Answers to IoTKey® questions
The IoTKey® system provides a reliable and flexible way for making your sensors and measurements wireless. With the LoRaWAN® communication it offers long range, low power wireless data communication with excellent interference immunity, even in demanding industrial conditions. Together with our IoTKey® Transmitter, IoTKey® Gateway and the cloud-based web IoTKey® Portal you can get a complete remote monitoring system up and running in just minutes.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about our IoTKey® system.
1. How do I start using IoTKey® products?
You can use our Select & Order webservice to select your first measuring set and send an order. Then, with the help of the quick start guide, you can start measuring in your application. If you need more help or support, for example with the application or project specific planning and implementation, please do not hesitate to contact us at epicsensors.automaatio(at)lappgroup.com.
- The quickest way to get your IoTKey® system up and running, is to order the system from the Select & Order website.
- For the quick start guide, visit our downloads section and choose IoTKey® - products and services.
2. What is LoRa?
LoRa is the acronym for Long Range Radio. The LoRaWAN® specification is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks – as part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
LoRa offers for example, wide area coverage, robust and secure communication with AES-128 encryption and support from LoRa Alliance®, a non-profit technology alliance of 500+ member companies around the world.
Our IoTKey® Transmitter WLT 310 is a LoRaWAN CertifiedCM product and Lapp Automaatio Oy is a LoRa Alliance® Member.
Read more about LoRa Alliance® at their website: www.lora-alliance.org
3. What is LoRa's radio frequency, and do I need a license to use it?
In Europe LoRa technology uses the frequency of 868 MHz. This is a toll-free and license-free frequency in Europe. Different LoRa frequencies are defined for each continent and/or nation. For example, in the US the LoRa frequency is 915 MHz. Currently we produce 868 MHz products which are used for example in Europe and the Middle East.
5. What is the distance allowed between a transmitter and a gateway?
The LoRa transmission technology has typically a range of several kilometer outdoors. The signal transmits well indoors also (usually hundreds of meters), even below ground. The maximum range always depends on the local circumstances, so it is not possible to give an accurate answer. To optimize the range, the transmitters can be re-positioned, some communication parameters changed, or special antennas used.
6. How often can measurements be done?
The minimum measurement interval is 5 seconds. The interval is limited (5 s … 8 h) to optimize the technical implementation for low power applications and requirements for the most typically used cases.
7. Is the alarm message sent immediately?
The alarm message is sent to the cloud service or to an email address when the predefined limit break is measured (according to the normal measuring interval). This message, however, does not include measurement information. The measurement package is sent separately.
8. How many sensors can be connected to each transmitter and what type can be used?
There are three inputs in each transmitter:
- Two inputs for temperature measuring sensors; RTD (Pt100 or Pt1000) or various thermocouple sensor types or for measuring linear resistance.
- One input can be configured for analogue voltage or current input (e.g. pressure, vibration, level sensors), or it can be used for a humidity sensor, which is powered by the transmitter.
9. What is the battery lifetime?
The usual battery lifetime, in a temperature measurement in normal conditions and room temperature, is at least 1 to 2 years with high quality batteries. For critical applications the transmitters can be equipped with several or higher capacity batteries.
The battery lifetime depends on the measuring interval configuration, the number of connected sensors and signal damping circumstances*. Also, ambient temperature and its fluctuations may affect the battery lifetime.
* The transmitter uses ADR (Adaptive Data Rate) mechanism to continuously optimize the airtime and data rate, affecting the battery lifetime and network capacity. Especially simultaneous effect of, both physical distance, and large obstacles between antennas, will automatically lead to an increase in the transmitter data rate parameter spreading factor, which means using more airtime and more power, to produce the signal needed.
10. How to connect the gateway to internet?
The IoTKey® Gateway can be connected to ethernet by the RJ45 port (E-NET) on the device's back panel. Optionally it can be connected to the 4G mobile network, if equipped with a mobile data SIM card.
11. How to get the data produced by IoTKey® into my own system?
There are two ways to integrate the IoTKey® data to your system, additional info for both on request:
- You can use the ready-made WebHook integration interface of the IoTKey® Portal cloud service. This is the preferred way.
- Or the measuring data can be routed from the IoTKey® Gateway to other systems by using Modbus-TCP over the ethernet connection.
Additionally, you can flexibly connect the IoTKey® Transmitters directly to national/public LoRa® networks or to other LoRa® networks. The IoTKey® Transmitter WLT 310 is LoRaWAN CertifiedCM, which guarantees the interconnectivity.
12. Does your transmitter use OTAA or ABP to connect to the network?
IoTKey® Transmitter uses OTAA (Over the Air Activation) to connect to the LoRa network. ABP (Activation by Personalization) connection is not supported.
13. I am connecting to a public LoRa network with OTAA. Where do I get the parameters needed; Appkey, AppEui and DevEUi?
They are the transmitter's network parameters, which have already been set in production. They are included in the device's delivery, but can also be sent to you in advance, if you have requested it in your order and given an email address.
14. What kind of data and in what format does the transmitter send it in?
The IoTKey® Transmitter WLT 310 uses the LoRaWAN® specifications. The specifications define the device-to-infrastructure (LoRa) physical layer parameters & the LoRaWAN® protocol. If needed, we can provide you with a document of the LoRa communication payload and an example of parsing the LoRa message.
15. Is it possible to chain the transmitters with each other (mesh), so that one or more transmitters function as repeaters for the other transmitters and the gateway?
The LoRaWAN® network architecture is deployed in a star-of-stars topology in which the gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server. The end-devices do not communicate with each other, and thus chaining or repeating between them is not possible.
Read more about the LoRaWAN® network topology at https://lora-alliance.org/about-lorawan
16. Everything is set up, but I cannot see any measurements in the IoTKey® Portal views, What can I do?
Most probably it is related to the time setup of the devices. If the measurements have a different timestamp than the IoTKey® Portal reception time, they will not be visible in the portal views.
To correct this gap, the IoTKey® Gateway time should be set to "Time Zone = UTC". This is done in the MultiTech Gateway UI. Please ask for further guidance. The IoTKey® Portal adjusts to the computer's time zone and presents all views accordingly.
NOTE! It may take several minutes before the corrected time zone information is communicated down-stream to the transmitter(s) and is finally correctly visible in the portal views.
17. What is the price of the system?
Prices of some common IoTKey® measuring sets and gateway + portal packages can be found at our Select & Order web service. For other prices, please contact sales.automaatio(at)lappgroup.com.
Select & Order, start here: https://www.epicsensors.com/en/orderiotkey/
18. Can my company become a distributor of IoTKey® products?
We are always willing to discuss your local market situation and possibilities of a dealership. Please contact our Export Manager, Mr. Markus Saarela, markus.saarela(at)lappgroup.com for more information.