NarrowBand-IoT one of standards for Industrial IoT

The NB-IoT is becoming a standard in wireless communication of IoT devices, for standalone solutions and complex installations with thousands of units, coordinated with gateways. Will NarrowBand-IoT replace other wireless technologies in industrial automation?

What exactly is NarrowBand?

NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) is a radio technology in the field of LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) dedicated for IoT devices, operating on the licensed frequency band used by telecommunications operators.

The biggest advantages of NB-IoT include:

  • long battery life (up to 10 years),
  • efficiency in the amount of data transferred,
  • intra-building penetration,
  • the ability to connect even tens of thousands of devices in one system,
  • a global standard,
  • a high level of security and low cost

You can build mass solutions and those that until now were considered unprofitable. NB-IoT technology works in the licensed band, so there is no risk of interference and blocking communication by competing networks.

The service life of devices powered by two AA batteries is up to 10 years. However, the devices themselves are constructed in such a way that they can work for many years without the need for technical supervision and recharging the battery.

NB-IoT used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of NarrowBand-IoT wireless modems can be communication of edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT modems

eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

  • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
  • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
  • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

  • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
  • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
  • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
  • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

Available open source ventilator projects to help COVID-19 patients

When the news came out that ventilator shortages could be a problem, many saw the need for alternatives to the big manufacturers and rushed to create them. Unlike industrial projects, these projects were open and shared. Currently, Robert Reed and his group are starting to systematically evaluate the ranking of over 80 such open source projects.

Their work is a milestone in public research and development efforts to solve problems. For many ventilator builders, the group recognized the need for independent evaluation and testing of various projects. This control provides important feedback to both designers and future builders. This is a service you can expect from government regulators if they can act very quickly.

Reid and colleagues Geoff Mulligan, Lauria Clarke, Juan E. Villacres Perez and Avinash Baskaran to help to learn about these studies. This includes submission of modular team designs that allow distributed production and unique suggestions for testing and monitoring these systems. This is called VentMon.

Industrial Arduino-like devices as a base of medical equipment?

When industrial IoT devices and edge devices, like medical equipment work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, or control the servo-motors of a ventilatr. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

Industrial IoT use of ESP32 chip in eModGATE

Latest innovations used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of IoT can be edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, etc.

For example eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Battery powered IoT devices crucial to 2020+ standards

Technology must transfer data to the central system in real time, otherwise it may have negative consequences. If the sensor battery power runs out, a machine failure may stop production for one day or lead to direct danger. If battery life is unbelievable and short, IoT applications will become useless, causing more interference rather than making life easier for its intended purpose. Therefore battery powered IoT devices come as a standard in up-to-date IoT installations

Wireless sensors and sensor networks are one of the elements of the Internet of Things systems and intelligent factories. Replacing the standard sensors and data collection devices with versions that communicate wirelessly gives many benefits, but also enforces a highly thought-out system design that will minimize energy consumption. This is important because these systems must work for many years without servicing. In the article we present the issues regarding the design of systems and forecasting of energy consumption in IoT systems.

Wireless communication vs Battery power

The idea of wireless sensor networks has been around for at least two decades, while the IEEE subgroup working on personal wireless networks defined the 802.15.4 standard in 2003, a year later the first versions of ZigBee appeared. Since then, many varieties of wireless communication have been developed, such as LoRa & NarrowBand-IoT and additional functions introduced, as a result of which designers now have a choice of various open or proprietary protocols. What significantly affects the way the entire project is implemented is energy consumption.

Obrazek posiada pusty atrybut alt; plik o nazwie battery-iot-esp32-1030x386.png
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

The basic elements of these systems are sensors that measure physical quantities. Some signal and data processing capabilities are also important. After all, the communication interface is important, which will allow you to pass the measured data on. Such a sensor node should wake up from time to time, make contact with its superordinate controller, transfer data and fall back to sleep again. Battery life depends on the total charge collected. Minimizing this consumption in the long run means that you need to minimize energy consumption during each work cycle. In many cases, the sensor will only work for a small fraction of the time. A measurement that lasts a few milliseconds can be triggered once per second, once per minute, or even less frequently. Therefore, the energy consumed in sleep mode may dominate the total energy consumption.

Battery-ready IoT devices based on ESP32

Battery / SuperCap power support allows the processes and data to be securely executed, saved or transferred, and the operating system to be safely shutdown or reboot, if the power source has been restored. The power failure alert can also be sent to cloud service, to perform custom task, specified by user or self-learning AI algorithm.

The Moduino device is a comprehensive end-point controller for variety of sensors located throughout any installation. It fully supports temperature and humidity sensors and new ones are currently developed, e.g. accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, etc.

Battery powered Moduino ESP32
Battery powered IoT installation. Source: https://modberry.techbase.eu/

ModuinoModBerry symbiosis allows wide range of wake-up/sleep schedule customization, in order to perform best and save energy accordingly to power supply state. Arduino and MicroPython environments provide libraries to control different scenarios of data and power management.

