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Enabling Reliable Video over LTE in Industrial Remote Monitoring Systems

For the transportation, oil, and gas industries, cellular technologies have become the driving force behind remote monitoring systems to manage and monitor devices in real time. Increasingly for large-scale applications on buses and road intersections, multiple IP cameras are deployed in one location to provide live video streams to control centers. However, with a 1-to-1 IP camera to cellular gateway ratio, implementing 3G technology in remote monitoring systems for such applications can result in added cost of investment and increased space requirement. In addition, the lackluster performance has limited the reach of 3G in M2M (machine-to-machine) applications.

So what is the solution? LTE - the latest cellular technology that satisfies the requirements for industrial remote monitoring systems. Compared with its predecessor, LTE offers much greater speed and enhanced latency. With an actual download speed of up to 60 mbps and upload speed of up to 25 mbps, LTE makes it possible to transmit multiple high-definition video streams and control data seamlessly. In addition, the backwards-compatibility with legacy 2G and 3G networks makes LTE the ideal choice for setting up cost-effective industrial remote monitoring systems.

The following tables compare cellular technologies. Table 1 shows the peak and available data rates. Table 2 compares the streaming quality for videos with different resolution and frame-per-second (FPS) settings.

Table 1: Cellular Bandwidth

Wireless WAN (Cellular) Technology Peak Data Rate Available Data Rate
Download Upload Download Upload
2G (GPRS/EDGE) 86 kbps
236 kbps
172 kbps ≈100 kbps ≈50 kbps
3G (HSPA+) 21 mbps 5.76 mbps 15 mbps 3 mbps
4G (LTE) 100 mbps 50 mbps 60 mbps 25 mbps

Table 2: Cellular technology and streaming quality comparison

Video Quality Estimated
Bandwidth
Required*
Cellular Technology
(Download)
Cellular Technology
(Upload)
Definition:High 
Resolution:640x480
FPS: 20
1 to 2 mbps 2G 2G
3G 3G
4G 4G
Definition:High 
Resolution:720x480
FPS:30
3 to 5 mbps 2G 2G
3G 3G
4G 4G
Definition:High 
Resolution:1280x800
FPS:30
7 to 9 mbps 2G 2G
3G 3G
4G 4G
Poor Fair Excellent

*Calculated using Moxa’s online Bandwidth Calculator.

Take traffic monitoring applications for example. With LTE technology, operators can easily connect three HD IP cameras to an LTE gateway that streams live videos to control centers for real time monitoring.

By understanding some key challenges and requirements of using cellular communications in an industrial remote monitoring system, you can determine whether an LTE solution is right for your application.

Locations with Extreme Temperature Changes

In remote locations where industrial equipment is based, we must consider the impact of extreme temperatures on cellular gateways. A cellular gateway that is not designed for industrial applications can result in frequent device failure that leads to poor connectivity and higher maintenance cost. Given the rapid temperature changes at intersections, in highway tunnels, or in outdoor cabinets, choosing an LTE gateway that can tolerate a wide temperature range is essential to ensuring continuous operation in any harsh environment.

Background Interference

Electromagnetic interference is everywhere. It can come from the differences in ground potential, electromagnetic interference (EMI), ungrounded mobile equipment, or unexpected dips and surges in power supplies. Just because interference is invisible doesn’t mean it is harmless. Interference can impact normal device operation and violate data integrity. How LTE gateways cope with these sources of interference is critical for rock-solid performance. For this reason, LTE gateways must include effective power and antenna isolation capabilities to safeguard cellular communications and maintain data integrity.

We are Always Hungry for Reliability

One major concern about cellular networks is that connections may be prone to disruptions, and so are less reliable than wired networks. For example, on base stations, the different idle timeouts implemented at the application level present a challenge for LTE gateways to maintain reliable cellular communications. So, it is important to choose LTE gateways featuring hardware redundancies and intelligent software features that enable a cellular network to achieve the level of reliability to rival that of a wired network – and at a fraction of the cost.

VPN to Keep Your Data Private

When data is being sent over unprotected public networks, it is vulnerable to prying eyes. This is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in to create an impenetrable tunnel for secure data transfer between cellular gateways and control centers. A cellular gateway with built-in VPN capability can effectively prevent anyone from snooping on sensitive information.

Moxa’s LTE Solution

Through each evolution of cellular technology from 2G, 3G, 3.5G, to LTE, Moxa has continued to provide proven industrial network solutions to address the needs of industrial remote monitoring systems. Moxa’s OnCell G3470A-LTE cellular gateway is designed to provide seamless video streaming and meet the challenging demands of industrial applications. The OnCell G3470A-LTE includes dual-SIM support for connection redundancy and the innovative GuaranLink technology enables seamless connection with intelligent network switchover. The OnCell G3470A-LTE operates reliably at temperatures from -30 to 70°C, making it an ideal solution for applications in any harsh environment. For network security, you can create VPN tunnels on the OnCell G3470A-LTE and easily manage your private network using Moxa’s OnCell Central Manager.

To find out more about Moxa’s innovative LTE solution, please download the datasheet for the OnCell G3470A-LTE cellular gateway. For more information about video-over-wireless applications, please download Moxa’s latest application guidebook.

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