Industrial wireless sensor system uses Linear Tech’s SmartMesh radio

Industrial wireless sensor system uses Linear Tech’s SmartMesh radio

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B&B Electronics’ Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform is a simple-to-deploy, complete wireless sensor connectivity platform for the rapid deployment of scalable, intelligent, reliable Internet of Things (IoT) networking in remote and demanding environments.
By eeNews Europe

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Wzzard was designed to help integrators, VARs and service providers efficiently develop and deploy secure, smart, self-powered, and scalable IoT applications.

Unlike a traditional SCADA application where sensors and edge devices are simply passive conduits for raw data, edge decision making delivers a more effective network. Using iterative control limits and gateway data aggregation to support applications closer to the network edge, the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform brings this intelligence to the network starting at the sensor, creating a more responsive, reliable and efficient network.

First, Wzzard Intelligent Edge Nodes will connect, via conduit fitting cable gland or M12 connector, to any industry-standard sensor. General-purpose analogue inputs, digital input/output and thermocouple interfaces are included. B&B has already integrated internal temperature and accelerometer sensor options, and can integrate other application-specific sensors.

The Intelligent Edge Nodes are easily configurable, using Android or IoS smartphones or tablets and the Wzzard app over Bluetooth LE 4.0. They can be configured to communicate only data outside specified thresholds, reducing the cost on cellular networks, as well as to associate other useful information (geo-location, device name, and up-time) with the collected sensor data for upstream analytics applications. Control time synchronisation is used to maximise battery life, exceeding 5 years for many applications. Nodes are IP67 rated for outdoor use and include both magnetized and screw mount options.

B&B chose SmartMesh IP wireless sensing technology from Linear Technologies Dust Networks. SmartMesh IP is based upon the wireless IEEE 802.15.4e standard and creates full-mesh networks, sometimes referred to as “mesh-to-the-edge” networks. SmartMesh IP networks use a triple-play of wireless mesh technologies—time diversity, frequency diversity, and physical diversity—to assure reliability, resiliency, scalability, power source flexibility, and ease-of-use. At the core the technology is an intelligent mesh network with advanced algorithms and power saving technologies that enable powerful features B&B determined were not available from other WSN providers including:

· Ultra low power consumption

· Deterministic power management and optimisation

· Auto-forming mesh technology for a self-healing and self-sustaining network

· Dynamic bandwidth support, load balancing and optimisation

· Network management and configuration

· Zero-collision low power packet exchange

· Scalability to large, dense, deep networks

Wzzard’s Intelligent Edge Nodes can join the mesh network at any time without gateway interaction. Nodes attach automatically, and the Dust Networks (Linear) SmartMesh IP technology dynamically self-configures to re-form the mesh network. To ensure data always reaches the gateway, nodes will determine their optimal RF paths to other nodes and back to the gateway. The SmartMesh IP protocol implemented within the edge nodes includes advanced network management functions and security features such as encryption and authentication.

Wzzard also uses the lightweight, publish/subscribe messaging transport MQTT protocol for sensor communications. MQTT is an extremely simple messaging protocol created for M2M and IoT applications over wireless networks. Its efficient distribution of information to single or multiple receivers, low power usage and minimised data packets make it sutiable for mobile or remote locations. Unlike older SCADA protocols such as Modbus, MQTT places few restrictions on the volume or type of data that can be communicated. This facilitates a meta-data approach where multiple IoT applications can act upon the information simultaneously without having to know its origin.

The programmable, industrial-grade Spectre router serves as Wzzard’s Intelligent Gateway. Spectre can connect equipment and other devices to the Internet or Intranet over either wired Ethernet or wireless cellular connections. Spectre is built for plug-and-play simplicity with extensive remote management, deployment and customisation options. It is a robust, flexible gateway designed for easy deployment in demanding environments and the cellular version creates secure connections in locations where cable connections are impractical.

Processed information from the sensor nodes is published through the Spectre Gateway up to the user’s IoT application using MQTT transport protocol.

B&B Electronics (Ottawa, Illinois, and Galway, Ireland); www.bb-elec.com

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