With built-in algorithms and the possibility to program on your own, the TECHBASE’s sleep/wake addon module can wake the device using schedule/timer. Another option is wake on external trigger, e.g. change of input, etc. All the options for sleep, shutdown and wake can be configured for various scenarios to ensure constant operation of devices, safety of data and continuity of work in case of power failure in any installation. Check battery-powered Moduino X0

ZigBee Mesh used in industrial IoT applications

ZigBee Mesh used in industrial IoT applications

ZigBee mesh‘s usefulness for IoT is partly due to the fact that it is an open standard. The same products can be used all over the world, which gives customers a large selection of available option. The high competition between products and producers means that the created solutions are innovative, characterized by high quality and give customers a considerable choice. Many suppliers of cooperating elements of this ecosystem mean that they are not limited to any specific brands or specific semiconductor manufacturers.

Competitiveness of ZigBee based solutions

With a maximum data bandwidth of 250 kbps at 2.4 GHz, ZigBee is slower than other popular wireless standards such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but it doesn’t matter in typical sensor applications. ZigBee Mesh is designed to send small data packets at relatively long intervals, which is usually sufficient to collect data from temperature sensors, safety sensors, air quality monitoring systems and similar subsystems. In the meantime, the low bandwidth affects the low power needed for the system to work, so that ZigBee nodes can usually work for many years on a single AAA battery.

ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance
ZigBee Power Consumption. Source: ZigBee Alliance

With low power consumption, ZigBee supporting products typically have a short transmission range – typically from 10 to 15 meters, and the signal they emit is easily disturbed by obstacles on the route, or changes in the environment. However, the beauty of ZigBee devices lies in their work as part of a lattice topology network, where each of them transmits signals between themselves over a total of longer distances. The grid topology also means that damage to a single device will not stop the entire network, as communication can simply be redirected.

Industrial use of ZigBee Mesh

One of industrial IoT devices, supporting ZigBee Mesh technology is eModGATE from TECHBASE. Economical, ESP32-based solution can serve as an end-point in any installation or works well as a gateway, gathering data from scattered sensor mesh across the installation. For more information check Industrial IoT Shop with all the configuration options for eModGATE, including ZigBee modem.

eSIM support for Rasperry Pi based ModBerry industrial device

The embedded SIM card (eSIM) is a form of programmable SIM card that is directly built in the device. eSIM is a global GSMA specification that enables remote SIM delivery to any supported device, and GSMA defines eSIM as the SIM card for the next generation of connected consumer / professional devices and network solution with the use of eSIM technology.

Easy SIM operator swap

In Industrial IoT applications in which there is no need to change the SIM card, the need of using a connector is avoided, which increases reliability and data security. eSIM can be remotely configured – users can add or change operators without having to physically swap the SIM card from the device. It is often a crucial requirement for the installations where factors such as temperature, water and shock resistance, as well as lack of access forces user to choose remote solutions.

eSIM Raspberry Pi Connvectivity

Raspberry Pi & ESP32-based devices

TECHBASE company is now developing eSIM support for Raspberry Pi and ESP32 industrial devices, such as ModBerry and Moduino X to improve the handling of wireless modem connectivity. To receive an offer for ModBerry/Moduino device with eSIM-based modem, contact our Sales Department via e-mail or Live Chat.

ESP32 Serial Port

Arduino ESP32 Serial Port to TCP Converter via WiFi

In this class, you will create serial port to TCP converter using Arduino code running on ESP32 processor. We will use one of device which uses such processor: Moduino X ESP32. For TCP communication WiFi module will be used.

You will need:

  • Moduino X2 (may be also X1) ESP32 device (check this website to find out more)
  • PC with Linux operating system
  • socat application
  • RS-232/RS-485 port in your computer or USB to RS-232/RS-485 converter (for programmming and testing)

Introduction

In our example data sent to serial port (which is used as terminal port in regular Micropython ESP32 device) will be send via WiFi using TCP protocol. It also decodes incomming TCP packets and writes them to serial port.Then virtual serial port can be opened for that TCP packets and perform serial communication.We will use socat application for that.

You can read the complete tutorial at Hackster.io:

SIMCom SIM7000G

SIMCom NB-IoT modems now available in Industrial IoT Shop

TECHBASE’s Industrial IoT devices, ModBerry & Moduino series supports latest SIMCom global-band SIM7000G eMTC & NB-IoT Module. Now the latest SIM7000G as well as 7000E / 7000A versions of modem are available at IIoT-Shop.

