Portable Gateways for Energy Maintenance in Rural Areas

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BACKGROUND

With the increased prevalence of IoT technologies in different industries, the demand for IoT applicable network equipment is rising constantly. Being the service provider of wireless communication devices and IoT solutions, our partner provides clients with electronic components and M2M (machine-to-machine) connectivity solutions that meet their wireless equipment needs. They had to look for suitable networking devices to meet client’s requirements from different industries, including aeronautics and defense, energy, logistics, home automation as well as telecommunications operators.

Project Requirements

Our partner is looking for reliable 4G LTE portable routers to convert the traditional electric meters into smart meters in rural areas. It could increase the work efficiency of their technical maintenance staff. Also, building a smart energy system allows workers to access the data remotely and hence working in a hazardous environment. It requires:

  • A strong 4G LTE portable privacy router that is easy to travel with
  • A device compatible with their own 4G external antenna
  • A device comes with micro usb charging port and 100Mbps Ethernet port
  • A device allows third-party software installation, and
  • Shockproof features to avoid easy damages

Solution

Our GL.iNet 4G LTE router Mudi (GL-E750) can convert 4G LTE Internet to wireless secure network, which is excellent for providing strong and uninterrupted Wi-Fi to technical maintenance staff in rural areas. With the pre-installed OpenWrt operation system, the root access is granted for users to fully customize the router, perfect for installing different software applications. It also includes a micro usb port for charging which can fulfil our partner’s basic requirements. We communicated with our partner to better understand their networking needs. Finally, we selected this model and brainstormed with the most ideal plan after several discussions - customized GL.iNet 4G LTE portable router Mudi with a new hardware structure.

The greatest challenge of this project is hardware customization while controlling the cost. We figured out the heat challenge when we revised the hardware of Mudi. If we add a 100Mbps Ethernet port and an antenna port to Mudi, a larger space is required for heat release. We have to ensure the router can operate in its optimal performance with a reasonable temperature range. After days of rigorous testing, the final version of customized Mudi is larger in size but meets the heat temperature range and still its in pocket. It allows our partner to install their own 4G external antenna directly on Mudi to improve signal strength.

To avoid easy damages to Mudi, we also designed a new case for our partner. It is made of rubber sleeve material and specially compatible with Mudi. It is built to protect the router from scratches and drops, which is durable for use. When technicians carry it during the electricity maintenance work, the protection case can reduce the damage rate and extend the life of the router.

Using Customized Mudi in the High Voltage Electrical Room

After connecting customized Mudi to the electric switchboards with 100 Mbps Ethernet port, this 4G LTE router can convert 4G LTE network into stable wireless network, which allows technicians to program electricity counters in rural areas and make better control of the telecommunication network in the cabinet.

Working in a high voltage electrical room is dangerous, it relates to fire safety and electrical hazards. Our partner’s client wants to minimize the number of times their staff entering the electrical room. They need a device which can remotely detect the network environment and electrical problems. Customized Mudi can create a Wi-Fi secure network within 20-30 meters range. It allows maintenance staff to connect Mudi’s Wi-Fi network using their own smartphone app. Once an unusual condition is detected, they can assess whether repair work is needed inside the high voltage electrical room.