NCD's IoT Edge Computer
Introducing NCD’s first IoT edge computer with integrated LTE Cellular, Ethernet, WiFi, and DigiMesh long-range wireless communications. Designed specifically for Node-RED users seeking a Cellular LTE communications solution to connect NCD sensors to multiple cloud platforms. Integrated WiFi and Ethernet communications makes it possible to communicate sensor data over local area networks. Powered by OpenWRT, this linux based computer comes pre-loaded with Node-RED and a NCD sensor parsing flow ready to communicate to a wide array of communication technologies and cloud platforms. The integrated MicroSD card slot makes data logging possible with extra software. Integrated user-programmable Blue 128×64 OLED display makes it possible to display connection status information.
Integrated long-range wireless 900MHz communications is used to collect data from localized NCD sensors up to 2 Miles from the NCD IoT Edge computer. This device is compatible with all NCD sensors using the pre-loaded Node-RED flow. Experienced Node-RED users may push NCD sensor data to Losant, Ubidots, Amazon® AWS®, Microsoft® Azure®, and MQTT using any combination of Cellular LTE, Ethernet, or WiFi. Keep NCD IoT sensor data local using the integrated WiFi or Ethernet connection or use Cellular LTE as a failsafe backup if local network communications is lost. The NCD IoT Edge Computer serves an ideal gateway solution for experienced Node-RED users, offering unparalleled flexibility in configuration for all communication technologies.
Configuring NCD's IoT Edge Computer
Upon unboxing the IoT Edge Computer, it is ready to be set up. To do so, first connect to the computer and open this new user friendly interface that allows for customization of the edge computer’s settings. NCD’s IoT Edge Computer Setup Guide is provided under the Resources Tab above and will serve as the overall manual for setup and initial use of this device.
NCD’s IoT Edge Computer comes with Node-RED pre-loaded as well as the Node-RED libraries and examples that will make getting started with using Node-RED less of a hassle.
Another useful feature accommodating NCD’s IoT Edge Computer is the terminal that is built into the UI. The Terminal Tab opens a new terminal window straight from this UI providing convenient access to download libraries, apply updates, and run various other text based commands.
NCD’s IoT Edge Computer UI consists of multiple user friendly functions that are provided for configuration of the IoT Edge Computer settings. Here, the user has access to settings and information regarding the WiFi Network, Ethernet, and LTE Network used by the edge computer.
A Route Metric can be set for each Network connectivity method which will create an order for which the edge computer attempts to connect and transfer data. The lower the value that is set for Route Metric, the higher the priority of that Network Option. Therefore, if WiFi is set to 1, Ethernet is set to 3, and LTE is set to 2, then the IoT Edge Computer upon being powered on will first attempt to connect to WiFi. If it fails to connect to WiFi, it will then attempt LTE Cellular Service.
Currently, Verizon® and Hologram® LTE services have been tested for this device and are compatible. Follow the setup guide to learn how to connect to a LTE Network with this edge computer.
Testing with Node-RED
By simply clicking the Node-RED Tab, the application will automatically open in a new window and provide a sample flow build to work with.
Node-RED is a UI based drag and drop solution. It can be used to view data locally or to push to AWS®, Azure®, MQTT. Node-RED also allows users to store data on a local database as well as send email and test alerts.
As mentioned before, examples and libraries are pre-installed. However, if you ever want to update or install more libraries, you can do so by using the terminal function.
More information about Node-RED and how to use it can be found in this documentation found under the Learn Section of our website.
Data Logging with the IoT Edge Computer
NCD’s IoT Edge Computer provides 8GB of flash storage as well as a USB port and SD card slot. The user can utilize these additional storage locations if they wish to purchase extra storage space in the form of external drives or SD cards.
NCD’s IoT Edge Computer supports Database Logging, a feature that allows the user to store data transmitted from their sensor. Database logging is essential if you are needing to collect data samples and store them for a later use, whether it be for visualization, analysis, or simply for keeping record of sensor data.