RF Network Solutions

Radiocrafts Industrial Internet of Things (RIIoT)

RIIoT is a RF system designed to meet the requirements of the sensor and actuator connectivity in Industrial IoT. The RF protocol is IEE802.15.4 g/e with RIIoT additions.

The solution is the result of the extensive experience in Radiocrafts to supply RF modules for various type of RF networks and a culture to always create solutions that makes it easy for the designer.

The RIIoT system consists of the following parts

Radiocrafts Industrial Internet of Things diagram

Short time to market

The RIIot system was designed to be very easy to implement, it is based on:

  • High quality RF modules that removes most of the RF hardware design issues
  • SDM enabled end-node modules, that allow the designer to implement a custom application in less than 100 line of high level C-code
  • RIIoT RF protocol, Link, with built in features for low power, long range, high reliability and security
  • The RIIoT network manager that interfaces to the Cloud, monitors the network functionality and provides for an easy network set-uo

The solution is a complete RF subsystem that can interface to any sensor/actuator and take the data to and from the Cloud with industrial grade performance. The complete network can be designed and set-up in a matter of days, using a standard Linux based gateway with internet access.

Long RF range

RIIot RF is based on IEE802.15.4g/e with RIIoT additions in the application layer. This creates a robust medium range network, with a range sufficient for most industrial applications.

Calculation of the RF range in the network, using the empirically derived formula often used in the industry, shows a practical range of several hundreds of meters for RIIoT.

Technology Range (in a metal factory)
RIIoT 5kbps 600m
RIIoT HP 5kbps 1.3km
LoRa 2,0km
Sigfox 1,2km
Zigbee 90m
BLE 5.0 60m
wMBUS 868MHz 300m
wMBUS 169MHz 2,5km

We are using “the Free Indoor Model” which is also applicable for outdoor urban environment., where path loss is given by LP = P0 – n*10*log10 R.

LP = Path loss

PO (Path loss at 1m ) = 20 * log(300/4*PI*frequency)

R = Range

We use n=3.6 as typically used for factory with obstructed line of sight.  See our application note AN021 for further details on the model.

Tx power is limited to 14 dBm for 868, 27 dBm for 169 and 7dBm for 2.4Ghz in this calculation.

Note: Sigfox will gain range in real life as the height of the base-station is not take into account in the model.

Reliable network

RIIot RF, has been design to be reliable using various established techniques that reduces vulnerability to interference, avoids noisy environment and recovers poorly received packets as well as a build in network monitor that can send alarms when link are malfunctioning.

 

Technology

Signal length
12 bytes application
[ms]
RX Bandwidth
[kHz]
Freq hopping Interference tolerance
[dBm]

Ack/retry MAC level

RIIoT 5kbps

45

49 Yes -129 Yes

RIIoT 50kbps

4.5

98 Yes -120

Yes

LoRaWAN(297 b/s)

1350

125 No -118

No

Sigfox(EU)

1500

30 No -150

No

Zigbee

~2

5000 No -112

Yes

BLE 5.0

~2

1000 Yes -112

Yes

wMBUS 868MHz, T mode

3.5

150 No -115

No

wMBUS 169MHz, 2.4kb/s 100 40 No -130

No

 

The signal length should be as short as possible, to avoid that noise interferes during the time when info is received. This is accomplished by high data rate and low overheads.

The bandwidth should be low to avoid interference to hit the open window in the frequency plane. This is accomplished by low data-rate and good Rx filtering

Frequency hopping helps to avoid interferences as noisy channels are automatically avoided.

Interference tolerance is the signal level that is required to possible distort a packet that otherwise would be received OK.  A higher number is better than a lower since the interferer can be physically closer.

Ack/retry ensures that good data is received, and repeats until this happens. The alternative is to send more data than needs, e.g. send the same data more than once (Sigfox) or add forward correction bits (LoRa).

Network monitoring adds to the reliability as it continuously checks the quality of the network and sends alarms if performance goes down.

RIIoT is well suited for high reliability/QoS type of application as the probability of interference (in time, frequency and signal space) is low, it support frequency hopping and there are good mechanism to recover information from a packet loss (Acknowledge and retransmission).

Security

AES128-CCM

Data in-flight are secured using AES128-CCM, an authenticated encryption scheme that offers confidentiality, integrity and authenticity assurances. It offers protection against eavesdropping, modification, replay and impersonations.

A unique key is established between each node and the coordinator. So even if one node is compromised, data from the rest of the network is still secured.

End-to-end security

User can also opt-in for end-to-end security, an additional layer of encryption that that is only known between the node and the user end application (e.g. in the cloud), so the data is protected from eavesdropping or modification even in the gateway that is responsible for routing.

Whitelist

A whitelist can be used to only accept approved nodes on the network. A handshake is established when a node joins to verify its security credentials.

Low power

Low TX/Rx/Sleep currents

  • TX 8.5 mA @ 0 dBm
  • TX 19 mA@ 12 dBm
  • TX 26 mA@ 14 dBm
  • RX 6.2 mA
  • Sleep 0.7 mA (RTC based on crystal 0.7 mA)

Short Tx/Rx

TX interval for 12 bytes application data is 4.5 ms

Long sleep time

The RIIoT have no mandatary background communication that require frequency wakeup. This means that in a smart application were data processing is done in sensor node and RF packet only is sent during alarm, the radio in a sensor node can be in sleep for hours and days.

