Do you need to monitor something in a remote location? Or maybe need to just monitor a couple of things for a short amount of time? Or do you want to make installing some sensors as simple as possible? The Leap Sensor’s cellular IoT sensor transceiver node can be a great solution.
A standard IoT wireless sensor system consists of the sensor transceiver node, a gateway, and software. The transceiver node uses a radio signal to transmit readings to the gateway, which compiles and organizes the signals to send them to a software database. A cellular IoT sensor, on the other hand, works like a cell phone, transmitting its readings via cell towers directly to the software, bypassing the need for a gateway.
Existing direct-to-cellular sensors tend to be designed for very narrow applications, like wastewater treatment. The Leap cellular sensor transceiver node is a breakthrough in IoT cellular connectivity; you get all the flexibility of the Leap Sensors system, including being able to integrate almost any type of sensor you need, and the ability to pass data to any software.
Advantages of Wireless Cellular IoT Sensors
Cellular coverage is obviously available almost everywhere. This means no concerns about transmission distance. Cellular networks are also much more established and reliable than wide networks like Lora or SigFox.
By transmitting directly to the cell network, you don’t need a gateway. This may be a good solution if you only need 1 or 2 sensor transceiver nodes as you save the cost of the gateway.
It’s an ideal way to monitor things such as bridges or train trestles that can be “out in the middle of nowhere.” We even have a GPS feature to help keep track of where the sensor is.
A direct-to-cellular sensor system is also useful for short-term monitoring of something like a bridge to make sure it is “healthy,” or cracks in an older building while construction is going on nearby.
With the configurability of the Leap system, you can fine-tune transmission intervals. For example, if an HVAC motor starts to heat beyond a certain level, you can opt to receive readings on a more frequent basis for closer monitoring.
Disadvantages of Wireless Cellular IoT Sensors
There is the cellular service charge to be factored in. This may not be much, depending on the transmission intervals you choose, but multiple transmissions daily can add up.
Cellular transmission takes much more battery power than a standard installation, so batteries will have to be changed more often. There are lots of variables that determine this, but it’s generally 1- 2 years vs. 5-7 for a standard Leap sensor transceiver node. However, with Leap’s modular, easy-to-configure design, our wireless sensor experts can work with you to maximize battery life for your specific needs. We can do things like:
Transmit only when your parameters are exceeded – which you can specify. Data will be stored so you can export it for review later, but real-time transmissions would only be for warning alerts.
Add a “heartbeat” transmission – basically a brief ping from the sensor so that you know it is still working and there are no alerts.
Reconfigure for an enclosure with two batteries instead of one, for twice the battery life.
Cellular service can go out. Even though it’s highly reliable, outages can occur. However, every Leap sensor has data logging capabilities, so readings are stored until a signal can be reestablished.
Wireless Cellular IoT Sensors Applications
Direct-to-cellular sensor transceiver nodes are extremely useful for monitoring in remote or hard-to-reach locations, where there is minimal or no staffing, or for quick installation for short-term monitoring. Examples include:
Plant Management: bag houses, HVAC units
Building Maintenance: crack monitoring, HVAC, flood
Structural Health Monitoring: remote structures (bridges, tunnels, etc.) either short or long-term monitoring strain, cracks, embankments