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Monday, July 24, 2017

Echelon moves LON protocol into wireless mesh for the first time for smart lighting

By Nick Flaherty

One of the original low cost networking chip developers, Echelon, has run its LON protocol over a wireless mesh network for the first time.

Echelon was one of the pioneers of the Internet of Things, and has launched a multi-protocol system on a chip called the Neuron 6050. This is being used by a design house in Germany called who to create a new transceiver that uses LON over the Wirepas Connectivity RF-mesh wireless technology for the first time.

The Neuron 6050 IP Processor (below) incorporates communication and control functions on a single chip, in both hardware and firmware, to handle LonTalk, LonTalk/IP or BACnet/IP devices. This allows system integrators to build large scale, interoperable wireless systems based on protocols that have been tested over millions of endpoints worldwide. In a first application, the Vossloh-Schwabe division of Panasonic will incorporate the new device into a large scale outdoor lighting controls (OLC) system. 

Vossloh-Schwabe (VS) has designed the system using Wirepas for large scale wireless Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including smart city street lighting with thousands of nodes. VS and who are currently testing the new solution using Wirepas and expect to complete a project in a large city in Germany early next year that will empower approximately 1000 streetlights with the new technology over a 10 km area. 

The companies have begun the process of submitting this new LON-over-Wirepas specification to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and to LonMark International for standardization, with adoption of the new LonMark channel expected early next year.

"The Wirepas and LonWorks protocols are organized in similar fashion so creating the interface between them was simplified," said who mbH managing partner, Henning Woock. "And using the Echelon Neuron 6050 chip was the most natural choice to ensure full multi-vendor interoperability. We are excited to be the first to bring to market new transceivers that incorporate all of these excellent technologies. There is pent-up demand in big cities and campuses that have been waiting for a solution that can efficiently address large and complex networks of devices from multiple suppliers."

Wirepas has been widely deployed in various large scale applications including smart electricity and water meters, asset tracking applications and street lighting. The largest deployment, which is ongoing, comprises 1.6 million smart electricity meters in Norway.

"This advancement in controls communication demonstrates the ongoing benefit of LON standardisation and leverages our investment in the new Neuron 6050 system on a chip," said Ron Sege, Chairman and CEO of Echelon. "This is a groundbreaking development. For the first time LON protocol can be used to communicate wirelessly over large scale networks spanning thousands of nodes over vast distances."

"We are delighted to see these exciting new products that will be joining the LonMark family of fully interoperable solutions," said Henny Wieland, Europe Manager, LonMark International. "Working with our members, we anticipate bringing the new LonMark RF, Powerline, and IP channels to the various international standards bodies as extensions to the ISO/IEC 14908 suite of LON standards."

Over the last 25 years Echelon has had over 110 million devices installed worldwide, focusing on smart cities and smart enterprises through connected outdoor lighting systems, and enabling device makers to bring connected products to market faster via a range of IoT-optimized embedded systems. 

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