Smartt mesh

Introduction

In recent times, mesh network has emerged as a leading choice for technology companies and end users. A preference for wireless networks, robust communication and minimum human intervention has made mesh networks an area of interest. The market is flooded with different mesh protocols, the most popular of them being the ZigBee mesh and the DigiMesh. However each protocol has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Maven's Smartt Mesh protocol has been developed in a manner to overcome the obvious drawbacks of ZigBee mesh. As a result, the Smartt Mesh is a lightweight, robust and more energy efficient protocol as compared to the ZigBee protocol. The Smartt Mesh protocol can be extended in various domains including smart lighting, smart metering, medical wearables, industrial automation, renewable energy management solutions and several other IoT application areas. It is a highly customizable algorithm and can be adjusted according to your particular needs.

The Smartt Mesh algorithm has been designed in a way to not only make it highly customizable, but also a far-reaching and energy efficient algorithm. Technologies used till now have included RF and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Internet support has been extended by the means of 3G, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and GPRS.

We have integrated a wide variety of sensors like motion sensors, heart beat sensors, pulse oximeters, accelerometers and light sensors. Devices integrated have been both battery operated and A.C. supplied devices. We have made the protocol interoperable with ZigBee devices as well.

Benefits

  1. Customizable hops for longer reach
  2. Over the air firmware upgrade without extra memory
  3. Various application areas
  4. Energy efficient
  5. Small data footprint

Features

  1. Supports up to 500 devices in single network
  2. Frequency agnostic, works on Sub1 and 2.4 GHz
  3. Self-healing and self-forming capabilities
  4. AES 128-bit encryption
  5. Code size less than 64KB
  6. 45mA peak current; 3.3V peak voltage
  7. 600 meter line of sight range
  8. Tens of kilometer in range with hops
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Comparison with ZigBee and DigiMesh:


Parameters ZigBee DigiMesh SmartMesh
Node type Coordinator, router and end device. Susceptible to single point failure. Single type of nodes. No single point failure. High reliability. Single type of nodes. No single point failure. High reliability.
Supported frequencies and RF data rates2 Supports 2.4 GHz at 250 Kbps and Sub1 GHz at 40 Kbps. Supports 2.4 GHz at 250 Kbps and 900 MHz at 150 Kbps. Supports 2.4 GHz at 250 Kbps and Sub 1 GHz at 200 Kbps.
Sleeping devices on batteries Only end device can sleep. All nodes can sleep. No single point of failure associated with relying on gateway or coordinator to maintain time synchronization. All nodes can sleep. No single point of failure associated with relying on gateway or coordinator to maintain time synchronization.
Over the Air firmware Upgrade (OTA) Supported. Requires external flash for smart metering solution. Not supported. Supported. Does not require additional external flash.
Protocol overheads and packet size 128 byte packet with 52 byte header. 76 byte of data per packet. Overhead not known. 128 bytes packet with 24 bytes header. 104 bytes of data per packet.
Memory foot print Typically 200+ KB. About half the size of ZigBee stack. Less than 1/4th of ZigBee stack.
Network topology Supports mesh network and point to point communication. Supports mesh network. Supports mesh network and point to point communication
Network size Typically 50 to 100 nodes. Dependency on device memory. Number of nodes is inversely proportional to the speed of communication. Not known. Suitable for large networks of more than 500+ nodes.
Number of hops Typical depth of 10 - 15 hops. Not known. Network depth of 50 hops.
Area coverage Up to 100 meters line of sight. Not known. Up to 600 meters line of sight. Tens of kilometres with hops.
Network features Self-forming and self-healing network. Not known. Self-forming, self-healing network with auto discovery mechanism.

Case studies

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Street lighting

RF modules that can control street lights are installed on each street light. Multiple street lights form a mesh network. A single gateway device can control up to 500 street lights. Using the gateway device we will be able to turn individual lights ON, OFF or dim them and also find out which individual light is faulty and requires maintenance. There can be multiple schedules that are customized according to time of day, user preference or special occurrence that will apply to lights that we wish to control. All of these control signals will be sent out by the gateway device and the RF module will execute it on the street light.


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Campus / periphery lighting

RF modules installed in lights integrated with motion and light sensors will work best for campus lighting. Lights in specific areas can be switched OFF completely while some other areas can have DIM. For example lights in the basketball court can be switched OFF completely after a particular time, however, the lights leading to hostels and dormitories should only be dimmed. Integration with motion sensors will ensure that if someone is walking on a particular path, then the lights on that path will be completely illuminated for their benefit. All of this can be achieved by installing a RF module on each of the lights, and a motion sensor on a single gateway depending upon location.

Home automation

Home automation would include finding the consumption of each electrical appliance in the house. BLE based control application on the smartphone would allow the user to control appliances like the A/C, lights and fans from inside the house. Internet connectivity will allow the user to remote monitor the appliances.


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Smart metering

Wireless RF connectivity can be extended to wide variety of utility meters like electricity, water and gas meters. A hand held unit or gateway unit is used to collect the data of the meters. As the meters are in a mesh network, a single point can be used to get data of multiple meters. The data transferred by the mesh consists of all the parameters that are supported by the meter. All of this data is uploaded to the cloud application for remote monitoring. This data can be used to find consumption patterns in different areas and different households.

Medical wearables

We have integrated a wide variety of medical sensors with our mesh protocol, like heartbeat sensors, temperature sensors and pulse oximeters. These sensors transfer data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Using the mesh protocol, all the data is collected and displayed on a single PC / tablet for easy monitoring. Thus one person can keep track of the health parameters of all the patients on one floor. The data can also be uploaded on the cloud application in real time, in order to maintain historic data for future reference.

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Industrial automation

RF modules can be installed on existing machines on the shop floor of any industry. These modules will help by communicating data wirelessly. No extra wiring will be needed. All the data can be remote monitored by collecting the data on a single gateway device and uploading it to the cloud application. Also solid metal obstacles can be overcome with the use of repeaters. The RF modules work on transparent mode, which means that the existing protocol of the machine will remain completely unaffected. Thus the mesh protocol is a perfect fit in an industrial setup.

Solar and wind energy farm monitoring

In renewable energy farms, it is very important to know the output and the health of the equipment. RF modules on equipment like solar panels and windmills will form a mesh network that will transfer the data of power generated by the equipment. As the solution is wireless, no additional cost for wiring will be incurred, and there will be no recurring cost from the point of view of maintain or replacing wires. Weather and climate will not affect the mesh network. All the data collected will be uploaded to the cloud application which will enable remote monitoring. The data will also be useful to find which equipment is not performing to its optimal output.


Learning platform for students

We have a development kit available that can be used as either a demo kit for companies or as a learning platform for students. The development kit consists of building blocks that can be used to make a M2M / IoT project. The kit consists of a development board and wireless RF modules. The development board has multiple analog and digital inputs and outputs. This helps you to integrate a wide variety of sensors to the board. Also the communication channel can be RS232, RS485 or TTL. Students of different branches like electronics, computer science, and information technology can use the kit to develop IoT based projects using their own ingenuity.

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