You may have heard about the new integrated cellular modem gateways available as options on some of our dataloggers. But, do you know what these options really offer, and how they can help your data communication needs now and for decades to come? In this article, we’ll provide you with the answers to some questions you may have.
The CR300 and CR310 dataloggers are now available with integrated cellular modem gateways—perfect for use in your measurement and control applications. Last year we released the -CELL200 option for these two dataloggers. We have recently released the -CELL205 option for the CR300-series dataloggers, and the -CELL210 option will be released soon.
Our first offering, the -CELL200 option, is suitable for use in countries where 3G networks are not sunsetting. Please note that this option is not compatible with the Verizon cellular network.
The -CELL205 option is intended for use in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This option offers 4G LTE cellular modem technology with 3G fallback. -CELL205 is compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, and other cellular providers.
The -CELL210 option is designed for use in the United States only on the Verizon 4G LTE network.
Later this year, we plan to release datalogger models that are designed for use in other countries. We are also developing stand-alone cellular 4G LTE and 3G modems for release later this year.
Unlike other IoT (Internet of Things) devices that tout low power by shutting their modems off while they are not in use, Campbell Scientific cellular modem gateway devices are truly low-power devices. When the integrated modem is idle (not transmitting or receiving data), the modem adds just 8 to 20 mA on average to the CR300's current drain when it is asleep. In contrast, competitor devices run on average at 65 to 95mA when in this same state.
To transmit and receive data, Campbell Scientific cellular gateway devices use, on average, 75 to 105 mA. This is well below the average of other industrial cellular gateway devices that use 230 to 300 mA.
Of course, if you need to, you can still conserve those extra milliamps of power using CRBasic instructions or by configuring the schedule settings in the cellular modem integrated datalogger via the Device Configuration Utility.
Do you need to communicate with your CR300 or CR310 datalogger, but the integrated modem is idle? Not a problem. The internal cellular gateway device is still responsive, and you can communicate with your datalogger immediately. You don’t have to wait for the modem to power up and connect to the cellular network before talking to it.
You can control Campbell Scientific integrated cellular gateway devices in one of two ways:
SetSetting("CellEnabled", True) 'Cell modem is enabled, True = enabled, False = disabled SetSetting("CellAPN", "I2GOLD") 'APN string/setting SetSetting("CellPDPPassword", "ts940sat") 'PDP Cell Authentication Password. Not needed with my cellular account APN SetSetting("CellPDPUsername", "ag1t") 'PDP Cell Authentication Username. Not needed with my cellular account APNStore it:
Sample(1, Settings.CellUsageToday, FP2) Sample(1, Settings.CellUsageYesterday, FP2) Sample(1, Settings.CellUsageMonth, FP2) Sample(1, Settings.CellUsageLastMonth, FP2)Do something with it:
cell_rssi = Settings.CellRSSI 'read RSSI (signal strength) from tower connected to cell_todays_usage = Settings.CellUsageToday 'usage reported in KB cell_yesterdays_usage = Settings.CellUsageYesterday 'usage reported in KB cell_this_months_usage = Settings.CellUsageMonth 'usage reported in KB cell_last_months_usage = Settings.CellUsageLastMonth 'usage reported in KB cell_info = Settings.CellInfo 'Cell Info.
Verizon has announced that, as of mid-2018, it will no longer activate 3G devices on its network. Furthermore, by the end of 2019, Verizon will stop supporting 3G devices. (2G technology was sunset in 2016.) We anticipate that other cellular network providers will soon follow suit.
If you are looking for technology that will be supported for more than a decade, we recommend using 4G LTE products such as our new integrated and external cellular modem gateways. Until technologies such as 5G are fielded, trialed, and scheduled for scaled deployment (sometime after 2020), 4G LTE technology will be the primary technology supported by the major network carriers. It is our estimate that 4G LTE technology will be the standard for at least the next 10 to 20 years for fielded applications and installations.
In addition to our new hardware options, you may be interested in the new, low-cost cellular data service plans we offer for our cellular modems. We provide the customer support, so you don’t have to work with a cellular carrier for your modem provisioning and data plan subscription. To learn more, visit our Cellular Communications page.
If you have aging 3G equipment, we recommend that you upgrade to one of our 4G LTE cellular modem gateway options. These options have the low-power performance, flexibility, ease of use, and reliability that you have come to expect from Campbell Scientific products. For additional convenience, take advantage of our competitively priced cellular data services.
Do you have questions about cellular options that weren’t answered here? Post your questions below.