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April 16, 2021 LTE Cat.1 Modem for Automatic Meter Reading (AMR)

  Industry Background

  In recent years, the IoT-based metering industry has rapidly grown, with a big increase in the shipment proportion of smart meters. However, a number of meters not supported by IoT remain in real market scenes. To transmit the metering data to a cloud platform for unified management, we must ensure that meters are connected to IoT. Currently, high costs result from the replacement of many meters. In this situation, appropriate network-connected communication equipment can, if selected, not only reduce costs but also save manpower, avoiding related construction on a large scale.


  Meters not using IoT must be networked through operators because wired networks require much laying work. As a result, costs are lower than those from meter replacement. Many old meters communicate through 485 bus; data is transmitted by the Modbus protocol. Therefore, LTE Cat 1 modem offers a good option.

  At the low and medium rates (the uplink rate 5M and the downlink rate 10M), LTE CAT.1 has the same communication delay as CAT4. Additionally, LTE CAT.1 can directly use the existing 4G base stations. Excellent network compatibility, low power consumption, and low cost enable LTE CAT.1 modem to meet the requirements of application scenarios of edge computing-based meter reading.

  An IoT cloud platform is connected to bus 485 of a meter through Cat.1 Modem. After a rotation training command is issued from the platform terminal at regular intervals, the modem issues the received command receives the returned metering data and transmits the data to the cloud platform through an LTE Cat 1 network.

  Of course, collection rounding, data edge computing, and other functions can also be integrated in the modem. Thus, the rounding speed is improved and traffic loss is reduced, so does the computing load of the cloud platform. According to the set time and parameter, the modem issues a rounding command to the meter on bus 485. Upon receipt of a reply, the modem conducts edge computing on the data, and reports eligible data to the platform.

  The platform can also, as the case may be, issue some configuration commands to the modem to configure parameters and monitor the modem status.

  Application Topology:

  Solution Benefits:

  Stable network, high coverage, and low delay

  LTE Cat 1 supports the uplink rate of 5 M and the downlink rate of 10 M.

  LTE Cat 1 works directly with an LTE network, with high coverage.

  Compared with Cat 4, LTE Cat 1 incurs lower costs and delivers milliseconds of delay.

  Cost Saving

  LTE Cat 1 modem can rely on edge computing and rotation training mechanism to save traffic costs and cloud computing costs.

  After Cat 1 modem is connected to the Internet, costs incurred by meter change are saved.

  Secure, Reliable and Efficient Running

  The remote update function of the Cat 1 modem can remotely update not only the system firmware of a meter but also the firmware of the modem, so that bugs can be repaired in time.

  Cat 1 modem can make different adjustments in its different running states.

  If parameters are remotely configured for the modem, the device will be used more easily.

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