Choosing a Wireless Monitoring System for your application

What do you look for with Wireless Monitoring Sensors used for Remote Equipment Monitoring?

FMS Integration LLC does a Wireless Monitoring System Breakdown to help share our knowledge with Environmental Wireless Systems.

A wireless IoT sensor system is one of many critical tools for your environmental monitoring.

Over the years, wireless sensor monitoring has become much more of a viable option.

Wireless Temperature Monitoring Sensors are deployed in the Following Applications:

  • Data Closets
  • Server rooms
  • Data Centers
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Archives
  • Museums
  • Laboratories

Wireless Sensor Types:

Today, users have options on sensor types with wireless sensors.

  • Temperature
  • Temperature and Humidity
  • Differential Pressure
  • Leak Detection
  • Airflow
  • Analog Readings
  • Digital Signals (Dry Contacts)
  • RFID Location

How long does the sensor battery last?

Battery Level Gauge at 80 Percent

Battery life can be a high cost if the battery needs frequent replacement.

In this case, the gateway should alarm on a low-level or depleted battery.

10+ years ago, distance and battery life were not ideal.

  • WiFi: These sensors run the battery down the fastest (4 – 12 months on average life)
  • 400 MHz: 2 – 4 year span with a single battery
  • 900 MHz: 2 – 10 year span with a single battery
  • 1.5V Lithium ION Battery – AA cell size ($2.75/Battery Avg Cost)
  • 3.6V Lithium ION Battery – AA cell size ($9.75/Battery Avg Cost)
  • 3.0V Lithium ION Battery – 2032 Coin cell size ($0.95/Battery Avg Cost

What Wireless sensor frequency can you use?

418MHz, 916MHz and 2.4GHz Frequencies used in North America

In general, sensors that use a higher frequency get less distance overall.

  • Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz: Up to 100ft (30.48m) line of sight transmission
  • WiFi 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz: Poor transmission through obstructions (crowded network)
  • 400 MHz: Up to 100ft (30.48m) line-of-sight transmission
  • 400 MHz: Poor transmission through/around obstructions
  • 900 MHz: Low wattage (0.1w) up to 600ft (182.88m) line-of-sight transmission
  • 900 MHz: Good transmission through/around obstructions

How is the Sensor data sent to the Wireless Gateway?

Temperature Sensor Frequency Transmission

Equally important is how the sensor data transmits to the base unit.

  • WiFi 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz: The sensor is a node on the network
  • WiFi means you are probably using a network maintained by IT
  • IT could scan the web for threats or cyber security concerns  
  • 400 MHz – 900 MHz: In general, use a proprietary broadcast signal
  • Segregated wireless network traffic is not part of the IT network

The time between transmissions from temperature sensors

Analog Clock showing hands with no munbers

How often does the sensor send data? In general, this point does not come up till later in system design conversations.

Interval requirements might be a deal-breaker when every 60 seconds is needed, and the sensor sends values every 5 minutes.

  • Sensors can vary from every 10 seconds to once every 5 minutes

Is the system to be Standalone, Integrated or both

Wireless Standalone and Integration Icons

Nonetheless, no one wants a wireless system with limited capability.

When starting, a system that can send email notifications gives you initial alarm updates while integrating to another platform.

You can leave the email notification enabled while your other system handles alerts if you want redundancy.

Then looking at system integration, open protocols are essential to the selection.

  • Wireless temperature monitor that supports trending of data
  • Easy to add sensors to an existing system
  • Email notification
  • System integration such as Modbus, BACnet, and SNMP
  • In addition, it supports multiple sensor types

 

Systems Integration with wireless technology.

Furthermore, having open protocols allows your system to expand.

Open protocols such as Modbus, BACnet, and SNMP open up the flexibility of your wireless system to communicate to multiple platforms.

Server using Open Protocols Modbus, BACnet, SNMP

Wireless Sensor Manufacturers

RLE Falcon WiNG Wireless Monitoring

RLE Technologies logo with product icons

RLE is located in Fort Collins, CO, manufacturing products for over 30 years.

Hardware-based solutions that do not require third-party software or servers.

They started making their wireless sensors years back, the WiNG Wireless series.

