Wireless Connectivity: 900MHz, Wi-Fi, and BLE

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 1, 2016 11:34:37 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 900MHz, BLE, Bluetooth Low Energy, General, networking, Wi-Fi, White Papers, wifi, Wireless

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Deciding which type of wireless connection to implement in a device can be a cumbersome task. Each solutions allows for communication without sorting through an abundance of wires. The 900MHz, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless communication tools can be used to resolve limitations in budget as well as situations where wire placement is troublesome. None of these connections are necessarily any worse than the other, but some connections are better suited for certain environments and uses. The specifications and practical applications for each wireless connection are as followed:

900MHz: 900MHz is part of the UHF radio spectrum and allows for communication in a very local setting. This issue with radio waves is that they can be subject to some interference, so it may be beneficial to check for similar and existing frequencies in potential environments, but a majority of the time it won’t be an issue. The radio-enabled wireless connection can have more range than 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and has the ability to travel through walls and objects with much more success due to its low frequency. This wireless option is the most applicable if efficient and quick communication is needed. 900MHz can typically communicate with desired devices in under ten seconds.

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is a very practical solution if instantaneous communication is not a concern. Most devices that operate with Wi-Fi are able to operate while offline and can be updated periodically via the internet. Wi-Fi typically has a greater range than BLE, but consumes a good amount of power while operating. Setting up a Wi-Fi connection is also more tedious than it may be with BLE or 900MHz. If security is a concern, Wi-Fi has a more complex encryption than the other options. Wi-Fi removes the locational restraints and allows for greater command over a network of interconnected devices.

BLE: BLE connection is very useful when communication is occurring between multiple devices that are near each other. The speed and data transfer rates of BLE are not great, making it best suited for low-bandwidth use. BLE devices consume low amounts of energy; this can be beneficial for long-term use as operational costs will be very low. This connection assimilates very well with consumer applications of the Internet of Things.

Before any wireless connection is used in a device, there are several factors that need to be reviewed in order to maximize functionality. Manufacturers need to consider the context in which the wireless communication will be occurring. For instance, elements such as speed, signal range, reliability and accessibility, power consumption, security, and user-friendliness are some of the critical things to consider when analyzing applicability of a wireless connection.

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The Internet of Things and Networking

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 27, 2016 2:26:02 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in ConnectSense, connectsense, gateway, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, Nathan Rockershousen, networking, smart home, Wi-Fi, wifi

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to grow at a rapid pace as more devices are becoming connected. However, the IoT is rendered useless without a system of networking to support it. As WiFi-enabled devices increase in popularity, the demand for networking will expand substantially. IoT-based technology is disrupting the current networking market due to vast amount of data that is collected and the quantity of devices connected to the Internet. Companies will be expected to have extremely efficient networks that will allow for real time analysis. In addition to this, simply having faster Internet speeds is essential in supporting the rise of IoT devices.

One of the developing applications of IoT devices is found within the smart home. Smart technology devices require extremely fast networks. The IoT-enabled ConnectSense sensors and Smart Outlet rely on networking to enable machine-to-machine communication. Your ConnectSense products collect large quantities of data in order to provide you with accurate and efficient analysis. Improving the ConnectSense cloud is one of the ways Grid Connect is able to help you adapt to the implementation of IoT devices in your home. The best way to fulfill the necessity of having a fast network is by creating quicker router speeds and ensuring that WiFi is able to be accessed everywhere in the home with a more advanced networking framework.

A strong network is essential for the use of various IoT products, whether it’s a smart home device, a piece of wearable technology, or even if it’s for an industrial application. Managing your network can be accomplished with the use of a Grid Connect gateway device to improve USB, serial, or custom sensor connections. Gateways and other networking devices can help improve networking abilities in order to support the demanding nature of connected and data-driven devices. Finding a perfect network configuration will compensate for whatever quantity of data your IoT devices are bringing in.

It is clear that the impact the IoT is having on networking is only going to expand as the demand for a more connected and efficient world continues to increase. Having quality control of networks will allow for an improved customer experience. Creating networks that can handle a great deal of traffic and data will allow you to be prepared for the IoT’s disruption of the networking market.

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New Product Alert: HF-A21 High Performance Embedded WiFi Module - 802.11 b/g/n

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 4, 2015 11:06:16 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 2.4 GHz, 802.11b/g/n, antenna, AP, AP+STA, AT+, embedded module, Ethernet, Ethernet-to-WiFi Router/Bridge, General, HF-A21, high speed UART, Infrastructure Station, Products, soft access point, STA, surface mount, temperature, Wi-Fi, wifi, Wireless

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hf-a21-smt-int_a2_1500x1500Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.49.30 PM

The HF-A21 module is a compact high performance WiFi module providing 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz WiFi networking for a printed circuit board device design. With a rich feature set and an industrial temperature range, this surface mount embedded module is well suited for many applications even in harsh environments. A small footprint makes the HF-A21 easy to use in handheld devices.

