One of the Projects successfully completed by Innovation Department is referring to the Internal Environment Parameter monitoring in a production Plant. For this specific project LoRa communication technology and LoRaWAN™ communication protocol are the best fit. The proposed network can support a significant number of sensors (thousands) distributed in various locations inside the Plant.
The first step of this Project was an application program able to collect the following pieces of information:
- Server racks’ temperature levels for all the Servers existing on the shop floor;
- Temperature and humidity levels in “raw materials (RM)” and “finished goods (FG)” areas.
The Software Solution has the following components:
- A purpose-built Data Base based on the data from all temperature and humidity sensors;
- An analytic platform which allows to query and visualize the data collected from the sensors. It creates a meaningful Dashboard to various users so they can understand the current status of the requested data. The dashboard was configured based on Customer’s specifications. In addition it can be scaled up if further sensors are added and it’s independent of the hardware system.
- An Email Alert System triggered by specified thresholds.
The proposed network architecture allows multiple types of sensors and software applications to be integrated all together in “one stop shop”.
ETA2U implemented solution using LoRaWAN™ communication protocol has fully satisfied Customer’s requirements and created room for further developments in manufacturing parameters monitoring at Customer premises.
The LoRaWAN is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks, and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localization services.
LoRaWAN network architecture is deployed in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server. The gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections and act as a transparent bridge, simply converting RF packets to IP packets and vice versa. The wireless communication takes advantage of the Long Range characteristics of the LoRaÒ physical layer, allowing a single-hop link between the end-device and one or many gateways. All modes are capable of bi-directional communication, and there is support for multicast addressing groups to make efficient use of spectrum during tasks such as Firmware Over-The-Air (FOTA) upgrades or other mass distribution messages.
1. LoRa Nodes / End Points: LoRa end points are the sensors or application where sensing and control takes place. These nodes are often placed remotely.
2. LoRa Gateways: LoRaWAN nodes are associated with a specific gateway. Instead, any data transmitted by the node is sent to all gateways and each gateway which receives a signal transmits it to a cloud based network server. Typically the gateways and network servers are connected via some backhaul (cellular, Wi-Fi, ethernet or satellite).
3. Network Servers: The networks server has all the intelligence. It filters the duplicate packets from different gateways, does security check, send ACKs to the gateways. In the end if a packet is intended for an application server, the network server sends the packet to the specific application server. Using this type of network where all gateways can send the same packet to the network server, the need of hand-off or handover is removed
4. Application Server: Application Server or Customer Application Server provides a web-interface for the management and configuration of network-servers, users, gateways and devices.
It is designed to allow low-powered devices to communicate with Internet-connected applications over long range wireless connections. Other features: bidirectional communications, flexibility in IoT application development, easy to be scaled up.
The solution implemented is part of the IoT/IIoT technologies which changed the way of collecting, transmitting and processing data in a very innovative way;
- No wiring required for wide- spread data collection;
- Opportunities for Nodes/End points scale up with no significant costs and complexity;
- Nodes/ End Points are self-sufficient from the standpoint of power supply, which is really useful in heterogeneous applications;
- Customized solutions from the standpoint of analysis, reports and alert requirements, aligned with Customer preferences.