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Environmental Monitoring for Transportation Main Networking Hubs


The Challenge

When it comes to the overall networking infrastructure of a transportation system, the main networking hub is fundamental. These hubs usually also connect to additional networking systems, such as public works or emergency department networking systems. The hubs are unmanned, secure stations. When something goes wrong in the mission-critical Main Networking Hub, the whole system can experience downtime and maintenance is timely and expensive.

Specifically, high temperatures in Transportation Main Networking Hubs can cause equipment to shutdown, overheat, breakdown or even catch fire. To avoid such expensive catastrophes, a Department of Transportation in the U.S. was having trouble finding a solution to combat high temperatures in its Main Networking Hubs. For this particular department, the hubs are the main interface point for local cameras, radar and speed detectors across its interstate system.

The transportation department needed a way to monitor temperature, humidity and Uninterruptible Power Sources (UPS) in the hubs without wasting expensive man hours for inspections. UPS is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails.If an AC unit fails, it doesn’t take long for equipment and fans to overheat.

Additionally, if the room is too humid, it can lead to corrosion that damages and breaks down the equipment. In looking for a solution for environmental monitoring in the Main Networking Hubs, the department was finding most of the popular solutions were too complicated to implement and too expensive to run. Additionally, many popular solutions are cloud-based, which is not ideal for a transportation department with security and data concerns.

To solve the environmental monitoring challenge – while also keeping the solutions easy to implement and secure – the department of transportation worked with Advantech.

The Solution

Working with Advantech, the department implemented a solution from a one-stop shop with all required components, such as sensor node, wireless communication gateway, I/O data acquisition module, power supply and mounting kit, as well as a pre-configuration/programming service.

The Advantech environmental monitoring solution has integrated temperature and humidity monitoring, and is fully expandable in both rugged hardware and software. Utilizing the industrial WISE-4220-S231A wireless node to wirelessly measure humidity, temperature and current, a SmartStart LTE Internet of Things (IoT) Gateway is also transmitting data back to the central control room. The WISE-4220 series is an Ethernet-based wireless IoT device, integrated with IoT data acquisition, processing and publishing functions.

Utilizing the Advantech solution, alarms and alerts can be set up when the optimal environmental conditions in the Transportation Main Networking Hubs are not met. In terms of security, the SmartStart IoT Gateway has a standard ETH port to connect into the department’s secured private network directly, eliminating concerns of running data outside the network. The SmartStart gateway also utilizes Node-RED for visual programming, making it a simple task for the transportation department’s contractor to set-up and maintain.

What is Node-RED?

A better way to approach unique demands of IIoT applications

Node-RED is a powerful — yet simple to use — applications programming environment optimized for processing data streams. It’s a flexible tool ideal for users of any level to be able to program to connect physical I/O, databases and more. Node-RED enables owners, operators and integrators of remote assets to integrate data from assets into IIoT applications. Users drag and drop function nodes to acquire, process and output data via an internal web server interface.The Node-RED environment is able to create and serve local dashboards or flows, providing a mechanism to serve summary data to engineers, managers or operational staff. The flows created in Node-RED are stored using JSON, which can be easily imported and exported for sharing with others. Node-RED can be run locally, on a device or in the cloud.

The Product Solution