Regardless of whether it is for building automation, the smart home or for a wireless network in an industrial environment to control production processes: this is where wireless technology is decisive. But in addition to wireless transmission, the data must be collected in a decentralized manner. Sensors take care of that. The recorded data is sent to a central location – energy efficient, fast and safe.
Networked sensors are not only necessary for reasons of competition; Increased security requirements also help to network a large number of devices and sensors with one another. Such networked sensors help in automobile production or manufacturing small electronic components. They also measure utilization or optimize material supply. A new addition is the networking of production systems and machines via radio.
Radio Networks Are Easy To Install
While the network elements, the so-called nodes, were previously hard-wired via a bus system, more and more wireless networks are gaining ground. Your advantages: Easier installation and flexible application options for sensors – even in places that are difficult to access. Home and building automation networks include devices supplied with energy in different ways: via energy harvesting, batteries and power packs. Luminaires and thermostats are usually provided from the grid as they are part of the building infrastructure, but that does not mean that the current consumption can be disregarded.
If the devices are part of the infrastructure and are operated with alternating current, they must be carefully managed due to new government regulations restricting energy consumption in standby mode. Batteries supply sensors and remote controls with energy. This means that a mesh network has to handle two fundamentally different use cases about the power supply to the nodes.
Optimizing Radio Networks In The Planning Phase
Depending on the requirements and application, a wireless network must be optimized for one or more of the following factors as early as the concept phase. In practice, not all factors can be maximized. The goal of maximum reliability, for example, contradicts the purpose of minimum energy consumption.
- Data throughput: the amount of data that flows through a network
- Latency: the time it takes for a data packet to get from its starting point to its destination.
- Reliability: How prone to failure is the web in the event of a participant (node) or node?
- Energy requirement: How much energy is required to operate the network and its nodes? Power consumption or power consumption is often a limiting factor in wireless networks.
- Radio range: What is the maximum distance between the respective nodes?
- Frequency: The selected frequency bands may impact technical and national regulatory requirements.
Which Radio Technology Is Suitable For My Project?
If developers decide to build IoT devices, they must consider how the end product will be used later and in which economic ecosystem the devices should work. More precisely, the performance mentioned above characteristics must be evaluated and weighted accordingly for each application. Without proper weighting, no suitable IoT system can be designed and built.
In the Bluetooth Mesh operating mode, several Bluetooth devices are connected to form a meshed radio network in which all or several nodes can communicate with one another. If not all participants are directly within the radio range of one another, the content can be increased using relay nodes. Bluetooth Mesh complements Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), which transmits short data packets with as little energy as possible.
Thread is a mesh network technology based on IPv6 with low power consumption. Hundreds of devices can be networked with one another via a thread network. All devices can be addressed via their IPv6 and short home network addresses.
Bluetooth and thread technology are increasingly establishing themselves in building automation, home automation and the Internet of Things as competition to ZigBee and Z-Wave. A significant advantage of both Bluetooth and Thread is that it is manufacturer-neutral. ZigBee and Z-Wave are nowhere near as flexible and manufacturer-neutral.
Bluetooth, ZigBee and Thread work at 2.4 GHz. This frequency sends any number of data packets. Due to the short range of fewer than 100 meters, there are hardly any official requirements to be observed. At the same time, the short-range is also a disadvantage of 2.4 GHz technology. In contrast, Z-Wave works in the sub-GHz band, i.e. with frequencies below 1 GHz. However, the networks offer a more excellent range of up to several 100 meters with significantly lower bandwidth. The reason is the more restrictive technical and national regulatory requirements.