The IoT communication challenge
IoT is a fragmented market where the entry barrier for realising an end to end solution is high. IoT solution providers are capable in delivering the required information to the end users through different applications but getting sensor devices connected to the network is still a major bottleneck. Many IoT ecosystem players do not provide domain expertise in wireless networking or serial connection for sensor devices, and it is a demanding task to design and realise the communication network, especially when the operations start scaling into greater numbers of deployed devices.
The Synap IoT Network oveview
The Synap IoT Network consists of:
- A Synap Modem with a serial connection port (RS422/485) for the sensor. The MODBUS protocol is supported. The modem connects the sensor to the Synap IoT wireless network.
- The Synap Gateway device that connects the wireless part of the Synap IoT network to the Internet via an Ethernet connection port. The actual Internet connection can be of any type, be it directly via a cable or through WiFi or other wireless means.
- The SynapCloud. This is Synap’s cloud-based network controller, where all network and sensor management are done. Here all sensor data can be accessed through an API. Sensor-specific commands are configured in SynapCloud’s web interface.
Plug & Play, cloud controlled LPWAN
When you deploy sensors, you want to get them quickly connected, without having to think about how. The Synap IoT Network is designed to do just this: when a new sensor is deployed and connected to a Synap modem, the network automatically recognises it and connects it to the Cloud. All configuration is done remotely and very simply using a profile containing the sensor’s own data structure and command set. You don’t have to learn wireless networking nor do any programming to try out sensors.
Rollouts of large sensor networks are as fast as you can bring the sensors on site (together with the connected Synap modems). The modems’ low-power circuit design makes the battery lifetime up to 10 years. The high performance LoRa radio technology allows for an unobstructed communication range of 20 kilometres between the modem and the gateway device that connects the wireless sensor network to the Internet.
Mesh on LPWAN
The Synap narrowband communication technology reaches beyond the limitations of a star topology even when operating as a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) due to our patent pending meshing capability. A modem that cannot reach a gateway can still join the network if another modem is within range. With the SynapMesh protocol, the neighbouring modem automatically detects that a new modem is nearby, recognises it as orphaned, and automatically sets itself up as a radio link to connect the new modem to the Synap IoT network. This meshing is of course dependent on that the linking modem is always listening, usually meaning that it has mains power.
Security is of extreme importance in any IoT network. The Synap IoT network therefore protects data and device control messages end to end by AES-256 encryption with dynamic key changing. The AES key change is managed entirely from the SynapCloud.
Communications are protected from manipulation by 256-bit SHA-2 hash message integrity verification.
Network association between the Gateway and modem in the form of network ID checks ensures that only authorised devices can communicate on the network. This is the mechanism behind the term “private network” as only your own sensors/modems are allowed to join and communicate over it. Unauthorised devices’ messages, or wrongly addressed messages are simply ignored by the receiving device, preventing their communication. This helps avoiding both rogue devices and flooding attacks.