Integrating cellular technology is easier than ever with Digi XBee Cellular. Digi Chief Innovation Officer, Rob Faludi, gives a preview of what’s included in the Digi XBee Cellular LTE Cat 1 Development Kit and how to get started with the small, cost-effective, and fully-certified embedded modem.
New cellular protocols are set to roll out in 2017 to provide low power and low cost cellular connectivity for industrial Internet of Things applications. Digi Chief Innovator, Rob Faludi, explains both LTE-M and NB-IoT low bandwidth protocols by breaking down the differences between the two and sharing some examples of their use in industrial applications.
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.
Digi is hard at work developing the next-generation XBee module based on the Silicon Labs EM3587 chip, which will support the new IoT protocol, Thread. Due to Thread’s unique advantages like easy commissioning and robust mesh capabilities, the new module will be a valuable addition to the XBee ecosystem. With that in mind, we thought you might want to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re doing with this new technology.
Our development team out in Lindon, Utah created this informative demonstration showing a network comprised of both Thread and Zigbee devices and how they can all be controlled via a mobile application.
This is just step one in our development process so stay tuned for updates. Check out these resources to learn more about Thread:
A unique feature of the XBee 802.15.4 modules is the ability to perform digital I/O line passing. Essentially, this feature enables the user to toggle the state of any DIO pin on a transmitting radio and have that same pin on one or more receiving radios toggle their state to match the change. This functionality is an easy way to wirelessly control relays or any other switched equipment.
Note: DIO line passing can only be done with XBee 802.15.4 modules.
Components used in this tutorial:
Two XBee 802.15.4 radios
Two XBee Grove Development Boards
Two Micro USB cables
To get started with this example, configure the pin of the XBee where the button is connected as digital input, and configure the pin of the XBee where the LED is connected as digital output. You will also need to configure the first XBee to send a notification to the other XBee when the button changes state.
Let’s get started.
Here are the configuration settings that need to be written to the XBee modules. In this example, XBee A is the transmitting radio and XBee B is the receiving module (click image to enlarge):
More of a visual learner? No worries. Follow along with this video as we write the parameters described above to both of our XBee radios.
Bonus Tip: Boost the reliability of the XBee connection by setting a sample rate on the transmitting XBee (Parameter: IR). If there happens to be interference while the data is being transmitted, it might not be received by XBee B. Setting a sample rate will ensure the change of state is communicated by the following sample rate packets.
Have the radios all set and ready to go? When the button connected to the the transmitting XBee is pressed, the LED of the receiver will light. Cue the drum roll….
If the application requires multiple receiver nodes, the change of state can be sent as a broadcast. To do this, modify the destination low address to “FFFF” on the transmitting radio. Note that this concept of DIO line passing is not specific to only pin 4, it can be applied to any DIO pin on the XBee 802.15.4 module.
Rob Faludi, Digi’s Chief Innovator, was onsite for the launch of the first XBee network into space. The successful test of the wireless sensor network took place at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch is part of NASA’s effort to determine the effectiveness of Exo-Brake technology and introduce wireless technology into their designs. As this was the first XBee network to reach space, we had to capture it on video.
Learn more about the experiment and see photos in these related posts:
One of the most buzzworthy commercials of Super Bowl XLIX was Bud Light’s Real Life Pac-Man spot for the #UpForWhatever campaign. The advertisement features a life-sized Pac-Man game where a seemingly unaware contender, Riley Smith, is challenged to munch pellets while being chased by ghosts Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.
Here’s the commercial in case you missed it:
The Twitterverse thought that it was awesome and most people wanted to try the game out for themselves.
“Real life Pac-Man! A million high fives to the first bar to make that a regular thing in their establishment.” –@mattlindner
“Can real life Pac-Man be a thing with permanent game sets around the world?” –@DishNation
So, how real was real life Pac-Man? Is it be a game that you could really try in the future? Bud Light states that Smith’s participation was 100% organic. They say it was a live event, a real person, a real game board, all captured in real time. While we’ll leave Smith’s participation and the authenticity of the event up for debate, we can tell you that the game board itself was absolutely real. Bud Light and partners utilized Internet of Things technology to bridge digital and physical worlds and bring the Pac-Man game we all know and love to life.
Rick Galinson and Legacy Effects of Los Angeles, the same shop that provided Jurassic Park, Iron Man and Terminator effects designed the ghosts for the interactive game board.
Each roller-skating ghost costume is lit with about 4,000 LEDs, animated by a tiny open-source computer, the Parallax Propeller QuickStart Board, that communicates using Digi International’s tiny radio module, an XBee-PRO 802.15.4. The remote operator uses a laptop and another XBee module to send commands for the ghost’s flashing sequences.
“With the pressure of over 100 million viewers and a multi-million dollar campaign resting on these electronics, the Propeller chip from Parallax coupled with an XBEE PRO from Digi was an easy choice,” Galinson, SPFX Designer, said. “They performed flawlessly, are easy to implement and will remain my controller and communication products of choice for years to come.”
The technical details of the project had to be as straightforward as possible given short deadlines. Rob Faludi, Digi International’s Chief Innovator and author of Building Wireless Sensor Networks explains, “XBee radios are popular with artists and industrialists alike. They simplify radio communications between devices and the Internet, so critical projects can meet their deadlines without requiring extensive engineering efforts. There’s certainly no postponing the Super Bowl, so XBees were a great choice to ensure this project came off without a hitch.”
A total of five ghost costumes were produced with one serving as a backup. It took about twelve people to assemble the costumes in time for the commercial. Be sure to get a close look at their eyes, which exhibit the original video game character and move with the roller-skating ghost’s movement. Jon McPhalen’s Spin/ASM WS2812 driver figured prominently as a key source code object for this project.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the game and event coming together:
“It’s now easier than ever with IoT technology to create mesmerizing digital experiences in the physical world. We’re not only seeing this in entertainment with Bud Light’s Pac-Man game, but also commercially with connected solutions for energy systems, transportation monitoring, medical care and even municipal street lighting, Faludi said. “XBees can be a power-up for almost any connected device project.”
So, to answer a question that may be burning in many fan’s minds: yes, it’s totally possible that you too could be running from Blinky the ghost in real life (IRL). Maybe coming to a bar near you? We’re not sure. But one thing we’re positive about is our digital and physical worlds will continue to come together to create these incredible dream-like experiences; both for fun and entertainment and for solving real-world problems.
As wireless networks become more and more ubiquitous, so does the need to deal with noisy RF environments. This problem is especially relevant for businesses that depend on reliable communications for their operations and can’t risk losing critical data.
This is where the Digi XLR PRO comes in. Using patent-pending Punch2 Technology, this 1 watt, 900 MHz radio, punches through noise and achieves exceptional link quality at long distances– even in the most difficult RF conditions. We’ve even tested this radio and established a link at 150 miles, one of the limiting factors being the curvature of the Earth (more about that soon)!
Enough talking, check out the video below to see what the Digi XLR PRO is all about.