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Extending Remote Network Connections with Radios

Radio is an effective method for remote communicationsRemote networks are very useful in monitoring remote tanks. These can be monitored on a nearby local network or over the Internet from virtually any location. How, then, can you get a network or Internet connection to a remote location?

There are a variety of ways to get a network to a remote location. Satellite and cellular connections are good options, but incur ongoing costs. One low cost method to get around this is a radio connection. There are two basic ways to set this up: a simple bridge connection, and a mesh network of radios.

Bridge Connection

A typical bridge setup consists of two units, a master transmitter and a slave receiver. If you were to use our LOE ultrasonic sensor, you would connect the sensor to the receiver with an Ethernet cable. Connect the sensor and receiver to a nearby power source, which may be a solar panel, and confirm that your receiver is within range of the master transmitter. You will then connect the transmitter to a router so you can access the data on the Internet or through your own network.

Depending on the line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver, the range can vary greatly. If you need to transmit the data through walls of a building, your range may only be a few hundred feet. On the other hand, if your units have a clear line of sight your range could reach a few miles – depending on the power of the units.

Mesh Networks

Radios can pass information from receiver to receiver, until it reaches the master transmitter. This is useful for connecting several sensors in a small region to a single network connection. This is also helpful when the distance from the sensor to the radio transmitter and nearby router is too far for a single pair of radios to handle. Several receivers can pass the information on until the distance is bridged.

Cost

Using radios has a few costs that may or may not be less than other technologies. The hardware itself is quite affordable. For example, we have found good radios under $100 USD each. However, the installation of these radios requires additional time and a power source. In the end, several options should be considered side-by-side.

If you have any questions about remote monitoring, or extending your network to include remote assets, contact us today. We’ll help you understand your options, and the implications of each.

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