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Wireless Flow Metering: More Than Just No Wires

Feb 10, 2012

In my last post, I described having your meters connected to a wired network, and the “remote” console wirelessly communicating with said meters. This time, I want to expand on this with introducing wireless meters into the mix.

So, you now have 6 meters communicating on a wired network; and their data is being introspected by a remote wireless console. You want to enhance the “network” by introducing the concept of a pure wireless infrastructure; no more [network] wires!

You upgrade your meters to support Wireless. Each meter now is a “node” in a private and secure network.  At this time, all your meters are connected by way of a wireless network, you’re remote console is also connected to the same network.  Apart from the physical aspect of no more wires, what have we really done to improve our setup? Since the console machine is also part of wireless network, it can detect and interact with any meter that is also on the same network in a secure fashion.

So what?! That’s the same as a wired network! Okay, here are some thoughts –

  1. Since the Remote Console is a wireless device on the network, it does not need to be a desk-locked machine! Imagine the Remote Console being an iPad or Android device…imagine walking around your factory floor and as you walk around, you can detect, interact and manage meters real-time (remote observation and interaction)

  2. Since the meters are on a [wireless] network, and communications problems are detected by the meters, they can “re-adjust” their network “wiring” to fix or go around the problem; known as Mesh Networking, or simply in lay terms, Self-Healing Networks.

  3. If all the meters can “talk” to each other, they can make “judgments” on what is happening in their pipe. For example, imagine a pipe with 3 meters connected along the pipes length. With this setup, all the meters should state the same information (remember they are on the same pipe); but what happens if the middle meter starts showing different information?

Well, since the meters are “talking” with each other, along with the Remote Console, they can deduce that there is an issue with the pipe or meter between the “good” working meters.

  1. It could be an issue with the pipe, leak?

  2. It could be an issue with the meter, faulty etc.

  3. It could be a misconfiguration with a meter in question

The point being,  since these meters are “alive” and talking, they can infer situations and act accordingly!  The bottom line is, having the meters on a Communications Network, wired or wireless, allows the meters to provide additional support and functionality beyond the obvious lack of wires!

Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Written By:
Kam Bansal, Dir. of Engineering
Sierra Instruments

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