Written by: Piotr Strzałkowski, Embedded Domain Expert
In the third article of our IoT Hacks series, we’ll give you some useful insights on the Wi-SUN protocol. Wi-SUN stands for Wireless Intelligent Utility Network. In the previous posts, we’ve covered energy harvesting for low-power embedded systems and the use of solar panels in smart sensors. So let’s have a look at what Wi-SUN is, and how your IoT device can benefit from it. Here’s what you need to know.
Wi-SUN is a new open wireless communication protocol based on the IEEE 802.15.4g standard. It enables data exchange at speeds of 50-300kbps with a delay of 0.02-1s over distances of up to 4km. Wi-SUN is adapted to be used in outdoor IoT wireless communication networks in a wide range of applications. This communication runs on unlicensed bands. As a result, no extra charges are required.
One can find modules for the following frequencies: 433, 512, 868, 920 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and many others in the portfolio of integrated circuits manufacturers. The Wi-SUN supports a MESH-type network topology and enables the expansion of a local area network to 5,000 devices and 10 million endpoints globally.
What constitutes essential is that this network provides native public key integration (PKI). This allows each device to have its own certificate that protects its firmware from unauthorized changes. What you may also find interesting is that this type of network supports the IPv6 standard and all related security features.
As assured by the developers of the chips supporting Wi-SUN FAN, the system guarantees lower power consumption compared to competitors such as LoRAWAN or NB-IoT with similar network settings.
From the production point of view, there’s an extra advantage, too. There’s no need to be tied to only one manufacturer. Companies such as ST, Texas Instrument, Renesas, ROHM, or Silicon Labs all offer chips supporting Wi-SAN communication in their portfolio.
You can easily find ready-made certified modules supporting Wi-SUN communication on the market, with which you can connect via SPI, UART, and USB interfaces. Furthermore, some manufacturers offer processors with a built-in Wi-SUN module and a ready communication stack. This makes the adaptation of the new technology to one’s solution a whole lot easier. Alternatively, it can even be used interchangeably with the existing solution, depending on the needs, of course.
The Wi-SUN FAN (Field Area Network) parameters we’ve covered above sound extremely promising. This solution may be a great alternative to optimizing communication in IoT devices. It can work well in all of them, including smart sensors or other systems. Wi-SUN is a terrific way to optimize wherever network scalability, power consumption, communication range and reliability, and security are the priorities, but speed is not among the most important parameters.
If you are wondering whether it is possible to extend the battery life of your IoT device, or you are looking for a technology partner to create a dedicated IoT solution – get in touch with us! We have successfully delivered many projects that required energy harvesting and we will be more than happy to tell you how this can be done. Drop us a line to arrange a free consultation!