Available with 2 antenna options, the HF-A21 module provides design flexibility to meet specific application requirements or can be used in existing device designs.

The interface with the HF-A21 is via 10/100 Ethernet and high speed UART. Using either the user-friendly web page or an AT+ instruction set, this module is easy to configure. The HF-A21 can operate in Infrastructure Station (STA) mode, Soft Access Point (AP) mode or AP+STA mode. Support for Ethernet-to-WiFi Router/Bridge mode networking is also provided.

HF-A11 Ordering Summary:

Part # Antenna/Connector Type
GC-HF-A21-SMT-EXT U.FL/I-PEX Antenna Connector
GC-HF-A21-SMT-INT Internal PCB Antenna

Call for Volume Pricing.

Support:
The knowledgeable and experienced engineers at Grid Connect provide complete technical support for the HF-A11 and the High Flying line of embedded WiFi modules. We offer phone support and on-line chat support during regular business hours.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 4.49.30 PM

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Grid Connect is a World Class Manufacturer

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 17, 2015 8:59:54 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 900MHz, BLE, Bluetooth, CANbus, chips, connection, Custom, development, DeviceNet, Ethernet, firmware, General, Grid Connect, hardware, I2C, Illinois, manufacturer, manufacturing, modbus, modbus tcp, modules, Naperville, network, NRE, packaging, private-labeled, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, software, SPI, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi

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Grid Connect Inc. is an ISO 9001-certified, world-class quality manufacturer. Our chips, modules and products are used by thousands of companies around the world to provide a network connection to their devices. All of our products are designed, assembled, programmed and tested in Illinois, USA. All final tests, firmware loading and packaging is done at Grid Connect in Naperville, Illinois.

All Grid Connect products can be customized and private-labeled to a specific customer’s requirements. It can be as simple as a software change to increase buffer sizes or as complex as a new hardware and software design. In all cases, Grid Connect will provide your company with a fixed price quotation for the NRE/development work and the production cost for the final product. We are happy to private label your product and ship it to you with the correct labeling and documentation.

Some networking and protocol technologies that Grid Connect specializes in, include:

  • Ethernet
  • Ethernet/IP
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • ZigBee
  • 900MHz
  • PROFIBUS
  • PROFINET
  • CANbus
  • DeviceNet
  • Modbus
  • Modbus TCP

Grid Connect also specialized in all serial standards, including:

  • RS-232
  • RS-485
  • RS-422
  • SPI
  • I2C


For more specific detailing of the various hardware and software options we provide, call the Grid Connect office at +1 (800) 975-GRID or fill out the form here.

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Grid Connect is an All-Inclusive Development Partner

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 20, 2015 8:52:42 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 900 MHz, Android, app, applications, apps, BLE, Bluetooth, build, CE, certifications, Cloud, connectsense, design, embedded, encryption, engineer, engineering, Ethernet, FCC, General, Grid Connect, hardware, iOS, layout, networking, OS, prototype, RoHS, security, Serial, smart phone, software, SSL, UL, web page, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi, Wireless

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A Complete Development Partner for Hardware, Software, Apps and Cloud Services

Grid Connect Inc. has one of the best engineering teams in the world. Our strong development team can quickly and effectively implement your partial or complete networking/cloud-based or embedded product. For more than 20 years we have been helping customers put networking technology into their products. In the past the focus has been Ethernet, serial and propriety networks. Now days, the focus is on wireless networks like Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth/BLE and 900 MHz.

A few of Grid Connect’s many development capabilities include:

  • Designing, layout and quick turn prototype hardware
  • Designing, programming and debugging embedded software
  • Designing and building iOS and Android smart phone and tablet applications
  • Designing, building and rolling out complete cloud/web applications
  • Embedded Linux or Real-time OS driver development
  • SSL security and hardware and software encryption option
  • Production of custom hardware
  • Embedded Web page development
  • Pre-loading of custom/customer firmware on to standard modules
  • Complete diagnostic testing of hardware and software prior to shipment
  • Work with test labs to complete FCC, CE, UL, and RoHS certifications
  • Custom labeling

 

The ConnectSense Case Study

With the ConnectSense brand of products, we took Grid Connect’s embedded networking expertise and put it to use in the consumer home automation/Internet of Things marketplace. In creating ConnectSense, we built a full end-to-end solution, which incorporated custom hardware, embedded Linux development, a custom cloud solution, and custom enclosures and sensors.

