Q&A New VaiNet (LoRa-based) Wireless Data Loggers

RFL100
Profile picture for user paul.daniel
Paul Daniel
Sr. Regulatory Compliance Expert
Apr 12th 2018
Life Science

We had over 480 registrants for our webinar "VaiNet - a Wireless Technology that Rises Above the Crowd"

Thank you to everyone who joined in, and for those who missed out, you are welcome to watch the recording (see below) and here are the slides.

Scroll down this page to read outtakes from the Q&A segment of the webinar. Thank you for bringing these great questions! 

If you have any other questions about VaiNet, the RFL data loggers, or viewLinc 5 software, please contact us.

How can I increase the link budget on my monitoring system?

You probably can’t increase your link budget mechanically. If you are using a commercially available system, the transmission power and receiver sensitivity* are things that cannot really be adjusted by the end user. For example, to try to change the antenna on the AP10 would void the FCC and ETSI certifications for the AP10. The best way to decrease your link losses is by moving devices closer together.  It won’t increase the link budget, but it will allow a signal to better overcome obstacles.

 

*Receiver sensitivity is the lowest power at which the receiver can detect an RF signal. Sensitivity is a receiver specification and is independent of the transmitter.

 

 

Why do you say that Ethernet is at the core of every monitoring network?

The three networks used to network data loggers to viewLinc – Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and VaiNet -- are technologies as they are used to connect a monitoring sensor to the existing network of servers in your LAN or Intranet. The core of that network is going to operate on Ethernet cables or fiber optics.  This is true, even for a cloud-based system.  The core will be Ethernet-based.  But how we connect to that core network is changing fast.

Why do you mean by "private" LoRa network?

Most applications that use LoRa® technology involve data being sent from your device over a public network, like a cell tower, in order to get to the server on your local network. This can involve two risks:  sending your data over the public network, and having to provide a doorway from the public network into your private secure LAN.

VaiNet uses LoRa® but in a fully private network. You can think of the AP10 access points as miniature cell towers that are completely private; this ensures a closed network and secure data.

 

Do you really get 100 meters range with these? What’s the actual range you see in usage?

Yes, 100 meters is the actual range we are seeing in usage.  In fact, its often as high as 200 meters, especially when we move into more open spaces like warehouses. Only one test implementation showed a real-life range of under 100 meters…  In that case it was a museum in an old stone building, the signal was slower to penetrate the 8-foot thick stone walls. Despite the walls, we still achieved better range than any of the other competing systems in that test.  What's most exciting is that this range is achieved by a device using two normal AA batteries that last for a year and a half.

What kind of batteries do the RFL data loggers use?

The batteries for the RFL100 are 2 AA alkaline batteries. Typical battery life for the AA batteries is 18 months.  There is a small lithium CR1/3N clock battery.  This battery has less than 0.3g of lithium and is safe to ship, as it is exempt from shipping restrictions due to its small size, and because it is already installed in the device.  This clock battery has an expected lifetime of 10 years. All batteries may be changed out by the customer as needed. 

Can you describe the automatic failover function of the VaiNet loggers?

Automatic failover in VaiNet occurs when a RFL series logger can’t connect with its preferred AP10 access point.  It will immediately initiate a series of 4 retries at which point it find another AP10.  If another AP10 is available and in range, the RFL will switch over automatically.  This process could take up to 10 minutes. For more details on how the loggers work together - here is an Application Note on VaiNet.  And here is a viewLinc system Connectivity Options technical note.

Could you please explain your statement that the "AP10 segregates wireless and Ethernet networks?"

In a WiFi network, the signals are between the sensors and the WiFi gateway use TCP/IP Ethernet protocols to communicate wirelessly.  It is essentially, wireless Ethernet. The rest of the Ethernet-based LAN uses the same protocols.  The two side of the network speak the same language, and a malicious signal on the wireless side could easily continue onto the wired side. In order to build in security, you must add a firewall or take some specific action.  In a VaiNet network, the wireless network between the sensors and the AP10 uses LoRa® modulation and protocols, while the rest of the LAN uses Ethernet protocols.  Since the communication protocols are so vastly different, there is not direct connection between the wireless side and the wired side. If a LoRa® protocol message somehow did make it over to the Ethernet side, it would just be nonsense.
 

