Cellular networks provide internet connectivity options for locations where wired internet access is not possible. This allows for access to remote sites for monitoring and troubleshooting. Cellular networks range from low-speed Cat-M1 and NB-IoT to LTE Cat versions for high-speed networks to satisfy different application needs. Contemporary Controls offers a range of Cellular IP routers with LTE Cat 1 speeds of 10Mbps for remote access for Building Automation applications. Different EIGR-C Cellular router models are certified for use on Verizon Networks in the U.S. and LTE carriers in Europe.
The cellular router needs the correct Access Point Name (APN) to be configured that matches the SIM for the network. The cellular WAN IP port is assigned an IP address by the cellular network provider. To conserve IP addresses, this address is usually a NAT'ed address and not a real public address. This allows the devices on the LAN-side of the IP router to have internet access but does not provide access to the router from the internet. If access to the device is required, a Public IP (sometimes also called a Static IP) must be specifically requested from the cellular provider for an additional fee. The APN used for Public IP address is different than the regular APN and must be properly configured in the router.
Another aspect to consider is the amount of data required for your application. The data plans and their associated costs vary considerably. Caution should be exercised to avoid expensive data overages. A common issue seen is a Windows PC running automatic updates. Contemporary Controls offers a range of cellular data plans – with options for fixed monthly data to keep the costs in check as well as overage options for critical applications where constant internet connectivity is required.
The cellular IP routers offer a convenient option for site startup where wired internet connectivity has not been established yet. Once wired internet is installed, the wired port on the EIGR-C can be used for internet access. Or the cellular router can be replaced with a wired EIGR model, and the EIGR-C can be used at a different site.