Mesh protocol on LoRa radio
Automatic formation of IoT devices into a private network


Why SynapMesh?

A network protocol contains the set of basic commands for forming links between devices and sending data between them. Different IoT applications have different communication needs, and a variety of protocols are in use. SynapMesh is Synap Technologies’ patent pending communication protocol for narrowband applications such as Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN).

A LPWAN needs to serve a large number of geographically dispersed sensors, often battery operated. Mostly the sensors are in a sleep state and report data only occasionally.

The network creates the most value for the owner if it 

  • Can easily connect all the sensors, even in basements or far away,
  • Transports the sensor data reliably,
  • Can be installed quickly, without special network training of the personnel,
  • Is easily maintained, preferably without truck rolls, and
  • Has adequate operational security.

What is SynapMesh

The SynapMesh protocol is tailor-made for wireless smart sensors or sensor networks operating on the sub-GHz spectrum. We have chosen Semtech LoRa® as the underlying physical radio technology for its excellent range (“link budget”) and suitability for IoT communication.

The SynapMesh protocol enables:

  • Automatic joining, the modems are configuration free
  • Automatic meshing of modems for linking up sensors out of the gateway’s reach
  • Remote programming of modems

End-to-end encryption, integrity checks, device and message authentication

Automatic modem-to-modem meshing

Last-mile connectivity is a very real problem for IoT networks. It may be economically or even physically impossible to install enough gateway devices to provide the coverage needed for connecting all sensors. This is solved by the Synap IoT Network’s modem to modem meshing capability, SynapMesh extends the communication range by enabling the sensor modems themselves to act as mini-routers that form mesh links to modems out of direct range of the gateway device. The network is completely transparent to the meshing, linked sensors experience the same data transfer and overall network performance as sensors directly connected to the gateway.

Private network and security

A random generated unique Network ID is provided by the SynapCloud network controller once the user account has been activated. The Synap IoT Network is designed to be a private network, where only sensors belonging to the own company with the corresponding network ID can communicate. This is ensured by SynapMesh’ message control ability. Communications from devices not authenticated within the network are simply discarded. In addition to the authentication and message control features, the Synap IoT Network also implements AES-256 bit encryption and SHA-256 integrity checks to ensure the communication security and reliability required for mission-critical power grid operations.

Plug and play installation

When a new sensor modem is powered up within reach of a Synap IoT Network it is automatically detected, authenticated, and assigned a suitable frequency channel for communication. The modem is identified by reading its serial number and network ID remotely. These are used both for blocking rogue devices as well as to assign the modem to the correct private network, should several networks be within range. If possible, the new modem is linked directly to the gateway, otherwise via another sensor modem. The whole process is run automatically by SynapMesh and managed by the SynapCloud provisioning application.

A connection loss can be detected both by SynapCloud as well as the sensor modem itself, triggering a rejoining. This redundancy minimises loss of data and makes the Synap IoT network very robust to disturbances. The rejoining works just as the initial joining, reconnecting the sensor again, either directly to the gateway or via another meshing sensor.

Modem adaptation to the sensor devices

Every sensor has its specific set of commands, commonly using the MODBUS protocol. After joining the network, the modem can be programmed remotely using a sensor profile in SynapCloud. This avoids programming to pair modems to sensors before installation. Any modem can serve a sensor and several sensor types can exist on the network.

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