Communications play an important role in automated monitoring by connecting sensors to software, even in remote and challenging environments. By forming a reliable network of sensors and receivers, updates and real-time warnings are made available to support operations ─ from standard maintenance to emergency response. By integrating a selection of sensors and communication methods with Trimble 4D Control monitoring software, potentially unstable structures are continuously monitored with accurate and timely information delivered to stakeholders.
There are several communication options depending on the project conditions and requirements. Different locations present unique obstacles, such as hills that block visibility between total stations and servers and unreliable or non-existent cellular or internet connectivity. Ethernet (LAN or ISP), radio (Serial or Ethernet) and cellular (Modem or Trimble Settop M1) are three communication choices for automated monitoring, each with its own constraints and advantages.
The optimal automated monitoring setup is determined by these key communication considerations:
- Type of sensor: total station, GNSS receiver, geotechnical sensor
- Range: distance between sensor and server
- Obstacles: hills, tunnels, buildings, etc.
- Visibility: line of sight between sensor and server
- Local regulations: accessible radio channels and WiFi
- Existing communication infrastructure: interference and outages
After identifying the challenges and available communication methods for your particular situation, an automated monitoring system setup can be designed. The following are examples of common project scenarios that can be addressed with the correct communication equipment:
|Scenario 1||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Construction Monitoring||Easiest scenario because the Total Station is typically near Ethernet; Cellular and radio are possible||
||Use a Device Server, such as Moxa Serial, to connect T4D to the Total Station; Ethernet also connects to a GNSS Receiver|
|Scenario 2||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Bridge Monitoring||Total station is visible but too far for Ethernet; No cellular/ networking infrastructure||
||Control up to 3 Robotic Total Stations per radio simultaneously; external antenna adds range|
|Scenario 3||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Dam Monitoring||No cellular/ networking infrastructure; no visibility between server location and total station||
||Ethernet radio with a repeater; can add a GNSS Receiver; repeater adds range|
|Scenario 4||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Open Pit Mine Monitoring #1||No visibility between server location and total station||
||Use the Settop M1 with cellular connectivity; M1 controls total station and thus saves bandwidth, it also backs up data if there is a communication outage|
|Scenario 5||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Open Pit Mine Monitoring #2||No visibility between server location and total station||
||With cellular communications available, use a cellular modem with serial connection; can add a GNSS Receiver|
|Scenario 6||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Tunnel Monitoring||No visibility between server location and total station; No cellular infrastructure||
||Ethernet and Settop M1 provide reliable communications in tunnels; M1 backs up data if there is a communication outage|
|Scenario 7||Challenge||Available Communications||System Setup||Benefits|
|Landslide Monitoring||No visibility between server location and total station||
||Use the Settop M1 with Ethernet radio; M1 backs up data if there is a communication outage|
To learn how Automated Monitoring and Trimble 4D Control can protect your assets and avoid business interruptions, watch the Trimble Monitoring Power Hour webinar or contact the Trimble Monitoring team here.