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

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 1, 2016 12:34:37 PM / 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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New Product Alert: HF-A21 High Performance Embedded WiFi Module - 802.11 b/g/n

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 4, 2015 12:06:16 PM / 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 an All-Inclusive Development Partner

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 20, 2015 9:52:42 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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Wi-Fi - High Performance (A11) Modules

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 6, 2015 9:33:55 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 3.3V operation, 802.11b/g/n, A11, access point, antennas, baseband processor, CE Certified, circuit board, configuration utility, Dial Switch, DIP, Ethernet, Ethernet MAC, ethernet to wi-fi, external antennas, FCC, Flash memory, General, high performance modules, Internal chip, IPEX/U.FL antenna connector, IPEX/U.FL connector, IPv4, IPv6, Linux Operating System, local chip antenna, Low Cost High Performance MCU, networking stack, power amplifier, Products, RAM memory, Remote Firmware, RF transceiver, RoHS compliant, router, Serial to Ethernet, serial to wi-fi, Serial UART, SMA antenna connector, SMA connectors, Smart Link, SMT, STA / AP / AP+STA Modes, surface mount, Wi-Fi, wireless firmware, WEP / WPA / WPA2 security modes, Wi-Fi modules, Wi-Fi protocol, Wireless, Wireless MAC, wireless modules

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The High-Flying A11 modules are design for high performance applications normally, using 802.11b/g/n, Ethernet, and local serial ports. The A11 is available in two formats – SMT (surface mount) and DIP (2x7pins). A11 integrates an Ethernet and Wireless MAC, a baseband processor, a RF transceiver along with a power amplifier. The on-board software includes a complete Wi-Fi protocol, configuration utility and networking stack. Applications include access points, routers, serial to Ethernet, serial to Wi-Fi, Ethernet to Wi-Fi bridging and many others.gc-hf-a11_1_1The A11 integrates all Wi-Fi functionality into a low-profile SMT or DIP module package that can be easily mounted on a printed circuit board. The different A11 modules connect to antennas using the local chip antenna (INT), external antennas through the standard IPEX/U.FL connector, or directly through the on-board SMA connectors.

Features:

  • Serial UART, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n applications
  • WEP / WPA / WPA2 security modes
  • Low Cost High Performance MCU
  • AP, Router, Bridge, converter applications
  • Includes all the protocol and configuration functions
  • Supports STA / AP / AP+STA Modes
  • Supports Smart Link Function
  • Supports Wireless and Remote Firmware Upgradeable
  • External IPEX/U.FL antenna connector option
  • Internal chip or SMA antenna connector options
  • Supports Dial Switch to Control Power
  • Additional Flash/RAM memory for applications
  • Compact SMT or DIP modules
  • Full IPv4 and IPv6 stack
  • Embedded and Flexible Linux Operating System
  • FCC, CE Certified
  • RoHS compliant
  • Single supply – 3.3V operation

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Ordering Information
Part Numbers / Description / Call for OEM volume pricing

GC-HF-A11-EXT A11 External IPEX/U.FL connector
GC-HF-A11-SMA A11 SMA antenna
GC-HF-A11-INT A11 Internal chip antenna
GC-HF-A11-EVAL A11 Evaluation Kit

GC-HF-A11-SMT-EXT A11 Surface Mount External IPEX/U.FL connector
GC-HF-A11-SMT-INT A11 Surface Mount Internal chip antenna
GC-HF-A11-SMT-EVAL A11 Surface Mount Evaluation Kit

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Join Us at Sensors Expo 2015!

[fa icon='calendar'] May 21, 2015 3:43:11 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in California, Events, General, Internet of Things, IoT, Long Beach, MEMS, Sensors, Sensors Expo, technology, Wi-Fi, Wireless

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Sensors 15_ variations#7_dates_0

 

 

 

 

When: June 10-11, 2015
Where: Long Beach Convention Center - Long Beach, CA
Booth #: 745

The market for sensors and related technologies is expanding at a phenomenal rate. With the convergence of MEMS, Wireless, Wearables and the Internet of Things, the sales of sensors in the U.S. alone are expected to climb to nearly $15 billion in 2016. With this growth, the importance of education and access to the latest technologies is critical. For 30 years, Sensors Expo & Conference has established itself as the nation's leading event focusing exclusively on sensors and sensor-integrated systems. Join us at the industry’s premier gathering to find the solutions for your present challenges while exploring sensing technologies that are driving tomorrow's solutions.

Conference Website: http://www.sensorsexpo.com

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Grid Connect Product Featured in Discovery Video - Sign Climbing

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 4, 2015 11:41:06 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Bridge 802.11, Discovery, Discovery Channel, Featured In, General, Industrial Wireless Access Point, Products, Video, Wi-Fi, wifi, Wireless

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We had one of our customers share this Discovery Channel video with us!

On the arm of the machine used to inspect highway road sign structures, they are using Grid Connect's Industrial Wireless Access Point / Bridge 802.11 b / g / n (Part # GC-IND-WIFI-AP).

How cool! Check it out by clicking here.