The low power usage in RIIoT is important for several reasons. One is the battery lifetime itself or it can also be seen the latency for sensor data.

The energy used for sending 12 bytes of application data for RIIoT at 50kb/s is 300-600 times less than LPWAN technologies. For a given battery, e.g. 500 mAh coin cell battery, the time between transmissions can be much shorter and this makes RIIoT well suited for low latency application.

 

Technology

Time in TX for 12 bytes application
[ms]
TX current
[mA]
Energy /packet transmitted
[mAh]
Time between transmits, If coin cell (500 mAh) for 5 year. Time between transits, if AA (2400 mAh) for 10 year.

RIIoT 5kbps

45 26 3,25 E-04 1,7 min

42,70 sec

RIIoT 50kbps

4,5 26 3,25 E-05 10,24 sec

4,27 sec

LoRaWAN(297 b/s)

1 350 47 1,76 E-02 1,54 hours

38,5 min

Sigfox(EU)

1 500 59 2,46 E-02 2,15 hours

53,8 min

Zigbee

2 9 5,00 E-06 1,57 sec

0,65 sec

BLE 5.0

2 9 5,00 E-06 1,57 sec

0,65 sec

wMBUS 868MHz, T mode

3,5 26 2,53 E-05 7,97 sec

3,32 sec

wMBUS 169MHz, 2.4kb 100 400 1,11 E-02 58 min

24,3 min

 

In addition, the overall battery lifetime the smaller energy pulses used for RIIoT is more suitable for battery pulse capability. A lithium battery does not like large pulses of current and coin cell lithium battery are therefore not suited for LPWAN technologies. Also bigger lithium batteries like AA cell batteries need support in term of super capacitor for handling TX current burst and this increased cost dramatically.

RIIoT is therefore suited for application with low cost coin cell battery and that not require costly supercapacitors.

Optimized for Gateway and Cloud Integration

RIIoT network controller is a Linux middleware that makes it easy to manage the network and route RF data to user gateway applications or the cloud. It provides a socket for user application to interface to, making it compatible with any platform and user application written in any language. Data from the network are forwarded to user application as JSON objects that are easily parsed and forwarded to the cloud.

RIIoT offers an optional application layer that models a node with attributes, actions and event notifications, representations that are easily mapped to data models in cloud services. Data on the network are encoded in CBOR, a binary encoding that models after JSON. CBOR retains advantages of being fast and power-efficient, while allowing the RIIoT net controller to translate it to JSON, which can be easily parsed by gateway and cloud developers.

Support to any sensor/actuator

The application framework for the programmable module, RC1880-SPR, comes with API modules to read and write to the local interfaces, including the UART, I2C, SPI, GPIO and ADC, allowing the user to integrate to a combination of any sensor or actuator.

Future-proof your product with RiiOT Over-the-Air update

Your product will be future-proofed by RiiOT’s ability for over-the-air updates. This is possible because of the two-way communication channel and the integrated flash inside the module. You can upgrade your nodes in the field with sensor/actuator interfaces, new signal processing algorithms, and security patches. The underlying RF system firmware can also be upgraded.

 

The RIIoT products

RC1880-SPR

The RC1880-SPR is a programmable RF module that is IEEE802.15.4 g/e compatible. It can be used as part of Radiocrafts Industrial Internet of Things (RIIoT) or as a leaf node in an IEE802.15.4 g/e network. It is compatible to RIIoT RF.

It includes the programmability through an event-driven framework that allows user to write their own application code in high level C-code. This is useful to manage sensor/ actuators, create local alarm, do signal processing, etc.

RIIoT Network Controller

The RIIoT network controller (RIIoT Net) is a Linux middleware that resides in the gateway. Radiocrafts provides this as part of the Linux software package, RIIoT Net, that can easily be installed in any Linux based gateway. It can be easily integrated to a user application through a socket. Data and commands are communicated as JSON objects. The main functions of the network controller are:

  • Support the set-up of the RF network
  • Monitor the network for broken links etc
  • Manages the low-level networking through the RC1880-GPR module.

RC1880-GPR

RC1880-GPR is an IEEE802.15.4 g/e compatible modem module that is intended to be implemented in the gateway/concentrator. It supports RIIoT RF and the RIIoT network controller. One RC1880-GPR can interface to several hundreds of RC1880-SPR nodes.

It can be used together with RIIoT network controller, the provided Linux middleware that makes it easy to communicate on the RF network. Alternatively, it can be interfaced via UART directly by user application.

RIIoT tools to accelerate your development

EDF SDK –  Software development kit for programming the RC1880-SPR leaf nodes. Comes with an event-driven application framework (EDF) with high-level C APIs that allow you to interface to any sensor/actuator and to implement any data processing and edge intelligence. A full sensor application with networking and sensor interface can be written in as less as 100 lines of code. For more complex application, up to 10K of space is available.

The SDK comes with a free development environment with a compiler and flashing tools.

RIIoT Network Dashboard  – A browser GUI that connects to the RiiOT network controller for you to manage the network and visualize data.

RIIoT RF link test – a tool to test the RF range and signal in your environment.

Documentation here.

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