Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Digi radio cuts through noise for oil and gas platforms

Steve Rogerson
January 21, 2015

For industries with remote assets such as oil and gas exploration and production, utilities and precision agriculture, the Digi XLR Pro is claimed to be the first unlicensed 900MHz radio to transmit more than 160km even in noisy RF environments.
 
Using Minnesota-based Digi’s patent-pending Punch2 technology to overcome noisy RF environments, the 1W wide-band radio supports data rates of beyond 3Mbit/s.
 
"Wired Ethernet and serial connectivity aren't always practical at many of our customers' remote sites," said Sam Utley, communication products manger from Utah-based Campbell Scientific. "We're excited to have the Digi XLR Pro to offer customers who have to deal with tough radio environments. We've never been able to provide a radio that can gather and reliably transmit data this fast at these distances. To my knowledge, there's no other product that provides that powerful combination of reliability, distance and speed."
 
Punch2 technology is optimised for reliable, long-range data communications in challenging RF environments. It uses chirp spread spectrum (CSS) modulation, which uses its entire allocated bandwidth to broadcast a signal, allowing it to break easily through noisy RF environments.
 
Currently, typical radios use either direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) or frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS), which can distort the data signal by adding random elements to the signal to help distinguish it from other RF noise. Punch2’s use of CSS relies on the linear nature of the chirp gaining advantages such as better receive sensitivity, immunity from transmission interference and the ability to transmit data over long distances without degradation of the signal.
 
“Digi XLR Pro is a game-changer because it allows companies to reliably send large amounts of field data over long distances in challenging environments,” said Joel Young, chief technical officer for Digi. “In ultra-noisy, RF environments, this radio filters out interference better than any other radio on the market today.”
 
The radio is said to be simple to use and requires no programming. It can be configured using the company’s XCTU configuration platform and can be managed and maintained with its device cloud manager.