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Why Failover is Essential for Business Operations

Imagine not having backup for your personal computer or your computer system at work. Unimaginable? Perhaps, but many devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) do not have a backup option when their connectivity goes down during a network outage, which is why an automated failover solution is so critical.

Failover is defined as a backup operation that automatically switches to a standby network connection if the primary network fails or if it is shut down for servicing or other reasons. For example, if your Internet cable is accidentally cut in two by a backhoe down the street, or if your credit card processing comes to an abrupt halt, this is something your organization cannot afford or tolerate.

There is a solution. Wireless failover connectivity lets your business communications processes immediately switch from a disrupted wired connection to an always-on, low-cost standby network connection. In fact, the Digi SureLink™ platform offers a dual-SIM capability, so that if your router cannot communicate with the primary wireless network, the second SIM card will automatically establish and maintain a connection with the backup wireless network – which allows you to keep your wired and wireless network connectivity – and your staff and operations up and running.

>>Watch this brief   network failover solutions tutorial from Digi Key Electronics to make sure your business operations are always connected.

Big Data and IoT Team Up for the Gaming and Lottery Industries

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Online gaming and virtual gambling have risen significantly due to increased mobile accessibility, social media, technology advancements and expanded internet connectivity. Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are proving to be even more of a game changer for these industries by collecting large amounts of data, from a variety of gameplay data sources, while rapidly connecting and communicating to thousands of sites.

You may experience this IoT evolution when you are playing Words With Friends® on your smartphone with college classmates across the country, or when you play poker on your computer with complete strangers across the globe. Regardless of your gaming or gambling experience, we all know how critical real-time connection is when we are trying to win. Now translate those wins into $6 billion of revenue, and the stakes of rapid connectivity are significantly heightened like for the world’s largest slot machine manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) . With more than 400,000 point-of-sale devices in 100 countries, watch the video below to learn why IGT turned to Digi TransPort® LTE wireless routers to keep those bets and wagers flowing:

Selecting the Right Technology for Your Internet of Things Application

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Developing a successful Internet of Things (IoT) application starts with selecting the right technology for your product or project. The two videos below were created to get you in the know and on the right path in less than a few minutes each.

Mesh Networking Vs. Cellular Technology for IoT Applications

How do you choose between mesh networks and new LTE networks such as Cat 1, Cat M1, and NB-IOT?

IoT expert and Digi Chief Innovation Officer, Rob Faludi, explains the advantages and disadvantages of mesh networking and cellular networking, so you can identify the right solution for your application.

 

Choosing the Right Mesh Networking Technology for Your Application

If you’re still determining if mesh networking technology is the right solution for your application, Faludi, digs deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of mesh networking protocols specific to IoT applications.

When working with different IoT applications it is important to know the difference between point-to-multipoint networks and mesh networks, along with the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mesh networks like Zigbee, DigiMesh, and Thread.

Do you have a topic you’d like to see an Internet of Things expert cover? Let us know in the comments below.

What Are the Differences Between DigiMesh® and Zigbee® Mesh?

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Mesh networking is a powerful way to route data over an RF network. Range is extended by allowing data to hop node to node and reliability and resiliency is increased by “self-healing,” or the ability to create alternate paths when one node fails or a connection is lost.

One popular mesh networking protocol is Zigbee®, which is specifically designed for low-data rate, low-power applications. Digi offers several products based on the Zigbee protocol. Additionally, Digi has developed a similar mesh protocol named DigiMesh®. Both Zigbee and DigiMesh offer unique advantages important to different applications. The following chart highlights these differences:

Zigbee® Mesh DigiMesh®
Node types and their benefits Multiple: Coordinators, Routers, End Devices. End devices can sometimes be less expensive because of reduced functionality. Single: One homogeneous node type, with more flexibility to expand the network. DigiMesh simplifies network setup and reliability in
environments where routers may come and go due to interference or damage.
Battery Deployed Networks Coordinators and routers must be mains powered All nodes are capable of battery operation and can sleep. No single point of failure associated with relying on a gateway or coordinator to
maintain time synchronization.
Over-the-air firmware updates Yes Yes
Range Most Zigbee devices have range of less than 2 miles (3.2 km) for each hop. Available on XBee SX with range of up to 40+ miles for each hop.
Frame payload and throughput Up to 80 bytes. Up to 256 bytes, depending on product. Improves throughput for applications that send larger blocks of data.
Supported frequencies and RF data rates Predominantly 2.4 GHz (250 kbps) 900 MHz (Up to 250 Kbps), 868MHz, 2.4 GHz (Up to 250 Kbps)
Security 128-bit AES encryption. Can lock down the network and prevent other nodes from joining. Both 128 and 256-bit AES encryption. Can lock down the network and prevent other nodes from joining.
Interoperability Potential for interoperability between vendors. Digi proprietary
Interference tolerance Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS). 900 MHz: Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS). 2.4GHz: Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS).
Addressing Two layers. MAC address (64 bit) and Network address (16 bit). MAC address (64 bit) only.
Maintenance More sniffers and diagnostic tools available on market. Simpler addressing can help in diagnosing problems and setting up a network.