Wireless sensors communicate to the RLE Falcon WiNG-MGR. This Solid-State gateway can be used as a Stand-Alone or Integrated back into Monitoring Systems.

Multiple sensor types to choose from Temperature, Temperature and Humidity, Leak Detection, Differential Pressure, and more.

FMS Integration LLC is an authorized reseller of RLE Hardware.

Frequency: 900 MHz and 868 MHz signals, Battery: 3.6V Lithium (AA style cell)

WiNG Wireless Sensors

  • WiNG-T Wireless Temperature Sensor
  • WiNG-TS Wireless Temperature and Humidity Sensor
  • WiNG-RTD Wireless Transmitter for 1K Ohm platinum RTD
  • WiNG-THRM Wireless Transmitter for 10K-2 Thermistors
  • WiNG-CO2 Wireless Carbon Dioxide with Temperature and Humidity
  • WiNG-LD Wireless Leak Detection
  • WiNG-DAP Wireless Differential Pressure Sensor
  • WiNG-DI Wireless Digital Input Sensor

ACI High-Performance Sensors

Automation Components, Inc company logo showing ACI

Automation Components, Inc (ACI) has been in business since 1991, located in Middleton, WI.

Designed and manufactures building automation sensors for the HVAC industry.

Broad portfolio of sensors covering Gas Detection, Current Sensors, Power Meters, Pressure Sensors, Temperature Sensors, and Humidity Sensors.

High-quality standards for all products manufactured in the USA.

ACI Wireless Temperature Sensors

  • WT2630 Wireless Room Wall Mount Temperature
  • WH2630 Wireless Room Wall Mount Relative Humidity / Temperature
  • OST2630A Wireless Outside Air Temperature
  • FT2630A-02 Wireless Immersion Temperature
  • DT2630A-06 Wireless Duct Temperature Sensor

Frequency: 900 MHz, Battery: 3.0V Lithium

BAPI HVAC Wireless Sensors

BAPI Company Logo with sensors for HVAC/R

Building Automation Products, Inc (BAPI), headquartered in Gays Mills, WI.

BAPI has been manufacturing sensors for over 25 years. Their products are 100% tested to ensure hardened reliability.

The wireless sensor line uses a 418 MHz signal.

Sensors are designed for Room Temperature, Duct Temperature, Immersion, and Outdoor Air Temperature Monitoring.

BAPI Wireless Temperature Transmitters

  • Wireless Room Temperature Transmitter
  • Wireless Duct Temperature Transmitter
  • Wireless Immersion Temperature Transmitter
  • Wireless Outside Air Temperature Transmitter

Frequency: 418 MHz, Battery: 3.6V Lithium

RF Code Asset Management and Environmental Monitoring

RF Code is an Austin, TX-based company that makes wireless sensors or tags used in data center environments.

The tags can be used for asset management for equipment to the rack level.

Broadcasting an RFID to readers pinpoints the location of the devices.

Small form-factor sensors that can monitor Temperature, Humidity, Door Sensors, Fluid Detection, Differential Pressure, and more.

They offer a server-based solution with asset management software that delivers reports and alarms.

Frequency: 433.92 MHz, Battery: CR2032 Coin Battery

RF Code Wireless Tags

  • R135 Fluid Detector
  • R156 Temperature & Humidity Sensor
  • R120 Door Sensor
  • R151 Tethered Temperature Sensor
  • R160 Differential Air Pressure Sensor
  • M171 Durable Asset Tag

 

Given these points, what data points do you want to collect?

Many of the manufacturers offer solutions for integrating that data into other systems.

It is important to realize, Line-of-sight from the sensor to the receiver is key to avoiding dead spots.

WiFi 2.4 GHz – 5 GHz commonly uses your company’s network.

Network-based sensors can potentially look like a cyber threat.

Being able to add and replace sensors quickly makes maintaining a system much more manageable without contacting your vendor all the time.

Do you want to have a single receiver or gateway to limit the amount of IP nodes on your network?

Will you want to integrate your wireless solutions into another monitoring platform?

We understand not all wireless applications are the same. Having flexibility and control over your wireless platform is critical to saving money.

If you would like to discuss an application, please feel free to contact us at FMS Integration LLC.