What is RFL100 battery lifetime in low temperatures?

You should see 12 months of battery life with alkaline batteries. If you need to operate at lower temperatures down to -20°C, then we recommend you upgrade to lithium AA batteries to get 12 months of battery life.  The best practice for cold environment is to get the RFL100 with the sensor on a cable and place the sensor only in the cold environment, while keeping the data logger in an ambient temperature environment.
 

How well would you expect the 868mhz cope in a heavy foliage / forest environment?

Most of the interference or attenuation in heavy foliage will come from the water content in the vegetation itself.  You may have already noticed that a signal that does fine going through the trees in clear weather will get blocked on a rainy day when the leaves are covered with water.  Water, as a general rule, will easily absorb high frequency radio waves.  868 MHz will perform better than 2.4 GHz, because the lower frequency will lose less energy to the water.  You should see better performance (less absorption by water) as you lower the frequency.  Your best path may be to do some practical tests to see if the devices you want to use function well in your forest environment. Interestingly, we have RFL100s installed in a foliage situation. This is detailed in our release on the RFL data loggers installed at a zoo. The data loggers monitor both the enclosures, and the bamboo that is the food of the pandas. Read more...

Vaisala's Cutting-Edge Wireless Technology Monitors the Wellbeing of the Pandas in Ähtäri Zoo in Finland  

 Are the RFLs in compliance with the EN12830 standard?

 No. The RFL100 data loggers were designed for in situ monitoring.  Theoretically, could use them to monitor the shipping of temperature-sensitive products, but they would have to be protected from direct contact with the product.
 

Can other Vaisala sensors be used with VaiNet, such as PWD22, CL3, or HMP155?

The RFL data loggers that are currently available are used with the HMP110 and HMP115 intelligent temperature and humidity sensors.  Future models of the loggers may incorporate other Vaisala intelligent probes, but they will likely be probes that are used for various industrial measurements, rather than weather measurement.

Note: The PWD22 is a weather sensor, the CL31 is a cloud height ceilometer, and the HMP155 is a temperature and humidity probe.
 

We invite you to view this 1-hour webinar on recent technological advances in wireless technology. The webinar covers key differences between types of wireless and Wi-Fi monitoring systems, reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of each. Learn how new long-range wireless technology eliminates the need for signal repeaters, reduces monitoring costs, and uses battery-powered devices to simplify environmental monitoring applications. The webinar includes a Question & Answer period, but if you have any questions after viewing, please email us.

Key Learning Objectives

  • History: Radio Waves, Micro Waves = Wireless
  • Differences in current technologies: VaiNet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee
  • Functional comparisons of each
  • Concepts simplified: frequency, modulation, LoRa, Link Budgets, network topology and more...

If you are curious about how new wireless technologies are changing environmental monitoring, this presentation will give you a primer on the future of wireless devices. Your IT department will be impressed with your understanding of wireless technology after this webinar!

Audience

  • Quality Assurance & Quality Control
  • Facilities Management
  • Information Technology
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Engineering
  • Process Manager

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New Application for New Wireless Temperature and Humidity Data loggers: Panda Enclosure

Vaisala Wireless data logger in Panda Enclosure

The viewLinc monitoring system has long been used in life science environments. It is often used in museums and archives, semi-conductor manufacturing, warehouses, aerospace manufacturing, bio-pharmaceutical storage and distribution. The newest application is the Ähtäri Zoo's Snowpanda House and the outdoor panda enclosures, approximately 6400 m2.  The monitoring system includes viewLinc 5.0 software and Vaisala's new long-range wireless data loggers. The loggers are easy to place because they are unencumbered by networking or power cables.

The data loggers are located in the outdoor and indoor areas monitoring the living area, as well as the pandas' bamboo food supply, which requires high humidity and controlled temperatures to stay fresh and edible.

Read more about the Ähtäri Zoo's Snowpanda House

Comment

Horacio Mendoza

Jul 25th 2018
Hello,
I want to obtain the information of this presentation since it could be very useful for my work.

Thank you very much and good day.

Janice Bennett-Livingston

Jul 25th 2018
Dear Horacio,

Thank you very much for your request! I have emailed several documents to you about the system, as well as an introduction to Mr. Ouali Madjid, our industrial measurements sales manager in your part of the world.

Thanks again!

J

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