Wireless Data Transfer with Radio Waves

There are various options to transfer data wirelessly and radio waves are an established technology used both in the industry as well as in the everyday life. However, there are big differences in the different wireless data transfers and connected challenges to overcome. 
In the following the short link radio technology of Bluetooth is compared to the long range radio wave data transmission commonly used for IoT.  Maturix™, the wireless solution for smart concrete monitoring also uses an IoT network Sigfox for its transmissions.

BLUETOOTH DATA TRANSFER

Short Link Radio Technology

Bluetooth was invented in Sweden in 1989 to enable wireless data transmission. It is still commonly used in headphones, wireless keyboards, free-hand set in cars and other electronics. Short-link radio technology, later named Bluetooth, enables wireless connection over short distances using short-wavelength. The name Bluetooth goes back to a Danish King, based on the analogy to unite devices the way Harald Bluetooth united tribes of Denmark into a single kingdom.
Also in the industry, Bluetooth is used in several solutions, in particular for measuring devices and with its low power consumption, it is a popular technology. However, there are is a main challenges for Bluetooth transmissions:
Although Bluetooth replaces cables and enables wireless data transfer, it is still limited to short distances. The distance is limited from two to maximal 8-meter range. Thus, it enables a wireless connection but without a remote data collection as the sender and receiver need to be close to each other. 

This challenge is addressed by technologies using long-range radio waves, such as a LPWAN (low powered wide-area network). These networks enable true remote data collection accessible from anywhere via a cloud system. This technology reaches its limits when it comes to bigger data sizes, as it is optimised for small data transmissions.

COMPARISON

IoT networks vs. Bluetooth

  • Long range radio waves
  • LPWAN (low powered wide-area network)
  • True wireless remote data collection with access from anywhere
  • Optimal for small data sizes with low battery consumption
  • Short radio wave transmissions
  • Wireless but not remote data collection
  • Max. 8 meter distance to measuring point
  • Optimal for bigger data sizes

SUMMARY
Short and long-range radio waves both enable wireless data transmission. They both use radio waves: Short wave transmissions enable the transmission of bigger data but is limited by distance, whereas long radio waves cover larger areas but are challenged by large data sizes.

IN THE CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS

Optimal Data Transmission Technology

As remote data collection is an advantage for the construction industry with extensive sites and sometimes also isolated projects, long range waves are the optimal choice. Maturix™ uses the global IoT network Sigfox for its transmissions which uses long-range radio waves. Advantages are the stronger penetration compared to Bluetooth connection to enables true wireless data collection. Further, as the created temperature data consists of small data sizes it is not battery demanding.

Thus, for the application of monitoring the curing process of concrete an IoT solution exceeds a Bluetooth solution.

Concrete Pouring

The Maturix™ transmitter measures directly in the concrete structure with thermocouples. It sends the data wirelessly via radio waves to the cloud, which is accessible from anywhere using the web portal from any smartphone, tablet or PC. This enables to access the data in real-time independent from the distance to the concrete structure and the location. As the file sizes are small, it does not strongly demands battery while having a long range. In areas where the network coverage is limited, an optional gateway can be installed to ensure global connection anywhere.

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