Since releasing ConnectSense to the market in 2013, we have continued to move our technology forward. With the ConnectSense Smart Outlet we have made great strides in easy setup and provisioning of devices, smaller and more affordable designs and development of apps for iOS. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet also represents the first generation of devices that are Apple HomeKit-enabled allowing for great features such as Siri voice control, end-to-end encryption and ease of use.

The ConnectSense product line allows Grid Connect to prove out its technology at scale and improve it over time. This allows us to then take that same great technology and help customers implement IoT solutions in their own products. Rather than starting from scratch, our customers benefit from our wealth of knowledge developing IoT products. This allows for quick time to market, lower cost implementations and less custom work required on projects.


To discuss development partner solutions for your company, please call the Grid Connect office at +1 (800) 975-GRID or fill out the form here.

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New Product Alert: CloudGate 3G/4G LTE Cellular Kits (Serial, Ethernet or WiFi)

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 13, 2015 8:27:32 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 3G, 4G, ablet, cellular, cellular networks, CloudGate, CloudGate Universe, Ethernet, gateway, General, GPS, hardware, home servers, LAN, Local Area Network, LTE, monitor, PCt, Products, Serial, smartphone, software, Wireless Wide Area Network, WWAN, watchdogs, wifi

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cgThe CloudGate Kits (Serial, Ethernet, WiFi) provided by Grid Connect are comprised of all the CloudGate components required to move local data to the cloud via 3G/LTE cellular data.

The CloudGate Gateway provides cost effective Local Area Network (LAN) to Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) routing with GPS functionality built in. The CloudGate base unit is a compact, reliable, secure, and flexible solution to move critical data to the cloud. The CloudGate Gateway supports both 3G and 4G LTE wireless data interfaces and is certified on all major US cellular networks.

The Gateway is also easy to configure locally or remotely from a PC, tablet or Smartphone. CloudGate automatically resolves common problems associated with wireless machine to machine connectivity. Built-in software and hardware watchdogs continuously monitor each component of the product and its connectivity to home servers. In the event an issue is detected, the product proactively takes steps to re-establish connectivity. All software and configuration images are protected with digital signatures and have dual rollback images that allow the product to revert to previous working settings if an issue is detected. All management functions are protected by certificate and/or password based security mechanisms and all management actions take place over hardware-assisted encrypted links.

The CloudGate Gateway is supported by the CloudGate Universe provisioning system. An automated cloud provisioning system means that each CloudGate can be set with its own custom configuration and image that is automatically loaded from the cloud when the unit initially connects to the Internet.

For more information, and ordering options visit our website by clicking here.

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Grid Connect is Connecting the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 22, 2015 8:25:54 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in app, Cloud, connection, connectsense, Consumer, custom engineering, General, Grid Connect, hardware, home automation, Internet of Things, IoT, knowledge, manufacturer, networking, OEM, serial to wi-fi, software, technology, white paper, White Papers, wifi

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Connecting products to the Internet of Things (IoT) is essential to manufacturers looking to stay competitive within their industry. Adding IoT capabilities gives consumers more features. It also allows the manufacturer to stay connected with their customers while discovering new product use cases and applications that open them up to new revenue streams.

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is a phrase used to describe making everyday objects “smart” by adding networking and connectivity to them. Grid Connect Inc.’s DNA has been IoT from the very beginning.

Grid Connect can supply your team with technology, custom engineering, expert knowledge and support at all levels of the IoT pyramid. We provide end-to-end solutions starting with your existing product and ending with a truly smart device.

All of our solutions are designed to fit your company’s needs and can include:

  • OEM solutions
  • Custom hardware
  • Custom firmware
  • Cloud development
  • App development

To further illustrate Grid Connect’s knowledge and abilities within the IoT marketplace, consumers can purchase our own product line of IoT-connected devices. ConnectSense is a family of wireless sensors for your home or business. Each sensor uses the Wi-Fi network in your location and communicates to the ConnectSense cloud application. The ConnectSense cloud stores data from your sensors and generates notifications when a rule you have set applies to your environment. For example, if the ConnectSense Water Sensor in your basement detects water, the sensor will communicate this change to the cloud application. From here, the cloud application will then determine what to do with this new information, such as send you a notification so that you can react appropriately.


If you are looking to add connectivity to your product, download “10 Internet of Things Design Considerations” and call Grid Connect at +1 (800) 975-GRID or fill out the form here.

