The expanded use of IoT has been a gamechanger in transforming businesses and improving the lives of ordinary people. But one of its standstills has been power supply issues that continue to be a formidable barrier to its progression.
At the recent Mobility Field Day event, Ventev, the manufacturer of Wi-Fi and wireless infrastructure products, introduced the Ventev Integrated UPS Power System with lithium-ion batteries. Designed to extend the juice of a range of IoT devices, this system is the answer to the anxiety around running out of power.
Extending the Enterprise outside Office Buildings
IoT equipment like routers, switches, IP cameras and access points are often set up in outdoor locations to service square miles of open areas. Think of the free internet service in the downtown area, or neighborhood security cameras. These IoT equipment are stationed across different points, hooked to the available power supply in the areas covered.
But outdoor operations of these equipment is neither easy, nor inexpensive. Power outages create nuisance causing services to fluctuate and drop intermittently. Without power, the devices are dead, and what use is a dead device? Many of the power systems available to provide battery backup are not made weather-proof, meaning they are unsustainable to operate in open spaces.
An Integrated UPS Power System
Ventev has a power solution that tackles both the problems. It’s integrated UPS power system with lithium batteries is designed to significantly extend the battery backup time of these devices.
But the power system cannot be exposed to the weather. “The gear we use is all industrial-rated, but it’s not really capable of being out in the elements and the harsh environments on its own,” say John Hess, Product Manager.
To keep the outdoor conditions from causing a negative impact on the components, the system is fitted inside a metal casing that keeps the components shielded from the elements.
“The desire here is for customers who want to push or extend the enterprise outside of a building to be able to get outside. You’re basically bringing the equipment and network into the outside space,” he said.
Besides working as a protective surrounding to the power system, the enclosure is designed to seamlessly integrate with any DIN rail mounted IoT equipment – security, monitoring, edge computing, you name it. “You pick what you want to put in there. It just needs to be DIN rail mount compatible,” says Hess.
The enclosures come in a selection of materials like stainless steel, polycarbonate and aluminum, to meet the specific needs of different environments. Inside, is a stack of lithium-ion batteries, battery charger, and other accessories like fan and vent for temperature control. “These are thermostat controlled to keep them cool from an operation temperature standpoint,” told Hess.
Ventev’s integrated UPS power system is compatible with a gamut of industrial IoT networking and data solution products including those of Cisco that are widely seen in IoT environments and smart cities. Ventev is also an authorized design-in partner with HPE Aruba. “We work with a host of other switch and radio manufacturers as well,” adds Hess.
Ventev historically uses lead-acid batteries for these power systems. But recently, it has added lithium batteries to the list. This, Hess shared, is because Lithium-ion batteries have twice the life of legacy batteries. Where lead-acid batteries typically last 5 to 7 years, these batteries constructed with LiFePO4 have a lifespan of 10 years or 2000 cycles.
In the event of an outage, these batteries can provide up to two hours of backup time in max load. By contrast, regular batteries last only half that time.
Does this shift to lithium batteries mean that the lead-acid variety will no longer be available? The answer is no. “We’re not moving away from lead-acid. This is an extension of the product line. You would be able to get it either way,” assures Hess.
To enable existing users to upgrade to lithium, Ventev offers a lithium battery retro kit that comes with a 48 Volt battery and all accompanying fixtures. It is backward compatible for all Ventev systems, meaning any current user can switch to lithium with this drop-in replacement kit. The upgrade takes only 5 minutes, says Hess.
With Ventev’s UPS system powering outdoor IoT equipment, users do not have to worry about monitoring the equipment physically at great operational costs.
“These batteries basically double the life of the system, all from the operational standpoint, backup standpoint and life standpoint,” said Hess.