that you enter your SSID and password details, in place of the shown text.

network=

{
ssid="The_SSID_of_your_wifi"
psk="Your_wifi_password"

}

Now we are going to clone the installer from Github. This will download the software which runs the gateway, from the Github repository.  Type each of the following three code lines into your Pi, one at a time, hitting the return key after each line of code.

  git clone -b spi https://github.com/ttn-zh/ic880a-gateway.git ~/ic880a-gateway
  cd ~/ic880a-gateway
  sudo ./install.sh spi

Identifying the Gateway

The software will give the gateway the default name of ttn-gateway.

This however may need to be changed, to prevent issues with other Things Network Gateways within wireless range.

Wiring it Up

The next step is to connect the Concentrator board, to the Raspberry Pi, and also connect the antenna.

The components including the antenna should be mounted in a protective box,  and the antenna connected to the Concentrator board.

It is very important that the Concentrator board is not powered up, with no suitable antenna connected, of damage could occur to the board.

Once the antenna is connected, then the next step is to connect the Concentrator to the Raspberry Pi.

Connect using female to female connecting wires, as follows:

iC880a Concentrator pin Description RPi physical pin
21 Supply 5V 2
22 GND 6
13 Reset 22
14 SPI CLK 23
15 MISO 21
16 MOSI 19
17 NSS 24

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

It is important that you identify the correct pins, by referring to the manufactures data sheets (Both IMST & Raspberry Pi).

We accept no liability for loss or damage caused, by following these information only instructions.

For help, as to which pin is which on the Concentrator and Raspberry Pi boards, why not get in touch.

I also offer workshop training, where I can train your students to build their own Lorawan Gateways.

@acraigmiles

www.craigmiles.co.uk

Craig Miles (C) 2018 – 2020 , all images and content, unless stated separately.

LoraWAN Advantages for IOT

LoraWAN advantages for the Internet of Things, or IOT, are discussed in this article.

LoraWAN is a low data rate, low power, long distance wireless technology.

The ‘Lora’ part of the name, stands for ‘LOng RAnge’.

LoraWAN is designed for Internet of Things (IoT) uses.

LoRa technology offers bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localisation options.

LoRa typically operates within license-free ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) radio frequency bands located below 1 Gigahertz (GHz).

Operating in the ISM frequency bands, allows anyone to build a LoraWAN network, without the cost of Ofcom (in the UK) spectrum operating licences.

Lora technology provides very long-transmission range, compared with Wifi & Bluetooth etc, while using exceptionally low power consumption.

There are of course IOT applications that are better suited to other wireless technologies, such as Wifi.

LoraWAN can only transmit small amounts of data at a time, so is not suitable for streaming video for example.

Lorawan Advantages are listed below:-

Long range and deep penetration

LoraWAN is good at penetrating into buildings, or even underground. Therefore Sensors can be located indoors, outdoors and even underground, and still be able to communicate with the receiving Gateway device.

Distances of up to 50Km can be achieved in open areas, and up to 10km within a town or city.

Low Power

LoraWAN advantages for IOT is offering low data bit rates, which results in low energy consumption.


Environmental Sensors such as Smart Parking or Soil sensors are designed with Lora technology, to send small amounts of data when required.

How often the small amounts of data are sent can be designed to be event-driven or at a scheduled time period.

This enables battery life to last for up to 10 years.

High Network Capacity

Lora uses an adaptive data rate and features a multi-channel multi-modem transceiver in the gateway device.

This allows for simultaneous messages to be received on on multiple channels.

Therefore a LoRaWAN network has very high capacity and scalability options..

Open Standard, unlicensed band

The LoRaWAN specification is supported and maintained by the LoRa Alliance.

LoraWAN mostly operates in the licence free ISM (Industrial Scientific Medical) bands.

In Europe the frequency is 868MHz, and 915 in the USA etc.