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February 2015 Newsletter – Link Round Up

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 27, 2015 8:14:59 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in business, business models, connected devices, connectsense, consumers, FIRST Robotics Competition, General, Grid Connect, Huskie Robotics Team, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT design, IoT platform, IWCE, IWCE Expo, Las Vegas, M2M, machine to machine, Napervile North, network range, Newsletters, NNHS, Perry Marshall, robotics, transmission of data, transmission range, Wireless

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Putting User Interface at the Start of Your IoT Design Process - How are your buyers going to interface with your product? This is one of the toughest aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) product design right now. Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them and options for connected devices are numerous. > Read More at GridConnect.com

Going the Distance: How Range Affects IoT Design - The network range required for IoT devices plays a surprisingly important role even in the smallest design decisions. After all, the transmission of data is at the core of IoT devices. Transmission range depends on the type of network used, the environment it will be used in, and the types of data being communicated. > Read More at Remote Magazine

Upcoming Event: What You Need to Know About the Internet of Things - When: March 20, 8:30am-12:00pm | Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV - Room N259 - IoT applications have the potential to transform every sector of business by allowing enterprises to take informed decision, optimizing the process, and supporting innovative business models. The combination of ‘low-cost’ connected devices with the need for data drives Internet of Things. Examine business opportunities in everything from M2M to green buildings to smart devices, explore how to create a wireless business ecosystem with IoT platform, and what limitations IoT might have technologically. > Learn More at IWCE Expo

Companies Help Animate Naperville North Robotics Projects - What is 6-foot 5-inches tall and can haul recycling totes and bins to the curb? For members of the Huskie Robotics Team at Naperville North High School, the answer is obvious. It’s their new robot. More than 70 students from Naperville North, as well as a handful of Naperville Central students, are building a tall, 120-pound robot as part of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition. The Huskie Robotics Team would not be able to function without the assistance of corporate sponsors such as Grid Connect. > Read More at Naperville Sun

What Do You Do When You're 100,000 Miles Away and Your Basement is Flooding? - Earlier this year, Perry Marshall, a revolutionary in sales and marketing, took a trip from Chicago to India. He had just gotten to his destination when he received a text from his ConnectSense Water Sensor that his basement was flooding. So what do you do when you're 10,000 miles away and your basement floods? Here's what Perry did. > Read More at PerryMarshall.com

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10 Internet of Things design considerations

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 6, 2015 11:25:24 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in antenna, Apple HomeKit, Bluetooth, cloud applications, communication, consumers, cost, Embedded Computing Design, Ethernet, FCC certification, Featured In, gateway, General, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT device, manufacturers, network, networking, networking technologies, power source, router, security, smart products, SSL, technology, Wi-Fi, wifi, Wireless

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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 customer while discovering new product use cases and applications that open them up to new revenue streams. When designing your first IoT device, there are 10 things to keep in mind...

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

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Power and Size

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 19, 2015 8:00:57 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in antenna connector, applications, battery, circuit board, connectivity, device, Ethernet, existing products, General, hardware, Internet of Things, IoT, IP, manufacturer, mating connector, modules, network connector, networking technologies, pin-header, PoE, power, power conservation, Power-over-Ethernet, power source, surface mount, technology, through-hole, wall outlet, wireless network, wireless technologies, White Papers, Wireless

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5. Power

Power considerations need to be made when connecting a product to the IoT. Products already using a wall outlet will not have an issue. Manufacturers of products not using a wall outlet will have to consider how their power source will affect their product’s design.

IoT devices running on batteries will have to make hardware decisions based on power conservation. There are also a variety of different types of batteries to be taken into consideration: alkaline, lithium (rechargeable) and coin. There are also AA, AAA, coin cell, C, D, 9V, or custom batteries to choose from. As noted earlier, wireless technologies have different power requirements based on use-cases. Once a manufacturer understands how long and how often a device will be connected and the wireless network is chosen, a properly sized and type of battery can be chosen.

Another source of power for Ethernet-based devices is Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). This technology is popular for low-wattage IP phones and security cameras. Recent advancements and new switching technology is pushing the wattage available through PoE to new levels, thus opening up new possibilities for more power-hungry applications and devices.

6. Size

Many manufacturers start testing the IoT waters by modifying their existing product designs to add networking technologies. Because these devices already exist, many early entrants into the IoT world fail to redesign the product to allow for its newly added connectivity. Fortunately, there are a number of compact modules available for networking technologies that will fit in a manufacturer’s existing products.

These small modules are different though. Some modules are surface mount, others through-hole or pin-header and some still use a specialized mating connector. Also, how the network connector or antenna connector are integrated into the product vary from module to module. Designers must consider the space they have available on their circuit boards and/or in the product’s enclosures to allow whatever technology selected to be used in existing designs.

10IOTDESIGNCONSIDERATIONS_BANNER

>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

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Apple Emerges As A Promising Internet Of Things Platform At CES 2015

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 9, 2015 10:34:50 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Apple, CES 2015, ConnectSense, connectsense, Events, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, HomeKit, Internet of Things, IoT, Las Vegas, smart outlet, tech, technology, Wireless

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The whole “Internet of Things” theme reached a fever pitch at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Many of the big tech players are trying to become the platform for how to connect together the growing list of devices with wireless technology inside of them–everything from your car to your thermostat.

Apple stopped officially exhibiting at CES back in 1992, but you could find the first batch of devices that are HomeKit certified, which is Apple’s protocol it announced last June for making smart home devices working safely and securely in iOS.

There were quite a “smart outlets” that basically allow you to control an outlet through your Apple product from iHOME, Incipio, GridConnect and iDevices.

Read more at Forbes or download the PDF now.

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