For more information on DigiMesh and Digi XBee click here.

Customer Showcase: Wireless Devices Around the World Rely on Digi

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Every day Digi works with customers around the world to deploy connected solutions that businesses rely on. From the ability to monitor device health to using data to make more informed decisions-connected devices are modernizing business operations. Here are a few of the many companies we are proud to work with.powerowners

PowerOwners | Solar Energy

How do solar energy providers  measure the effectiveness of their solar panel deployments? You’ll probably get a wide variety of answers depending on who you ask. PowerOwners saw this inconsistency in the solar industry as an opportunity to create a standard benchmark to measure the performance of solar assets.

The centerpiece of the system is the Deno Smart Sensor. The sensor measures sunlight and temperature to simulate an energy benchmark. It’s placed alongside solar panels, the Deno Smart Sensor is pictured to the right. Data is transmitted wirelessly by a Digi XBee PRO 900HP and collected within Digi Device Cloud. This service replaces the commonly used weather stations, which were difficult to deploy and provided inconsistent data. Read the full story here.

Powermat | Wireless Charging

powermatThere are few things more frustrating than a dead phone battery. Almost everyone relies on their smartphone to get through the day-whether it’s for business or entertainment.

Powermat developed a creative solution that involves wireless charging and Zigbee technology. Their mission? Ensure that smartphone users never have to worry about where keeping their device charged. It’s easy to use, requires no cables or outlets, and gives businesses a service to offer to their customers. Powermat is able to manage their global deployment of charging stations via the cloud since each charging network is IP-enabled with an XBee Gateway.

The Powermat stations can be found at large retail chains like Starbucks, a select number of universities, and airport terminals. Users can install the Powermat app on their phone so they can locate the most convenient location for their next charge. Learn more about the Powermat service here.

MicroPower Technologies | Remote Video Security Systems

css-inline-solveilUtility providers often have assets widely distributed across remote areas. Ensuring security of substations or monitoring weather conditions can be a costly endeavor. And, when millions rely on your company for power, an outage can have large consequences. MicroPower works with utilities to create an easy to install solution that gives energy providers the ability to ensure their customers have reliable power. A means to remotely monitor their sites also allows for faster troubleshooting and fewer unnecessary maintenance visits.

MicroPower Technologies’ solar powered video system is made possible by the Digi TransPort WR21. The wireless cellular router is easy to install and provides the connection needed to stream video to a central database that can be accessed by network operators. Click here to read more about this solution.

Read more about how Digi customers are inventing new business models and changing their respective industries, visit our customer success page.

 

ConnectPort TS 16 MEI Webinar Q&A

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As a follow-up to our webinar on the ConnectPort TS 16 MEI, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions that were submitted during the session. If you are looking to view the original webinar, you can access it here.

Does the device support TCP sockets or RealPort?
The ConnectPort TS family supports RealPort and Device Initiated RealPort connections as well as direct socket connections to the serial ports using TCP socket, UDP socket, SSH, TLS/SSL and RFC 2217.  This is configurable per serial port.

In the case of TCP and UDP socket connections, how do you identify each serial device?  

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 10.56.37 AM

Would you load the RealPort in the Guest Instance for VMware environments?
Yes, RealPort is installed in the Guest Instance, the method of loading it and using it is the same as it would be in a conventional server running the same OS.  There are no special instructions required to use RealPort in a virtualized server like VMware.

Driver Installation instructions are included in the Quick Start Guide:
http://ftp1.digi.com/support/documentation/90000848-88_E.pdf

What serial cables can be used with the ConnectPort TS 16 and 16 MEI?
The ConnectPort TS family uses the same pinout as the PortServer TS family. Cabling information for the products is on the product support page and a list of commonly used cables is available at:

http://www.digi.com/support/productdetail?pid=3019&type=cabling

Where can I get the RealPort driver and are there any costs for using it?
There is no cost for using the driver. It can be loaded on multiple machines and there is no license key required to install it.

