Cellular monitoring uses the same technology as wireless phones and mobile devices, which is essentially a radio. The technology uses varying frequency ranges and technologies to expand the number of devices that can access the band or cell simultaneously. The cellular network enables more traffic within each frequency by breaking the coverage area into cells that function almost as separate networks. The result is fast, reliable communication in most parts of the world.
Cellular networks work well for broadcast messages or for alerts. Cellular monitoring has been used in home and building security systems, plant and equipment status monitoring, environmental monitoring such as temperature or humidity, and data transfer between computers.
Cellular monitoring typically uses the GSM protocol. The main advantage of cellular monitoring is that it is easier and less expensive to implement than hard-wired monitoring systems. As long as there is a nearby cell tower supporting the right frequency range, it is reliable and reasonably secure. In addition, many cellular devices work even during a power failure. Cellular is an ideal solution for data logging information that can be updated periodically in a batch. It is not a good choice for continuous monitoring and communication requirements.
Pros of Cellular Monitoring
- Readily available, as long as there is coverage in the area
- Inexpensive for data logging and batch transfers
- Ideal for monitoring remote locations like storage tank levels
Cons of Cellular Monitoring
- Bandwidth limitations and availability in congested areas
- Requires local data logging to ensure uninterrupted data availability