Answers to the 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.
Please find answers to some frequently asked questions below.
1. How to start using the IoTKey® products?
You can use our Select&Order service to select your first measuring set and send an order. Then, with help of the Quick Start Guide start your first measuring application. If you need more help or support with e.g. application or project specific planning and implementation, please don’t hesitate to contact us: sales.automaatio(at)lappgroup.com.
Select&Order, start here: https://www.epicsensors.com/en/orderiotkey/ »
For Quick Start Guide, visit: https://www.epicsensors.com/en/downloads/ > IoTKey®…
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 e.g. wide area coverage, robust and secure communication with AES-128 encryption and support from the LoRa Alliance®, a non-profit technology alliance of 500+ member companies around the world.
IoTKey® Transmitter WLT 310 is a LoRaWAN CertifiedCM product. Lapp Automaatio Oy is a LoRa Alliance® Member.
Read more: LoRa Alliance® web site: www.lora-alliance.org
3. What is the radio frequency, and do I need a license to use it?
In Europe LoRa technology uses the frequency 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 in e.g. Europe and Middle East. The 915 MHz transmitter is coming soon.
4. When will you have 915 MHz versions?
The 915 MHz transmitter version is coming soon. Technically the product is ready to be manufactured. Its’ certification process for US market is ongoing, and our production will start after completion of the process. We will inform the timetable separately.
5. What is the distance allowed between a transmitter and a gateway?
The LoRa transmission technology has typically several km range outdoors, and the signal also transmits well indoors (usually hundreds of meters) and even below ground. The maximum range is always depending 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 can be used.
6. How often measurements can 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 most of the typical use cases.
7. Does the alarm come immediately?
The alarm message is sent to the cloud service or to an Email address when the pre-defined 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 for 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.
* 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 a 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 back panel of the device. Optionally it can be connected to 4G mobile network, if equipped with a Mobile Data SIM card.
11. How to get the data produced by the IoTKey® to my own system?
There are two ways to integrate the IoTKey® data to your own system:
- You can use the ready-made integration interface of the IoTKey® Portal cloud service. This is a preferred way.
- Or the measuring data can be routed from the IoTKey® Gateway to other system by using the ethernet connection.
Additionally, you can flexibly connect the IoTKey® Transmitters directly to national/public LoRa® networks or to other LoRa® networks. The LoRaWAN® Certificate of the WLT 310 transmitter 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 LoRa® network. ABP (Activation by personalization) connecting is not supported.
13. I’m connecting to a public LoRa network with OTAA. Where do I get the parameters needed; Appkey, AppEui and DevEUi?
These are transmitters’ network parameters, which are set in production. They will be included in the device delivery, but you can have these also in advance, if needed, please add an email address to your order.
14. What kind of data and in what format does the transmitter send?
The IoTKey® Transmitter WLT 310 is using the LoRaWAN® specification. The specification defines the device-to-infrastructure (LoRa®) physical layer parameters & LoRaWAN® protocol. We can provide you with a document of the LoRa® communication payload and an example of parsing LoRa® message, if needed.
15. Is it possible to chain the transmitters with each other (mesh) so that some transmitters are functioning as repeaters for other transmitters and to gateway?
LoRaWAN® network architecture is deployed in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server. The end-devices are not communicating with each other, thus chaining or repeating between them is not possible.
Read more about the LoRaWAN® network topology: 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 this is related to time setup of the devices. If the measurements have a different timestamp than the IoTKey® Portal reception time, they won't 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 transmitter(s) and finally is correctly visible in the Portal views.
17. What is the price?
You can find the prices of some common IoTKey® measuring sets and gateway+portal packages in 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 we become your distributor?
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.