RealPort Driver is available at: http://www.digi.com/realport

What power supply is used and does it support international voltage?
The ConnectPort TS 16 has an internal power supply that supports 100-240VAC 50/60 Hz.

The ConnectPort TS 8 has an external power supply that supports 110-240VAC at 50/60Hz.

Visit the ConnectPort TS 16 MEI product page to learn more.

Customer Showcase: Wireless for Today’s Connected City

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Every day Digi works with customers around the world to deploy connected solutions that businesses rely on. From the ability to monitor device health to using data to make more informed decisions-connected devices are modernizing business operations. Here are a few of the many companies we are proud to work with.

EMTEST | Public Transitcss-featured-emtest (1)
As city populations continue to grow and public transportation demand rises, public transit agencies are finding innovative ways to handle the influx of passengers. Implementing wireless technology at ticketing kiosks and on-board displays helps streamline operations while also helping to improve the overall rider experience.

EMTest, a technology solution provider for transportation, uses the ConnectCore® 6 as the engine that powers its Emlines system. The ConnectCore 6, based on Freescale’s i.MX 6 applications processor, is a compact module that provides engineers all of the features necessary to build unique wireless applications.

EMTest gives transit operators the ability to facilitate ticket sales more efficiently, optimize vehicle routes—and it provides passenger Wi-Fi. With the fare collection system tied into the rest of the operations team, riders are provided with information such as next stop, travel times, and transfer information. The data collected is also essential for more efficient fleet management.

Owlet Nightshift by Schreder | Connected LightingRoundabout at twilight
As cities deploy LED street lights to cut energy costs, they’re also turning to wireless technology for data collection and remote monitoring for their street lighting.

Utilizing Digi wireless technology, Schréder developed the Owlet lighting solution, which enables cities to retrofit out-of-date lighting infrastructure with long lasting intelligent technology. Within each light is an LED array along with a Digi XBee Zigbee module. The XBee radios create Zigbee mesh network-connecting all of the city’s street lights wirelessly. Data from each light is then sent to a single point, a cellular XBee Gateway, which then  connects to a cellular network.

The XBee Gateway allows the city to monitor and control lighting with Owlet’s web-based management tools. Also, municipalities don’t have to wait for a citizen to report an outage or check lights via scheduled inspections. The lights themselves can tell the city when they need to be serviced or replaced.

AddÉnergie | Electric Vehicle Chargingcss-inline-addenergie
Electric vehicles are a rapidly growing market, and with it, so has the need for charging. AddEnergie specializes in providing charging station networks for electric vehicles. The company provides the charging infrastructure for both the Electric Circuit and the VERnetwork™, the two largest charging networks in Canada.

AddEnergie uses XBee modules to connect stations throughout entire parking lots and a single gateway is used at each lot to enable cloud connectivity. In addition to relying on Digi wireless technology, AddEnergie uses the ConnectCard i.MX 28 as the brains of their system.

The system includes proprietary software, PowerSharing™ and PowerLimiting™, which interface with Digi products and notify the charging stations when energy should be lowered to help reduce costs.

To learn more about how Digi customers are changing their respective industries, visit our customer story page here.

XBee Takes Flight at NASA Wallops Flight Facility

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You may remember this post from last year sharing the upcoming NASA experiment involving XBee. Well, after a few delays (launching rockets is complicated!), XBee finally took flight. XBee-Launch-Space

Early in the morning on July 7, NASA launched a NASA Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket from their Wallops Flight Facility. Onboard the rocket was an experiment testing Exo-Brake technology. XBee was used to collect sensor data including temperature, air pressure, and 3-axis acceleration parameters.

NASA is considering Exo-brakes as a possible solution for returning cargo from the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting platforms or as possible landing mechanisms in low-density atmospheres. This was one of many tests used to analyze its effectiveness, but the first to incorporate an XBee connected sensor network. If you would like to read more about the Exo-brake, check out this article.

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We’ll have more coverage coming soon including video interviews with the engineers involved. In the meantime, you can learn more about the experiment in the articles linked below:

NASA’s Official Announcement on the Launch

Wireless-in-Space: How NASA Testing is One Small Step for Planetary Internet | Wireless Design Mag

IoT Tech Goes to Space with NASA | IoT Evolution

Have any questions about the launch or the technology involved in the experiment? You can reach us on Twitter at @XBeeWireless or comment below.

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