 

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Sensors Expo 2015: Grid Connect contemplates the wireless factory

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 18, 2015 9:56:33 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, BLE, Bluetooth, Featured In, General, industrial networking, internet, Internet of Things, Mike Justice, Sensors Expo, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi

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Grid Connect recently moved into what could be considered the ‘consumer’ space through its ConnectSense subsidiary, which provides plug n’ play sensor solutions for a variety of applications through devices such as their recently released Smart Outlet. The parent company still focuses on more traditional embedded connectivity, but according to Mike Justice the industrial networking landscape has started to shift as factory operators become increasingly interested in wireless communications.

Justice admits that Wi-Fi is still a no-no in most plant settings because of the unknowns it introduces, but says that Bluetooth and ZigBee are making considerable strides as they provide no direct connection to the Internet and subsequent security issues.

Read more at Embedded Computing Design or download the PDF now.

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Where is the standard for the IoT standards?

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 8, 2015 10:45:57 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in API, Apple, BLE, Bluetooth, Cisco, General, Google, HomeKit, Intel, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, Nest, Network Standards, OIC, Open Interconnect Consortium, RFID, Rival Protocols, Samsung, security, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi, Works with Nest

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The rapid progression of device communication has resulted in a formidable roadblock to the Internet of Things (IoT). Too many rival standards have emerged from big company alliances and individual expansions. While companies like Samsung, Intel, and Cisco have united around the Open Interconnect Consortium, individual corporations like Apple and Google are beginning to make headway on their own API projects.

In order for the IoT to work, every device pair must have identical network standards. Without matching protocols, individual objects won’t be able to communicate. For example, in order to play music from a smartphone through a Bluetooth speaker, the phone must connect to the device over Bluetooth, and not through Wi-Fi. This can get far more complicated than just the internet connection. In addition to network standards like Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi, there are also application and security standards that must also be identical. Two devices that run on Wi-Fi still can’t work together if one runs on the Apple HomeKit protocol and the other is designed for Works with Nest.

Inevitably, the jumble of standards has drawn all sorts of lines in the sand as far as companies developing for the IoT are concerned. This process has begun to follow a similar mess that occurred with the development of radio-frequency identification (RFID). It took 15 years to develop a common protocol for the RFID market, because of competing corporate interests.

Without standards, there is no possibility for interoperability, but it is important that companies work together to come up with fewer, more universal standards. Reducing the amount of these protocols opens up more avenues for product developers, and allows the consumer more product choice, rather than having to be selective based on the protocols they are already using in their home.

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Grid Connect Introduces ConnectSense Handset Telephone with Ten-Number Memory Dial to the Smart Home Space

[fa icon='calendar'] Apr 1, 2015 4:00:09 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in April Fools, April Fools Day, ConnectSense, connectsense, cord, General, Grid Connect, joke, Press Releases, smartphone, technology, telephone, Wi-Fi, wifi

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NAPERVILLE, IL--(Apr 1, 2015) - A new easy-to-use telephone with ten number memory connectsensetelephonedial is now available for pre-order from Grid Connect. The ConnectSense Telephone features nine speed dial memory buttons that enable users to call frequently used numbers and a redial function to quickly dial the last outgoing number.

This reliable and affordable telephone is designed for those who want to avoid hassles and frills of smartphone technology and cordless handsets.

The ConnectSense Telephone can be placed on any convenient surface or mounted on the wall to save table space. This surface or wall mounting option provides quick and powerful access to make or receive calls in one room of your home. With its simple, corded design, users will never have to worry about misplacing their handset anywhere throughout their house.

Other features that make the ConnectSense Telephone unique include:

  • No need for Wi-Fi set up or programming of notification and call ringtones.
  • Plugs directly into your wall so there is no need for users to charge their ConnectSense Telephone before use.
  • Ten-number memory dial so users can quickly call frequently and recently used phone numbers.
  • Illuminated keypad with push button technology for use in darkly lit rooms of the house.
  • Ringer and handset volume control for personalized, user loudness customization.
  • No Caller ID means no need to stress about who is calling.
  • Mute button so users can silence their side of the conversation while in noisy rooms or while ridiculing the other party under their breath.

The ConnectSense Telephone is available now for pre-order at www.connectsense.com/telephone and will ship in the third quarter of 2015. Priced at $8.99, the ConnectSense Telephone offers tremendous value compared to smartphones and cordless home handsets, as it includes a cord.

 

About Grid Connect 

Grid Connect (www.GridConnect.com), an ISO 9001:2008 company, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of products that enable the Internet of Things, including the ConnectSense line of wireless sensors. Grid Connect can be found on Twitter @GridConnect and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/grid-connect. ConnectSense can be found at www.ConnectSense.com and on Twitter @ConnectSense

 

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