M2M is stand for Machine-to-Machine. It connected “your machines” to “your system” in an industrial internet without any human intervention. M2M Ethernet and/or serial solutions are increasing in popularity in industrial applications. By utilizing existing cellular networks, you can now network devices from locations where there are not existing networks. Devices can be networked or remote monitored with a much lower investment. Another benefit of M2M is it can be used in mobile applications. Instead of developing a wireless network such as satellite, you can use the cellular network to transmit your data efficiently and cost effectively.
Here are some of benefits you can get by utilize the cellular networks.
- Easy to setup
- None-stop communication with existing cellular networks
- Remote connectivity
- Cost effective
- Backup connectivity
Easy to setup
Once the devices are setup communications can begin immediately. In basic installations the user needs to configure the end device to talk to the Cellular M2M device. Afterwards the M2M devices is setup to establish a connection with the cellular network. This is normally done by either installing a sim card or providing the IMEI to the cellular provider. Nowaday, all the major cellular service providers offer the data plan specially for the M2M application.
If you’re looking to communicate via serial then you need to install the com port redirector, which is the same as the serial to Ethernet device server application, on your computer where it allow you to transmit your serial data to your now newly networked M2M end device.
Existing Cellular Networks
One of the major benefits is utilizing an already existing network built by the cellular networks. These cellular networks can span over a long distance and can give you connectivity even in mobile applications. You have 4 major providers in the United States. They use different type of technology and run on different bandwidths each giving distinctive advantages, speed, coverage and reliability.
- Verizon - CDMA
- AT&T - GSM
- Sprint - CDMA
- Tmobile - GSM
Which vendor also determines which device you select since the cellular modules inside them cannot be swapped.
Even in the most remote regions cellular coverage may still exist to cover those living in the remote regions. If you have a monitoring system does only needs to periodically send data then using a cellular network is a good option.
A good example is monitoring equipment used on drilling platforms in isolated areas. While most of these platforms are automated the company doing the drilling wants to know the status of the equipment and how much oil is being brought up from the ground. By using M2M they can transmit the status of the oil rigs as needed basis. By using this solution they no longer need to send out a technician to check on each piece of equipment which can be costly and time consuming.
Compared to running your own network lines utilizing the existing cellular carriers is far more cost effective. For example to run any type of wiring both inside and outside your building you would need to obtain permits, hiring civil engineers and contractors to install the wiring. In addition, to this cost the wiring must be maintained to ensure good connectivity. If something were to fail then the responsibility of repairing it would fall on you.
Instead by using existing cellular networks this cost is passed onto the cellular carrier. Since a cellular tower is utilized by more than one customer the cellular providers are usually quick to repair any connectivity issues. In addition, these carriers continuously improve their networks with newer technology to improve speed, reliability and connectivity.
Cellular connectivity can also be used as a backup connection. In mission critical environments where data must be received the use of existing cellular networks can be an option when other methods of data transport has failed. There are M2M devices available which are capable of managing the networks and will utilize networks depending on the availability. For example if your wired network starts to lose connectivity the M2M device can intelligently switchover to cellular and begin transmitting. This allows end devices to continuously send data without interruption. Furthermore, some M2M gateway provide dual cellular connections to create additional protection for your application.
When the wired connection is back up the device will automatically switchover to reduce unnecessary data usage over cellular.
Here are the industrial cellular gateway with above mentioned functions.