New SensorMesh™ Gateway Box

We have a new SensorMesh™ Gateway Box that takes mesh data from a USB COM port and sends it to your server, BeaconServer™ or BeaconRTLS™.

It reads data from a COM port and uploads it to a server defined by a URL in the box’s web UI:

The web UI also shows the latest data received and the response from the server

Use of the Gateway Box is optional. We also have a Windows 10 service should you wish to do a similar thing on your PC/server or you can process the COM port data yourself for a more bespoke solution.

Read more about SensorMesh™

Bluetooth Mesh, Thread and Zigbee Network Performance

Silicon Labs have a useful web site, webinar and slides on “Benchmarking Bluetooth Mesh, Thread, and Zigbee Network Performance”.

The two main measures of performance are throughput, the rate data transfer that can be achieved (in bits per second) and latency, the time taken for data to cross the network.

With a typical implementation of 6+ hops, throughput converges to a similar order of magnitude for all the protocols:

In real use these protocols only support of the order of low thousands of bits (not bytes!) per sec and should therefore only be used for sending small amounts of data that don’t change very often.

For a small payload with 192 nodes, Zigbee has lowest latency and Bluetooth has greatest variation of latency of 20ms to 200ms:

For a larger payload, the Bluetooth latency has a larger range of up to 750ms:

Whether the variation of latency matters depends on your particular solution. Which technology is best depends on what you need to accomplish. For example, in a Bluetooth lighting scenario you might not want some lights to come on immediately and far ones to come on up to a second later. For sensing, the delay usually doesn’t matter.

You also need to consider other factors such as interoperability, scalability, security, reliability and ease of deployment. For example, Zigbee is less scalable and Silicon Labs recommends a maximum of seven hops otherwise the network becomes congested due to re-tries. Bluetooth has especially good interoperability because it is ubiquitous on smartphones and other devices. It also works reliably in industrial situations and has double encryption.

All protocols can be difficult to deploy due to the lack of off-the-shelf general solutions outside specific verticals such as lighting and home automation although our SensorMesh™ is a notable exception.

Silicon Labs have a more specific paper on Bluetooth Mesh Network Performance.

Read about Beacons and the Bluetooth Mesh

SensorMesh™ for ISVs

SensorMesh™ is our technology that allows Standard Bluetooth advertising, such as from beacons, to be relayed across a site using standard Bluetooth Mesh. When used with iBeacon or Eddystone beacons, SensorMesh™ output enables you to determine the location of assets and people to the nearest relay node. When using SensorMesh™ with sensor beacons, you can detect movement, temperature, humidity, air pressure, light, open/closed, close proximity and human proximity (PIR).

We have updated SensorMesh™ to remove the gateway box. It was decided it would be too complex to set up for ISVs. Instead we now have a gateway node that sends output to a USB COM Port.

This widens the possibilities for the receiver to be a PC, Linux box, Raspberry Pi, single board computer or any device with a USB port. For customers who need the data to be uploaded, in place of the gateway box functionality that uploaded to a server, we now have an installable Windows 10 Service that takes data from a COM port and uploads it to your server, BeaconServer™ or BeaconRTLS™.

As previously, SensorMesh™ is stand-alone hardware with no subscription and isn’t software as a service (SAAS). You buy the hardware and then there are no ongoing costs. The data stays within your systems.

Read more about SensorMesh™