LoRa AMI

Vision Metering offers a number of AMI/AMR communication options to fit every deployment scenario

What is the Lora Alliance?

The LoRa Alliance is an open, non-profit association of members that believes the Internet of Things (IoT) era is now. It was initiated by industry leaders with a mission to standardize Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) being deployed around the world to enable Internet of Things (IoT), machine-tomachine (M2M), smart city, and industrial applications. The Alliance members will collaborate to drive the global success of the LoRa protocol (LoRaWAN), by sharing knowledge and experience to guarantee interoperability between operators in one open global standard.

In the US, LORA operates in the 900 MHz ISM bands. It’s a proven technology with AES 128 encrypted security from end to end. The user’s data is embedded in the LORA stack and can be from 11 bytes to 242 bytes. Range is at its maximum when small data packets are used. Higher data packets shorten the range of transmission.

LORA radios are ideally suited for electric, gas and water meter reading. They are very low power, with long range, up to 20 miles, and economical. Using a LORA system opens the door to multiple possibilities because the radios and gateways are made by many manufacturers and all communicate together. The Electric Utility Industry has wrestled with developing a standard protocol that allowed all manufacturers to play. Even today’s systems lock a utility into solely controlled protocol operated by one vendor. LORA is truly open and anyone can play.

The LORA radios transmit at about 100 ma or roughly 20 to 22 dbm. Longer distances can be covered with slower data rates and small packets. The LORA network operates in a Star configuration (point to point). Ideally the network would be arranged where each end device can hit 2 or 3 Gateways for redundancy. There are many LORA network operators that can handle the flow of data from your head end to the end device. You can also create your own network with the open technology.

  • LoRa Alliance Point to Point 20 mile range
  • L + G Airpoint (up to 5 in one meter)
  • Cat M1 Modem Meter on Verizon’s system
  • Nexgrid - Provides multi-mesh solution for electric, water, gas, street, lighting, distribution automation and much more
  • Data on Demand, a Vision Product in use for 10 years
  • Verizon Gridwide distributor and installer Modem

    A Truly Open Future Proof AMI System

    LoRa is a long range Internet of Things (IoT) system designed for the ever expanding IoT. It is an open system that allows anyone to manufacture devices which can communicate over a LoRaWAN network. The openness removes the hand-cuffs that restricts companies to a particular vendor. With LoRa, utilities can design their system to facilitate communicating with electric, water and gas meters all on the same network. Other devices like street light controllers, transformer temperature monitors and distribution monitoring devices can all be added as needed.

    LoRa is designed for low power, long range applications which are well suited for AMI. It operates in the 900 Mhz ISM bands but the technology allows its signals to transmit above the noise in these bands. Visions system transmits a maximum of 42 bytes at just under 400 ms using 1 watt (30 db) radios.

    The LoRa Alliance is comprised of over 500 companies all working in concert to develop the absolute best IoT system in the World. The technology deployed with LoRa is second to none and creates independence for its users. There are no monthly fees associated with data and no restriction on the amount of data you can accumulate.

    LoRa is scalable to the size of your requirement. You can choose from 8 to 64 channel gateways. Thus allowing 1,500,000 messages per day up to 12,000,000 messages per day from a single gateway. If you buy an AMI system with proprietary technology, you will be handcuffed to that vendor for 15 to 20 years or longer. In order to achieve competitive pricing for meters, gateways and head-end systems, LoRa is your only choice.


    LoRa uses a Star Technology to achieve robust communications

    LoRa uses a Star Technology to achieve robust communications. Up to 20 mile coverage can be achieved with exceptional repeatability using LoRa. Mesh systems are dependent on other devices to provide a communications path and are often limited in range. Point to Point and Point to Multipoint systems allow multiple pathways to achieve maximum performance.

    There are multiple vendors for meters, gateways, headend systems and other distribution automation devices with more being developed everyday. Vision uses gateways from various vendors to match the unique requirements of each system. The customer then chooses the vendors equipment that best suits their requirements.


    Why LoRa® ?

    1. Highly Robust - LoRa signal is very resistant to both in-band and out-of-band interference mechanisms due to a BT > 1 and fully asynchronous nature.