Advantages of LoraWAN operating in an ISM band, is that there are no expensive licence fees to be paid to local regulatory bodies (Ofcom in the UK, for example).

Potential disadvantages of using unlicenced frequency spectrum, is interference from other users.

Security

LoRa has AES-128 encryption built-in as standard.

Ease of Installation

As Lora connected Sensors consume only tiny amounts of power, they can run from batteries for a number of years. This makes installation simple, as time consuming & expensive cabling isn’t required.

Yesway is based in Lincoln, UK.

+44 (01522) 740818

This article was written by Yesway engineer Craig Miles

Wet Induction Motor IOT Monitoring

Pouring water on an Induction Motor may stop it working, which can be monitored with IOT.

The reason water stops the motor working, is due to the lowering of the insulation resistance of the internal motor coil windings, but what are the wet induction motor symptoms.

The coil windings are located inside the metal case of the induction motor, and are what generates a magnetic field, which makes the motor turn.

This article will focus on what are known as ‘three phase’ Induction Motors, which have three sets of coil windings inside the motor. It will also be expanded to include the advantages of adding IOT monitoring.

The internal motor windings are wound together in a component known as a ‘Stator’.

Each winding is electrically separated by an insulation layer on the copper wire that makes up a stator winding.

Therefore there should be a high level of electrical resistance between each of the three coils.

This ‘Insulation Resistance’ is typically above 2 Mega Ohms in a correctly operating Induction Motor, however for marine Induction motors 0.5 Mega Ohms is the stated (Solas) minimum.

If the coil windings become wet, then the insulation resistance would drop to a low level, which would prevent the motor from operating, due to a short circuit between the coil windings.

The good news is that induction motors can usually be dried out, and therefore returned to having a high insulation resistance between the Stator coils.

Methods for drying out the stator coils to restore an acceptable insulation resistance include hot air, or heating the coil windings using a welding set.

It is of course vital that the motor is disconnected from the electricity supply, and that only a qualified person carries out the work.

On land based industrial installations a damp or wet  Induction Motor, should trip the safety circuit breakers (RCD), and isolate the supply.

This is because on land, the priority is to safeguard the safety of people and livestock.

On board ships and Super-yachts however, the priority is to maintain the ships important systems, such as Steering gear.

Therefore ships electrical systems are designed to tolerate a single earth fault, without shutting down the whole circuit.

A wet Induction Motor would cause an earth fault to be detected by the ships ‘fault panel’, but not trip the whole circuit.

Yesway has experience of working on Marine Induction motors, and years of related experience.

Monitoring Using Radio Communications

Radio communications technology can be used to monitor the condition of induction motors.

Sensors can be attached or even integrated into induction motors, to monitor motor conditions.

Induction motor parameters that can be monitored by sensors are:

Phase Current

Motor speed RPM

Vibration

Torque

Connecting via LoraWAN

LoraWAN is a wireless technology that can be used for creating a Smart Factory.

Advantages of LoraWAN is low power consumption, so the sensor attached to the motor can be battery powered, and last years.

Another advantage of LoraWAN for monitoring wet Induction motors in Smart Factories is long range, and good signal penetration through walls.



Two Way Radio Intercom Product Design Process

This blog article is about the Intercom product design process of designing an outdoor two-way radio wireless Intercom.

Background To Project

An existing industrial manufacturing client emailed Yesway to ask if we could ‘programme up’ a couple walkie talkies.

The customer needed to start locking their store room when unattended, due to workers helping themselves to supplies.

They wanted to mount a couple walkie-talkie radios on the wall, so that workers could call for the store to be unlocked.

The client wanted one radio to be mounted directly outside the storeroom, and the second outside the building.

They thought that perhaps the radios could be mounted in some sort of external case, to protect them.

This is especially important for the radio mounted outside the building, due to rain and snow.

The potential problem with mounting expensive handheld two-way radios outside, is also theft.

