Thingsee Gateways

Thingsee wireless sensors are preferably connected to a Thingsee Gateway device. The main role of the Thingsee Gateway is to ensure that connectivity between the sensors and the cloud are working and that the local sensor network can be managed and monitored. Thingsee Gateway makes sure that the sensors are initiated and communicating correctly. In addition, Thingsee Gateway handles maintenance tasks like firmware updates, sensor diagnostics, network diagnostics, and recovery operations. The gateway is highly optimized for these use cases, and it has limited resources for any other additional tasks.

Thingsee Gateway is always cellular-connected either through 2G or the upcoming LTE-CatNB and LTE-CatM. In a typical setup, Haltian will provide managed SIM cards and data connection services, but it is possible to use a customer-specific SIM operator if required. In such a case, there needs to be API access to SIM operations for activation, SIM diagnostics and other operative tasks that may be required if the cellular connectivity needs to be analyzed.

Some Thingsee Gateway devices have internal sensors; for example, a GPS, and an accelerometer.

Technically, it is possible to use 3rd party gateway devices, but it is always done as a custom development project.

As the gateway connectivity is based on cellular data, there is a need to reduce data costs resulting from the use of managed M2M SIM subscriptions. It is possible to use consumer SIM subscriptions, but in such case, there will be no API level access to manage and monitor the SIM and cellular connections if any problems are suspected in the connectivity. Also, the reliability of M2M subscriptions is typically higher with the option to use best available operator network through a roaming service.

Data optimization is done by sending only relevant data and sending such data in a format that is more efficient than a plain JSON. Thingsee Gateway communicates with the Thingsee Operations Cloud through a secured AWS IoT MQTT protocol as compressed binary (zipped CBOR) messages.

Thingsee Gateway also has support for a CoAP protocol with CBOR messages, but it has limitations on how the communication can be initiated from the Thingsee Operations Cloud to the gateways. CoAP protocol can be used in products where the gateway battery-life is more critical than real-time data-flow.

ThingseeGATEWAY runs the ThingseeOS which is created on top of a BSD-licenced NuttX RTOS. Haltian frequently contributes low-level development back to the NuttX community so that the latest open source NuttX baseline is always compatible with Thingsee gateway hardware. This way Thingsee development is always up-to-date with the latest features and security patches from the community.

ThingseeGATEWAY firmware is not published as an open source or as an SDK.

ThingseeGATEWAY certificates are deployed by using the Thingsee Operations Certificate API which will have two main functions:

  • a gateway can request a certificate based on its identification parameters (from manufacturing)
  • a gateway confirms a received certificate and connects to an assigned Thingsee Operations Profile

This is the initial procedure for all the gateways as it is the way how gateways are allocated to different Thingsee Operations Profiles. When the gateway requests a certificate, it will also receive Thingsee Operation Profile data and other information required to make a connection to a specific profile.

The generated certificate is stored to AWS IoT so that the MQTT(S) communication is authenticated between the specific Thingsee Operations stack and the gateways. The same certificate or its status must also be stored to the master inventory among with the other inventory data so that its status can be revoked or renewed if needed.

A thing deployment and activation are tailored based on the actual product as it requires communication through the customer application and services layers. There are some cases where activation is done during the manufacturing process, but typically, at least with products having cellular connectivity, cost optimization is achieved by keeping SIM subscriptions deactivated until the device is taken in use.

One method for activation is to use a QR code to scan the device information and then activate that specific device through the Thingsee ToolBox Mobile application. The activation process may take some minutes depending on what the parameters are, and what subprocesses need to be done in the Thingsee Operations side.

For example, activating SIM subscription to a specific region with specific subscription parameters typically takes 5-10 minutes before a data and voice call are operational.

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