Melbourne, Australia – June 18, 2015:
M2M One is pleased to announce a new partnership with leading Taiwanese hardware manufacturer ATrack Technology Inc. ATrack is one of the first round of companies to be part of M2M One’s new partnership program. The program is focused on creating a network of hardware, software and solution providers that can help new entrants into the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) space develop and grow their business quickly.
ATrack& M2M One are collaborating to support businesses in Australia that are adopting 3G hardware to benefit from the larger coverage area and higher throughput. These benefits coupled with the uncertain future of 2G networks and the shut down of Telstra’s 2G network on December 1st 2016 have driven companies to push their migration from 2G telematics devices to 3G quicker than anticipated.
From the launch of its first 3G product in December 2010, ATrack now offers a complete product line of 3G devices that have been deployed globally. The range includes the AK7 and 3G GPS/GLONASS trackers for fleet management and advanced telematics, AL7 3G GPS Motorcycle tracker, and AX9 3G OBDII / J1939 Plug & Play tracker.
Supported by Australia’s largest mobile network, M2M One services simplify the utilization of ATrack devices by providing complete access to the 850/2100Mhz 3G network, as well as a suite of management and diagnostic tools for companies to manage their fleet of M2M SIM Cards.
“We’re excited to be working with ATrack in Australia. We already provide connectivity to a number of their customers so a closer relationship is going to be beneficial for both organizations.” said James Mack, General Manager of M2M One. “One of the biggest hurdles for any business entering the M2M and IoT market is the wealth of options available. Through our partnership program we’re hoping to give customers a ‘one-stop shop’ for information on hardware, software and connectivity, and as our program grows we’re looking forward to working with more quality hardware manufactures like ATrack to make sure our customers can reduce their development costs by working with established, proven solutions.”
As part of the partnership arrangement M2M One are offering free trial SIMs to ATrack customers in Australia who want to test their 3G device and a discount on SIM card fees for any customers who want to migrate their existing 2G fleet.
About M2M One
M2M One is one of Australia’s leading providers of device connectivity services, catering exclusively to the Machine to Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) market. Our goal is to help our customers and partners accelerate development and manage deployment of their connected devices. All of our services are backed by a world class online Control Centre and operate on Australia’s largest mobile network, offering M2M devices the greatest reliability, coverage and speed available.(www.m2mone.com.au)
ATrack specializes in telematics hardware designing and manufacturing. Our core R&D team has over 10 years of industry experience, and our products have been deployed in various operating environments worldwide. ATrack has also been particularly successful at performing user-specific firmware and hardware customizations to help our clients win projects in this dynamic market. Through our continuous commitment to the industry and providing unmatched level of responsiveness, we have been recognized as one of the most reliable hardware partners. (www.atrack.com.tw)
Over the past 15 years the team at M2M Connectivity & M2M One have coached, consulted, celebrated and at times commiserated with thousands of hopeful developers trying to make their mark on the Machine to Machine/Internet of Things landscape.
This series of blog posts is designed to pass on some M2M 101 style tips to developers looking to get into the space.
A big question we get asked is “How do I keep my device online as long as possible”, while it’s almost impossible to provide 100% uptime for any wireless device we’ve provided a few tips below to help you get closer.
A few things to consider:
- Expect outages! – Despite their best intentions every single mobile operator in the world still has to have periods where they restart or change a network element either planned or otherwise.
- ‘Mobile’ Networks – Most people aren’t in the same spot using their phone or iPad for 24 hours a day so they don’t notice network changes or intricacies, but m2m devices are a bit different. A data-logger measuring the water level of a reservoir isn’t going anywhere so if the network goes down, even for a moment it’s communication is going to be interrupted.
- Is coverage available? – In countries like Australia you can have vast regions of unpopulated land, at some point you’re going to run out of cellular coverage so you need to think of how to cope.
Worst case scenario… – Photo courtesy of http://www.engineeringradio.us
So how can you preempt a lack of cellular coverage?
1. Store and forward – Make sure you have enough memory on your hardware to store at least one or two days of data, that way if you experience an outage or your device moves out of cellular coverage temporarily nothing is lost.
2. Build a smarter modem – This is particularly important for devices that don’t move between cell towers. Previously we advised customers building M2M devices that they should factor in an automatic reboot to any stationary M2M device at minimum once a day. This is still a great tried and tested solution, but if you need something that communicates 24 hours a day an unnecessary restart may be impractical.
A majority of modem manufacturers include a ‘watchdog’ feature in their hardware which can be set to ping an IP address at certain intervals, this can either be a public known IP like Google for example, or your own network. If the device is unable to ping the ‘watchdog’ address then it will automatically power cycle the modem, without you having to do anything.
For older devices without a ‘watchdog’ we still recommend an automatic reboot at least once a day, and having some kind of failover like being able to restart the device with an SMS.
Why is restarting the modem important? Most raw M2M hardware is reasonably ‘dumb’ if it can see a network and can communicate with that network it assumes everything is ok. This however is not the case, have you ever been in a situation where you can make calls or send an SMS but can’t surf the Internet on your phone? Normally if you put it in and out of airplane mode it fixes the issue. The same principals apply here, the modem assumes everything is normal but really it can’t make a data/IP connection. By restarting the modem you force it to create a brand new connection which 99% of the time brings voice, SMS & data back.
3. Can you feel my heart (beat)? – For those of you who are building and deploying devices using public Internet APNs (those commonly shared with mobile phones and tablets). We highly recommend putting in a ‘heartbeat’ to remind the network your device is still there. Public networks are highly aggressive when it comes to closing sessions, this is to maximize capacity and reduce congestion.
Unfortunately networks around the world have different timeouts ranging from minutes to hours to days. So we can’t prescribe the perfect solution, but as most heartbeats send a minimum amount of data (around 1 byte per beat) you can usually be reasonably safe with every few minutes.
4. How critical is your data? – Most of the time store and forward will be ok; when a device is back in cellular coverage your data is sitting there waiting for you. However if you absolutely need 24 hour uptime you need some kind of failover, just like cellular became standard failover for Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
Some devices can get away with utilizing multiple SIM cards or connecting to multiple carriers via a ‘roaming SIM’ – This is a great option for areas of high cellular coverage with multiple operators. Remote locations on the other hand tend to have a single operator or none at all, this is where utilizing satellite technology becomes critical.
A lot of people cringe when I start talking about satellite communications, their minds instantly go back to the days of $10,000+ phone bills and hardware that cost and weighed as much as a car. This really isn’t the case anymore, using satellite as a failover for cellular is fast becoming commonplace in OH&S solutions in the remote operations, utilities and mining sectors.
Sometimes satellite is your only option – Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Hopefully these tips have inspired you to build some extra smarts or redundancy into your next or current M2M project.
Did you find this tip useful? Do you have some questions on the Machine-to-Machine and Internet of Things industry we can answer for you? Let us know on Twitter @M2MOneAU, on LinkedIn at M2M One or visit our website at www.m2mone.com.au.
General Manager – M2M One
The views and opinions expressed in this blog site are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of M2M One or M2M Group.