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On-Farm Connectivity

Author: Kirsty Heather

When it comes to on on-farm connectivity to streamline your farm operations through automation and IoT (internet of things) digital technology you have several options. We have set about to explain the 2 options we recommend for Australian farmers to help you select the option that will best suit your requirements.

What is IoT

The Internet of things describes the network of physical devices (things) around the world that are now connected to the internet collecting and sharing data.

Connecting up all these devices such as our door opening automation and adding sensors to them such as our Sensor PRO and Chatterbox PRO that can then trigger the door opening automation to open or close. This adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise need human intervention. Enabling them to communicate real-time data without involving a human being. The Internet of Things makes the world around us more responsive and smarter, merging the digital and physical universes.

Cat M1

  • In Australia Cat M1 operates on Telstra’s Mobile phone towers. It operates on Band 28 (700mhz)
  • Increase the range of the phone towers by using small packets of data which is ideal for IOT devices. This means less coverage black spots than normal phone coverage.
  • Uses a sim-card which is managed by Padman Stops that has a yearly annual fee
  • Ideal for a small number of devices

What is Cat M1? Formally known at Category M1, Cat M1 is a low-power wide area (LPWAN) cellular technology built especially for IoT projects. It works best when transferring low to medium amounts of data at a long range.

Operating from a low power requirement helps improve efficiency and minimise data costs. When devices are not active Cat M1 has a power saving mode which reduces data and battery use.

Cat M1 is considered future-proof and viewed as 5G technologies.

 

LoRaWAN

Padmans’ provide a on-farm LoRaWAN Gateway for the following customer benefits

  • Provide coverage where CAT-M1 does not
  • Lower yearly ongoing operating costs when managing more than 15 devices as compared to CAT-M1

How does LoRaWAN work? It requires no internet other than the LoRaWAN internet gateway. So if you have no phone service this is the perfect solution. It can wirelessly transmit up to 8km from the LoRaWAN gateway unit.

LoRaWAN gateway processes your data and sends it to our web and mobile app. Users get real-time updates of their irrigation directly to their phone or computer.

The beauty of LoRaWAN is the one off cost per network, compared to having to pay for a sim card per device in the case of the Cat M1 network.

 

How to get started with Automation

The Victorian government have released several rounds of funding for IoT digital technologies for eligible regions and industries in the Agriculture sector. Go to www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/digitalag  for more information

What about cost?

Check out our fun new quote calculator to find out what it might cost to automate your farm.

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