Connecting the dots, in style

Treon Gateway

Treon Gateway – Connecting the dots, in style   

In mesh networks, gateway is the link between sensor nodes and the backend. Treon Gateway supports a full range of connectivity, is extendable and is built for edge intelligence.

The idea of Treon Gateway is simple. It is online via Ethernet, WiFi or cellular connection, and it collects, processes and transmits data from a mesh network to the cloud.

”When we started working on the sensor nodes, we knew that we needed to build a gateway as well. Both are essential parts of a mesh network”, says Treon Chief Technology Officer Ismo Manninen.

“In most IoT-applications, storage and analysis of data happens in the cloud. For this purpose, we support a full range of wired and wireless networking options and a variety of cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.”   
 

Not all data is sent to the cloud and in some cases, gateway does not even need to be online. Treon Gateway has an impressive level of computing capability and it can work as a stand-alone data processor and storage. It is a Linux-based computer with full extendibility via USB.

”Application running on gateway can analyze and optimize the data before its sent to the cloud. It’s called edge computing”, Manninen explains. “It also enables monitoring and reacting to data in real-time. Local processing is always faster than working through a cloud server.”

Gateway can operate as a local controller, for example, when certain limit values are exceeded.

”Gateway can monitor mean values, peaks, minimums from the sensor data”, Manninen says. “If the values deviate from the set limits, the gateway can take action, command a large number of nodes, communicate to other systems or send an alarm.” 

Options from Wirepas to Bluetooth Mesh

The Treon Gateway is designed to be the perfect counterpart for the Treon Nodes, but it can work with other sensors that use the same mesh technology. Gateway supports the Wirepas Mesh and Treon is working to include Bluetooth Mesh as well.

”Wirepas and Bluetooth technologies have slightly different angles to mesh networking. Wirepas Mesh has been designed from the beginning for massive IoT-networks scale and resiliency, whereas Bluetooth mesh benefits from compatibility with existing Bluetooth hardware”, Manninen describes.         
 

Whether it’s Wirepas or Bluetooth, whenever there is a need for high density of connected devices, a mesh network is something to consider. The applications for mesh networks are wide and varied ranging from sensoring and metering to lighting control and asset management.

”Smart building is a great example. Indoor environmental quality, lighting control and tracking critical assets via the same mesh network”, Manninen notes. “It’s easy to install and extend since there’s no need for wiring.”

A mesh network typically has more than one gateway. For Wirepas networks the practical scale is roughly one gateway per hundred nodes. When network grows bigger, it’s time add more gateways to ensure its reliability and performance.

”In a mesh, the data flows across the network from node to node ultimately to the gateway. Compared to a system where each sensor is directly connected to a cloud, the savings in networking expenses can be substantial”, Manninen says. “Communication between nodes in a mesh network does not usually incur any monthly or data-based fees.”  

Expertise in good use

The target setting for Treon Gateway went beyond the technical specification. Treon wanted the device to be stylish, compact with high integration level and reliable. Electronics component selection and placement was paid special attention to.

”If we had made this with generic development boards, it would not be anywhere near as small or finely crafted”, Senior Electronics Designer Lasse Lehonkoski says. He led the electronics design for the Treon Gateway.

The lid of the round-shaped product can be visually customized to match any brand, just like Treon node. However, when deployed gateways are not often placed in highly visible prime positions.

”Typically, the gateway is in the technical cabinet behind closed doors, working silently. The nodes are placed where the sensoring needs to happen”, Lehonkoski says.

According to him, the round shape was a challenge in design. Components tend to be square-shaped and the three ports – USB, power and Ethernet – needed to be aligned beautifully.

”If you place the gateway next to our node, you can tell those belong to the same family. Both share the industrial design and attention to detail.”

The electronics design expertise of Treon is something both Lehonkoski and Manninen are proud of. It is part of the heritage from Nokia, Microsoft and Intel, where Treon team has learned their craft.

”When we have more than one antenna in a device as small as this, it gets tricky. I guess it’s safe to say that we know how to do it”, Lehonkoski says.