Notes from the Field: Installing a New Wireless Temperature & Humidity Monitoring System

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Janice Bennett-Livingston
May 14th 2018
Industrial Measurements
Life Science

We recently made several software enhancements to our viewLinc 5.0 Enterprise Server software for continuous monitoring of controlled environments. If you are already familiar with viewLinc, here is an overview of new the features that have improved the usability of the software in version 5.0. At the bottom of this page, you can find some common questions on upgrading your current version of viewLinc and VaiNet technology.
 

Notes from the Recent VaiNet and viewLinc 5.0 Install:

Hello all,

As you know, we’ve all been awaiting the release of the Vaisala viewLinc monitoring system with the new viewLinc 5.0 Enterprise Server software and our proprietary wireless LoRa® technology VaiNet.

Today we performed a real-world test of the new system, installing it at a large distribution center in the US.  Here are our observations:

1. Software:
We were able to install the software and configure the AP10 and RFL100’s with minimal assistance. The software is intuitive and fun to work with. Our goal of making the system simple to install was definitely met.

When I arrived we sat down with the IT manager and with minimal assistance from Vaisala support he was able to install viewLinc on his server. The viewLinc setup guide was spot on.

Next, we moved on to configuring the software. I asked the customer to log on using the default admin password and then had him click on “Tours” and start at the top. It was amazing how tours kept us task-focused and would not allow for any mistakes. Any time the customer had a question it was quickly answered either by one of viewLinc's software interface tours, or the online help.
 
The software really is simplicity at its best, yet robust enough to meet any customer or regulatory requirement.
 

2. Hardware:

My time for this part was limited to 90 minutes before I needed to depart for the airport. I doubted this would provide enough time to get the devices up and running, but we were determined to try.
 
We unpacked the hardware and the customer printed labels for each device according to their in-house naming conventions.

We connected the AP10 to a network drop and entered the IP for NTP server, as well as viewLinc virtual server and turned on the 12 RFL100s. Within minutes the hardware was connected to viewLinc.
 
The customer played around with the software, checking the devices'  functionality. With everything ready to set up users, thresholds and alarms, I was able to depart, feeling grateful and proud that the customer was all set.
In the end, it took longer to unpack the hardware than it did to set up!
 

The AP10 was placed in the front office and several RFL100’s in the distribution center at 100, 150, and 200 meter distances from the AP10. We had no issue with signal strength at any of those distances. We decided to push it even further and moved a RFL100 as far as we could go which was approximately 250 meters (800 ft) from the AP10. The equipment communicated perfectly. Keep in mind that these are state of the art distribution centers with racking, conveyor belts, multi-story robotics, and vast amounts of RF technology in operation. We found this truly remarkable!

3. Follow up:

This morning we had a call with this customer for planning of the upcoming on-site execution of the viewLinc 5.0 IQOQ protocols. So far the customer is ecstatic with the software, its devices, and our service.
 
I have been in the industry for many years and my past experience has been that new products can be difficult to use the first time. Not with viewLinc 5.0.
 
This first setup was such a fast, smooth installation I have total faith that our existing customers who will update to viewLinc 5.0 and any new customer that makes the switch are going to be as pleased as this customer.
 
Competing Monitoring Systems:

This particular distribution center has been testing systems from other vendors, including wireless equipment, and had yet to experience anything as reliable as VaiNet devices. For example, they have one vendor’s (not Vaisala) base-station and wireless logger under test and were having serious issues getting the signal through a single wall at a distance of 50 ft/15 m.

Today’s visit has proven to us and the folks at the distribution center that this product is a true game changer in wireless monitoring technology. 

NOTE: Thank you to Keith Loftin for sharing this experience with us!

Here is a short list of some software enhancements to viewLinc 5.0 (See full list)

Tours: Upon first login for both users and administrators, the software walks you through setup steps. Tours are available on demand thereafter. Watch a short video “Tour of the Tours.”

Remote alarm notifications: New alarm templates simplify the configuration and management of all alarms in your system.

Simplified access control: For greater control over user access to the system.

Verified site security: viewLinc 5.0 uses TLS encryption to ensure that your system is secure.

Expanded email support: viewLinc 5.0 includes support for both IMAP and POP3 email settings.

Enhanced graphing options: Users can create data trends with up to 16 Locations and 4 measurement values. Earlier versions of viewLinc had up to two parameters.

Remote alarm notifications: Users won’t miss notifications because they can configure system alarms to include distribution to members of the viewLinc Administrators group. The system allows you to escalate alarm functions to align with your personnel hours and process risk levels.

Easy to install and deploy: When an Administrators group member logs in for the first time, the Getting Started tab in the Overview window displays links to online Help in three categories, Setup - Learn - Use.

RFL100 wireless data loggers and AP10 access points: When new wireless loggers are recognized on your network, you are notified on the viewLinc desktop automatically.

See all major changes to viewLinc 5.0: https://www.vaisala.com/en/whats-new-viewlinc-5

Watch a brief video:

7 Reasons to Choose viewLinc 5.0 Enterprise Server Software & VaiNet Wireless Technology

video - 7 reasons to choose viewLinc 5.0

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Here are some common questions we get on installing the Vaisala viewLinc monitoring system and updating an existing viewLinc system to the latest version.

What are the limits of VaiNet/viewLinc 5.0 (wireless range, placement of AP10s)?

  • POWER: The VaiNet RFL100 wireless data loggers require very low power. Each logger uses two standard AA alkaline batteries.
  • RANGE: VaiNet uses LoRa wireless technology running about 900 mHz. The low-frequency signal provides a very long-range (> 300 ft.) of communication. The signal is excellent at penetrating  walls, shelves, other Wi-Fi network signals, human beings, etc.
  • ACCESSORIES: One Vaisala AP10 (access point) will support up to (32) RFL100 loggers.

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