Automated reading of consumption meters

Automated reading of consumption meters

Efco, Teltonika's service and sales partner, presents the TRB256, a completely newly developed dual-SIM narrow-band IoT gateway. Thanks to the significantly longer range of the 450 MHz band used, the compact device is particularly suitable for remote locations or large areas. The gateway offers RS-232 and RS-485, numerous inputs and outputs and supports Modbus and BACnet. This makes it suitable for automated communication with consumption meters as well as a platform for interoperability in building automation.

The IoT gateway uses Narrow-Band IoT (NB-IoT) in the 450 MHz band. The comparatively long-wave radio signals are scattered less by obstacles, penetrate buildings much better and therefore offer a significantly greater range. Accordingly, the smart device can cover a significantly larger area with wireless connectivity than is possible with the usual, high-frequency LTE and 5G bands.

Just a few TRB256s are enough to connect even large building complexes efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, the 450 MHz band has been the radio network of water and energy suppliers in Germany since 2021 and is therefore the backbone of wireless communication in the area of critical infrastructure.

The compact NB-IoT gateway supports Modbus, both on the serial interfaces as a Modbus RTU master and via Ethernet as Modbus TCP. This makes it ideal for efficient and secure communication with consumption recording devices or network nodes, such as those used for wireless communication with gas, electricity, water and heat meters.

In addition, the TRB256 offers BACnet router support – both on the RS-485 interface and via Ethernet. This means it can also be used as a platform for the interoperability of a wide variety of devices in building automation. This is all the more so because it also has several inputs and outputs, including an input for analog signals.

The use of two SIM cards (dual SIM) ensures redundancy in terms of the mobile networks that can be used. Corresponding failover rules ensure that the industrial-grade gateway automatically switches between the two SIM cards, for example in the event of a weak signal, when the data or SMS limit of a card has been reached, for targeted roaming, when connection errors occur, or when one The networks are not available, for example because a base station is out of service - or overbooked due to a major event nearby. Particularly interesting from the perspective of ongoing operating costs: The unused SIM card remains inactive until the device switches to it, i.e. until then no tariffs linked to the card are used.

Routing can also be set to a wide range: it can be purely static, dynamic according to one of the usual protocols, or policy-based. The gateway can also be configured remotely via SMS; The current device status can also be read out in this way. But that's not all: Using POST/GET, SMS can be sent or read via HTTP, or emails can be converted bidirectionally into SMS.

The TRB256 dual-SIM NB-IoT gateway, which is only 83 x 25 x 75 mm small and weighs around 165 grams, has a wide-range input for a DC supply with 9...30 V, requires a maximum of 3.5 W and maintains temperatures of - 40…+75 °C without any problems. The mounting bracket for the top-hat rail is conveniently included, so that the device can be easily integrated into existing control cabinets.

The TRB256 uses the popular RutOS, which itself is based on the OpenWRT Linux system. It is possible to update the software without losing the current configuration. The gateway also enables location tracking and offers state-of-the-art security equipment.

The TRB256 is manufactured by the Lithuanian company Teltonika. Founded around the turn of the millennium, Teltonika is now considered one of the leading companies for industrial communication solutions. Over 500 employees from 20 nations devise sophisticated devices, which state-of-the-art production converts into well-thought-out and highly attractively priced products.