The clients site is on a secluded industrial estate, and the entrance to the car park, and hence the exterior of the building is open.

After clarifying with the client as to exactly them wanted, the intercom product design process began.

I sent them the rough idea for a radio linked Intercom.

The photo above shows the rough initial idea for a wireless outdoor intercom.

Luckily it was exactly what the customer was looking for.

So now I knew what they client wanted, all I needed to do now is figure out how to make it work.

RF Electronics Options

The design brief from the client, requires the intercom to be able to call the portable digital two-way radios that the factory managers have.

The purpose is so that they can come and unlock the storeroom, or unlock the outside door (both of which are now locked).

After a personal brainstorming session, I came up with the following options.

  • Bluetooth link, with audio capabilities.
  • DECT communication technology, like cordless phone.
  • Licenced PMR Digital Radio.
  • Unlicenced PMR446 Radio (analogue or digital)
  • Audio over Wifi

Once I had come up with the initial list of possible ways to link the intercom with the existing two-way radios, it was time to evaluate.

Firstly I considered Bluetooth.

Bluetooth was introduced in 1994, and is currently up to version 5.

In addition to what is now known as Bluetooth ‘Classic’, there is now also ‘Low Energy’, and ‘Mesh’.

As the names suggest, ‘Classic’ is an updated version of the original Bluetooth.

‘Low Energy’ is designed to use less current from its power supply.

This makes it suitable for the Internet Of Things, as enabled sensors can last for years on same battery.

Product like Smart Watches use Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE as it is commonly known.

Bluetooth Mesh allows data to ‘flow’ through multiple ‘nodes’ en route to their destination.

This enables data to travel longer distances than would otherwise be possible using ordinary Bluetooth.

Mesh technology is great for controlling projects like Smart Lighting, but is not needed for our simple intercom design requirements.

As you hopefully have now appreciated, there are different types of Bluetooth for different purposes.

Bluetooth was originally designed as a technology to wirelessly replace RS232 type Serial communications cables.

It has also developed  into a technology capable of  transmitting audio.

Bluetooth modules capable of audio, have a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) included in their design.

Positives of using Bluetooth for the Intercom Product Design Process

The intercom has the following design requirements:

  • To allow instant wireless voice communication at the push of a call button.
  • Be capable of being powered by battery, with long battery life.

Bluetooth audio could provide the communication link between the intercom and the two-way radio.

It uses fairly low power consumption.

Could also be made to work with app on mobile phone, as all smartphones now have Bluetooth built in.

Disadvantages

Relatively short range, which might be an issue, if the receiving Bluetooth module of the two-way radio, is too distant.

Time delay to establish the connection, unless left connected (which has power consumption implications).

At the time of writing (27th November 2019) , I am still researching Bluetooth technology in more detail, so I might still use it for the design.

DECT RF Technology

The next RF (radio frequency) technology that I considered for the intercom design, was DECT.

DECT is short for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications.

Sometimes you may also see it called Digital European Cordless Telecommunications, as the technology originated in Europe.

DECT has been adopted worldwide, and is most commonly used in cordless phones.

However I considered using DECT to provide the wireless communications link between the intercom and the two-way radios.

Advantages

DECT provides clear two-way audio communication.

DECT operates at 1900 Mhz  (1.9Ghz) which has the advantage over Bluetooth & Wifi, which operate at 2.4Ghz (2400 Mhz).

1900 Mhz is an advantage because it is a less crowded frequency, and therefore less subject to potential interference from other users.

Disadvantages

There is less choice in DECT modules available, compared with technologies such as Bluetooth.

The modules for DECT enablement of the wireless outdoor intercom also seem to be more expensive than Bluetooth.

Licenced PMR Digital Radio

PMR stands for Private Mobile Radio.

…..more information on the design project coming soon. Come back regularly.

Craig

Yesway is based in Lincoln, UK.

Our phone number is: (01522) 740818

This article was written by Craig from Yesway.