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Wireless monitoring webinar questions & answers

Wireless Data Loggers - VaiNet temperature and humidity data loggers with LoRa
Janice Bennett-Livingston
Published: Jan 27, 2020
Life Science

From our recent webinar we have questions and answers. If you missed the webinar, you can still watch the recording now: “Wireless Monitoring for GxP and Controlled Environments."

Plus, if you are curious about Vaisala's VaiNet wireless technology, we invite you to view the Application Note.

Question: Is VaiNet an Open protocol?

Answer:
VaiNet is not an open protocol.  It is a proprietary system used between a Vaisala RFL Logger and a Vaisala AP10 Access point. 

Question: Does Vaisala have any resource to allow the VaiNet technology to be used  with my existing monitoring system?

Answer:
Yes and no. VaiNet is a proprietary protocol that communicates only with viewLinc version 5.0 or later.  However, Vaisala has an OPC-UA server that allows our data loggers to communicate with OPC-UA compatible systems. So, if you are monitoring environments with a Building Management or Building Automation system that uses OPC-UA, you can use Vaisala’s VaiNet data loggers.

Note that you will still need the viewLinc software to gather the data from the VaiNet devices and send it to your other system via the Vaisala OPC-UA. This type of set up would be useful if you have monitored environments that:

a) need Vaisala's high-accuracy loggers

b) need long-range wireless and battery-powered loggers

c) can benefit from the GxP documentation capabilities of viewLinc, and/or

d) must be validated to comply with GxP.

Having Vaisala’s OPC-UA to send data from viewLinc to your other systems allows you to include the data from the VaiNet loggers in your other system data — for redundant monitoring, for comparative analysis, or to communicate with control systems. To learn more about ways to integrate viewLinc with your other systems, watch this webinar.

Question: How would we decide whether to go with Wi-Fi or a new RF technology?  Can we do both?

Answer:
Yes, viewLinc allows for a mix of communication technologies – Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or VaiNet wireless.  To learn more, see our Connectivity Guide that shows all options.

However, you do have to decide before you buy the loggers because each logger type will only work with one of the network options.  The best approach is to talk to a Vaisala application engineer. They will help you decide on the right data logger and network method for each application. Along with network connectivity method,  other deciding factors include your measurement parameters and existing infrastructure… so always best to talk to one of our engineers!

Question: You said the bitrate for VaiNet is 3 kilobits per second.  Why so slow?

Answer:
The speed of data (Bitrate = bits per second unit, or "bit/s") depends on the size of the data being sent. For example, if we send a photo that is 1GB, it’s going to take longer than a lower resolution image that is 500KB.

The only type of data sent in the viewLinc system is measurement values that are very small data packages (I.E.: 10° C at 10:15 AM).  Data that small travels extremely fast, even at 3 kilobits per second.  This is why 3kb/s is more than enough for monitoring purposes where typically data is collected once per minute, or once per 5 minutes.

Question: Can you assist us in getting a license to use the 900 MHz frequency so we can try out your devices?

Answer:
You don’t need a license in any countries where we offer VaiNet data loggers. (Again, here it's best to speak to your local representative.)  Because the 900 MHz permission is an ISM frequency, no licenses are required. (ISM stands for industrial, scientific and medical.) So long as the transmission power is kept beneath the regulatory limits, and transmission power is set at the factory, you can’t get into a situation where you break the law. 

Question: Are VaiNet devices compliant with Annex 11 and CFR 21 Part 11?

Answer:
Title 21 CFR Part 11 and Annex 11 don’t really apply to communications technologies, other than a basic requirement that the GMP data is kept secure when it is transmitted.  For compliance with Annex 11 and Part 11, the viewLinc software is designed to care of that. See this white paper on how viewLinc helps with compliance with Part 11 & Annex 11.

Question: How can I measure the link budget necessary to use VaiNet at my facility?

Answer:
The easiest way to understand your link budget is to have us visit you with some VaiNet devices and walk around your facility to test for data logger signal strength throughout.  In our product testing and customer installations, VaiNet's signal reliably travels 100 meters, often over 200 or 300 meters. 

Link Budgets are best thought of as a tool to understand how signals are transmitted and received.  If your signal transmissions are dropping, the usual solution is to move a network access point closer to the data logger, or put in a signal amplifier.

Question: Where does the data go when it’s sent over VaiNet?  I don’t want my data going over a public network.

Answer:
This is an increasingly valid concern.  VaiNet is the first ever private LoRa network.  Data gathered over VaiNet is inaccessible to the public because it is on a private network. Data collected by the loggers is sent over the VaiNet connection directly to the AP10 access point. From the AP10 data is sent by Ethernet Cable over your Local Area Network to the viewLinc Server.  The data is always in your network, under your control.

 

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