SIMCom SIM7000G

Our ModBerry / Moduino devices equipped with latest SIM7000G modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

Supported bandwidths:

    • Global-Band LTE CAT-M1:  B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B8/B12/B13/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28/B39;
    • Global-Band LTE CAT NB-IoT1:  B1/B2/B3/B5/B8/B12/B13/B17/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28;
    • GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Control Via AT Commands

Supported data transfer:

    • LTE CAT-M1(eMTC) – Uplink up to 375kbps, Downlink up to 300kbps
    • NB-IoT – Uplink up to 66kbps, Downlink up to 34kbps
    • EDGE Class – Uplink up to 236.8Kbps, Downlink up to 236.8Kbps
    • GPRS – Uplink up to 85.6Kbps, Downlink up to 85.6Kbps

You can browse wireless modem category here: https://iiot-shop.com/product-category/modems/

Moduino X3 ESP32

Economical Moduino X3 with ESP32 on-board available NOW

New version of Moduino ESP32, model X3 designed for various economical applications

Moduino X3 model offers new approach to Industrial IoT by upgrading mainboard elements to ensure high performance and ultra-low cost of implementation. In comparison with X2 version, new X3 limits additional ExCard expansion modules, drasticly changing the price of the device, but maintaining the 3-terminal I/Os of previous model. An important change is providing opto-isolation for DIO interface (optionally interchangeable with Relay interface for that I/O).

New version of Moduino ESP32, model X3 is designed for various economical applications, such as Industrial IoT installations, data management & remote edge-devices control. Basic configurations of X3 can be purchased for a price even lower than X1/X2 models for development purposes. Please contact our Sales Department (via Chat or e-mail) to get best price for these devices.

To read more about Industrial Moduino X solution, check here: PDF datasheet

Full comparison below:

Moduino ESP32 Comparison

To order configurable devices, choose Moduino X3 option in Moduino X product configurator here:
https://iiot-shop.com/product/moduino/

ESP32-WROVER-B

Moduino X with ESP32-WROVER-B now available for purchase

Upgraded Espressif’s ESP32 module platform for Moduino X

Espressif, a manufacturer of popular ESP32-based IoT solutions, has developed a new version of the ESP32-WROVER module, called ESP32-WROVER-B. Updated module, in addition to the dual-core LX6 microprocessor, has now twice the amount of RAM, compared to previous version of the WROVER module. The ESP32 module can work with Pseudo Static RAM. Up to now, modules with up to 4MB RAM have been the most common. Recently Espressif Systems introduced a new ESP32-WROVER-B module, which is equipped with up to 8MB pSRAM.

ESP32-WROVER-B

The new module is compatible with TECHBASE’s Moduino X series of IIoT devices. The system works with MicoPython, ESP-IDF (freemask based on FreeRTOS with light-weight Internet Protocol), Mongoose OS, Zephyr Project and is Arduino compatible. ESP32-WROVER-B is based on the ESP32-D0WD system with dimensions 5 x 5 mm, which replaced the earlier ESP32-D0WDQ6 (6 x 6 mm). The ESP32-D0WD model has 2 CPU cores that can be controlled independently. The CPU clock frequency can also be configured in the range of 80 to 240 MHz.

Updated Moduino X with ESP32-WROVER-B also comes with variety of Flash Memory available: 4MB and 16MB.

To read more about Industrial Moduino X solution, visit: https://moduino.techbase.eu/

To order sample devices, loor for  ESP32-WROVER-B option in Moduino X product configurator module:

Moduino ESP32 controller now powered with Pycom modules

New base platforms for Moduino device

Revised version of TECHBASE’s Moduino edge controller offers now support and compatibility with wide range of Pycom’s compute modules with built-in communication interfaces, e.g. LoRa, Sigfox, NarrowBand-IoT / LTE cat. M1/NB1 and WiFi/BT4.2, similarly to standard Moduino devices, powered by Espressif’s ESP32-WROVER module.

With new Moduino platform you can choose from variety of Pycom modules to power the unit, in order to receive specific wireless features. At the present day Moduino supports these models:

    • WiPy 3.0 with WiFi & Bluetooth 4.2
    • SiPy with WiFi/BT and Sigfox
    • LoPy4 with WiFi/BT and LoRa, Sigfox
    • GPy with WIFi/BT and NarrowBand-IoT / LTE cat.M1/NB1
    • FiPy with WIFi/BT and LoRa, Sigfox, NarrowBand-IoT / LTE cat.M1/NB1

If physical network connection is a must, you can always choose standard Moduino ESP32 with Ethernet expansion module to ensure communication via LAN. Of course the possibility to choose wired-to-wireless communication is also available with the Moduino configurator.

All Pycom-based Moduino solutions are compatible with wide range of interface expansions for standard Moduino ESP32 platform, e.g. RS-232/485, Analog I/Os, Digital I/Os, Relay, CAN and many more, including SuperCap & OLED screen options. You can find the whole list of available expansions here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/moduino/

To read more about Industrial Moduino X solution, visit: https://moduino.techbase.eu/