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The importance of data in today’s world increases every day. More and more devices can now be connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) in a range of industries. From food retail stores to commercial buildings, hospitality venues to leisure facilities, food processing to the cold chain, devices connected via the IoT can be controlled and monitored via a control system front-end.

Operating data generated by the devices provides the insights required by facility managers to ensure that a building is operating efficiently. Access to this vital information not only helps keep costs of energy and repairs to a minimum, but also allows a company to demonstrate environmental and food safety due diligence.

All aspects of HVAC and refrigeration equipment, including lighting, boilers, air handlers and air conditioning should be networked to achieve optimal control and monitoring of the building infrastructure. Connected devices allow companies to utilise remote monitoring and facility management software solutions, providing benefits such as predictive maintenance and energy statistics.

The way in which HVAC, refrigeration, lighting and other devices are connected within a building, or across an estate, directly impacts the volume and quality of data that can be captured.

RDM building control and monitoring solutions are specifically designed to offer system engineers the option to integrate new and existing equipment. Users can create a network that is not only affordable to install and operate, but also delivers high volumes of data. Providing a complete solution, RDM software ActiveFM intelligently filters the collected data to provide insights, analyses and trend statistics.

The type of networking that’s right for each business to optimally control and monitor equipment and gather data depends on the set-up of the facility. Below, we analyse the advantages and disadvantages of different networking options.

Open Protocols – Creating Cost-Effective Networks

Open protocols are essential to design a robust, cost-effective network of IoT devices. RDM solutions are designed to operate across truly open protocols, including IP, XML, Web services, HTTP, and HTTPS. While some open protocols actually incur hidden fees such as license charges or organisation membership fees, RDM’s open protocol solutions are genuinely open without hidden fees. Benefits of open protocols include:

  • Scalability and lower costs when linking equipment on-site.
  • Increased networking options due to expanded integration between existing and new infrastructure.
  • Reduced installation time due to the capacity to switch between networking mediums such as Modbus TCP/IP or Modbus RS485.

 

A more in-depth analysis of open protocols is available in our blog.

RDM’s use of open protocols, along with additional capabilities to integrate a variety of proprietary communication protocols, allow for the creation of robust, versatile building management networks.

Hardwired Networks

Having designed and installed the first refrigeration control system in the world with Ethernet (IP) at the device level, RDM is in a strong position to advocate the use of IP networks. IP is one of the most commonly used networking options globally. One major benefit is faster communication due to greater data bandwidth when compared to traditional wired solutions such as RS485 networks. It is also more flexible when it comes to meeting network demands and it is easy to install using Ethernet IP patch cables and network switches.

Additionally, IP is a very reliable communication mechanism when compared to wireless networks whose signal can be affected by external obstacles such as walls or other wireless devices. Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a popular option because of its ability to transmit both power and data up to 100 meters via one cable, saving installation time and cost of additional cables.

RS485 can be used to create a parent/child topology – point-to-point. It can transmit data up to 1200 meters; however, speeds tend to decrease across greater distances. Unlike Ethernet which can support hundreds of devices, RS485 networks are typically restricted to 32 per network.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a wireless technology used to connect devices together to create a network, facilitating communication between devices and monitoring of the connected equipment. Since it isn’t necessary to run a cable to every connected device, Wi-Fi is a quick and low-cost solution for networking. Connected devices within Wi-Fi networks can also easily be moved from one position to another as their movement is not restricted by a network cable. Networking equipment associated with wired networks, such as network switches and patch cables, are not required, which lowers overall installation costs.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth networking presents a viable and cost-effective solution when traditional hardwired networking is not feasible due to constraints within a building or the cost of installation. Bluetooth devices are also ideal to facilitate food safety compliance within the cold chain. Temperature data can be recorded when frozen or chilled goods are in transit and then transmitted wirelessly to a central control system upon arrival at the depot.

Our Bluetooth Wireless Mesh Control and Monitoring blog explains RDM’s Bluetooth wireless solution in more detail. Featuring a mesh topology, RDM’s Bluetooth system is robust and reliable. Compared to point-to-point communication between devices, Mesh signals hop between available devices, bypassing obstacles providing a more reliable and robust wireless network. 

Fibre

Fibre networks transmit data through pulses of light rather than electrical pulses, resulting in several major advantages over traditional networks. Immunity and resilience from electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) related issues mean fibre cables can run alongside power cables and electrically noisy equipment without fear of interference.

Fibre also offers significant cost savings by eliminating the need for multiple network switches, panels and other hardware for long runs. Further cost savings are achieved because the cost per meter of fibre cable is much less in comparison to Ethernet cable. Finally, by transmitting data using light, fibre offers unparalleled transfer speeds and can transmit uninterrupted across distances of up to 2km (1.24 miles).

RDM offers fibre connection options for several products, including the control system front-end DMTouch, front-end touch screen control TouchXL, and networking device Intuitive Switch.

 

What’s Next?

Discuss networking options with an RDM expert who can offer guidance and advice on how to integrate devices across your building or estate.  

usasales@resourcedm.com

sales@resourcesdm.com


IOT MONITORING | Posted on 28 Jan 2022

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