Understanding the Workings of the SignalFire Wireless Telemetry System. Your Frequently-Asked Questions Answered.

Understanding the Workings of the SignalFire Wireless Telemetry System. Your Frequently-Asked Questions Answered.

You asked, so we are answering some of your frequently asked questions about the SignalFire Remote Sensing System. For technical support, contact us at support@signal-fire.com or 978-212-2868 x2.

SignalFire Products

How Many Nodes Can a Single Gateway Support?

The SignalFire Remote Sensing System (SFRSS) is composed of radio nodes that power and extract data from sensors for transmission to a Gateway that serves as the central processing hub. The Gateway can support up to 240 Modbus slave addresses and, therefore, 240 SFRSS nodes.

It is essential to manage network traffic when determining the maximum size of the remote sensing system. Understanding network traffic helps dictate over-the-air configuration (OTA) and remote sessions using PACTware when working with a HART device.

The availability of outside communications (i.e., cellular, satellite, RS485, Ethernet) dictate the Gateway locations and drives the actual number of nodes. Typically, most of our customer’s installations operate between 3 and 75 modules.

What Kinds of Sensors Interface with the Signal Remote Sensing System?

While many wireless networking systems restrict sensor selection to one or two types, the SFRSS allows users to integrate many sensor types to monitor assets. The user chooses the best sensor for each application, and the SignalFire wireless system ties them together. SignalFire nodes commonly work with the following sensor types (interfaces shown in parentheses):

  • All HART instruments
  • Guided Wave Radar Tank Level Sensors (Analog, HART, Modbus)
  • Pressure Sensors and Transmitters (Analog, HART, Modbus)
  • Level Switches and Sensors (Analog, Digital Out)
  • Flow Meters (Digital (counts), Modbus)
  • Valves and Motor Controllers (Digital I/O)
  • Vibration Sensor (HART-based)
  • Thermocouples

With the capability to integrate with various sensors simultaneously, the SignalFire Remote Sensing System can provide continuous status on different assets. For example, tubing and casing pressures as well as heater-treater temperatures, gas flare temperatures, tank levels, flow, well shut-in, RTUs and other oilfield measurements and controls can be seamlessly integrated into a single system using the SignalFire Telemetry equipment. Read about how remote sensing systems Monitor Tubing and Casing Pressures for Equipment Safety, Optimized Production.

How Do I Get Each Node to Communicate with the Gateway?

Installation is easy as nodes automatically configure within a SignalFire mesh network. A mesh network allows wireless nodes to utilize neighboring nodes to relay or “hop” messages to a central location (Gateway).

Each node determines the “best path” to the Gateway based on information derived from nearby nodes. The message will get through as long as there is a communications path. The intuitiveness of the nodes allows the system to automatically adjust to changes so data can take alternative routes when necessary to its ultimate destination.

Read about how the self-configuring capability of the mesh network proved essential in a tank level monitoring application that required frequent network changes.

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Shown is a configuration of Sentinel radio nodes in one network that tie into a single Gateway. The nodes gather data from sensors installed on tanks for transmission to the Gateway that formats it for accessibility by a PLC. Robust gateways can accommodate hundreds of transceiver inputs from field sensors, enabling the network to cover a large geographic range.

Sandro Esposito serves as Sales & Marketing Director for SignalFire Telemetry Inc, with responsibilities for managing the portfolio and commercialization of the company’s wireless telemetry solutions. In addition to possessing more than 24 years of experience in the process control and automation industry, he holds six patents and has published 12 papers related to industrial controls and smart technologies. A graduate of College Ahuntsic in Montreal, he holds a Bachelors degree in electrical and instrumentation engineering and is actively involved in the International Society of Automation.