    2. Multipath / fading Resistant, the chirp pulse is relatively broadband and thus LoRa offers immunity to multipath and fading, making it ideal for use in urban and suburban environments, where both mechanisms dominate.

    3. Long Range Capability, for a fixed output power and throughput, the link budget of LoRa exceeds that of conventional FSK.

    4. Doppler Resistant, Doppler shift introduces a negligible shift in the time axis of the baseband signal.

    5. Enhanced Network Capacity, orthogonal spreading factors enables multiple transmissions at the same time and on the same channel.

    6. Ranging / Localization, inherent property of LoRa is the ability to linearly discriminate between frequency and time errors.

    7. Constant Envelope Mod Scheme, same low-cost and low-power high-efficiency FSK PA stages can be re-used without modification.


    Technology Comparison Summary


    LoRa Water Module

    VMW-1 or -2 is a LoRa module for use with water meters equipped with either a pulsed or serial output. - 1 is pulsed input and - 2 is a serial input. The module is self contained and designed to fit into Pit Lids with the Sensus™ opening. The plastic material is UV stabilized polycarbonate.

    The LoRa radio is a Class B transceiver with capabilities of transmitting from 100 mw to 1 watt (21 to 30 db). Typical transmission range is 2.5 to 5 miles. If using Vision’s electric meters, the message can be repeated through a LoRa equipped electric meter which will extend the range up to 20 miles.

    The water modules are programmed using a Sentry 950L. Upon installation, the module will have to be programmed with the water meter reading.

    The water modules are programmed using a Sentry 950L. Upon installation, the module will have to be programmed with the water meter reading.

    The LoRa packet can be read by any system that will accept its DevEui (mac address) and App key. A DevEui and App key is provided with every module shipped or in quantity, a data file will be provided.

    BATTERY LIFE

    20 years if the module transmits every 6 hours and sends 1 hour interval data for the past 6 hours along with a meter reading.

    15 years if the module transmits every 4 hours and sends 1 hour interval data for the past 4 hours along with a meter reading.

    The VMW uses a D cell lithium battery delivering 19 ampere hours and is rated for a 20 year life. The battery and electronics are encapsulated in a non hardening gel so no stress is placed on the battery or PCB.

    There is an onboard voltage circuit that will provide a low battery indicator which is transmitted back to the head end software when the battery voltage reaches a certain threshold.

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    LoRa Gas Module

    Vision’s LoRa gas meter modules are currently made to fit American AC 250 and AL 425, Rockwell/ Sensus 275 & 425, and Itron Metris Slant Face meters. Modules to fit other gas meters will be developed throughout 2020. The module is self contained and designed to fit just like original equipment with the index’s transferring from the meter to the module.

    Programming of the module is accomplished through the Sentry 950L handheld. You can program the index reading into the module. All other programming is accomplished at the factory.

    The LoRa radio is a Class B transceiver with capabilities of transmitting from 100 mw to 1 watt (21 to 30 db). Typical transmission range is up to 20 miles when transmitting at 1 watt.

    The module can be programmed to transmit hourly load profile data along with the actual meter reading every 4 or 6 hours. To achieve 20 years battery life, 6 hour intervals are recommended.

    The LoRa packet can be read by any system that will accept its DevEui (mac address) and App key. This means that other software providers using LoRa can easily read our Gas Modules. A DevEui and App key is provided with every module shipped or in quantity a data file will be provided.

    BATTERY LIFE

    20 years if the module transmits every 6 hours and sends 1 hour interval data for the past 6 hours along with a meter reading.

    15 years if the module transmits every 4 hours and sends 1 hour interval data for the past 4 hours along with a meter reading.

    The VMG uses a D cell lithium battery delivering 19 ampere hours and is rated for a 20 year life. The battery and electronics are encapsulated in a non hardening gel so no stress is placed on the battery or PCB’s components.

    There is a voltage circuit on the PCB that detects when the battery voltage dips below a defined threshold. When that happens a low battery alarm will be triggered.

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    Call (803) 628-0035 or Email Us to Order