IIITH Campus Gets Smart And Pervasive Wireless Network

A campus-wide Wi-SUN network was established by the IIIT Hyderabad Smart City Living Lab in collaboration with Silicon Labs, a leader in secure, intelligent wireless technology, to facilitate research and solutions for the internet of things (IoT) and smart cities. An open-standard protocol called Wi-SUN enables interoperable software solutions with multiple layers of protection. Utility companies, municipalities, and other businesses will be able to create a long-range, low-power wireless mesh network connecting thousands of Internet of Things nodes thanks to Wi-SUN.

IIITH Smart City Living Lab was established as a joint venture by the National Cities Mission, the Government of Telangana, and the MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and IT) Silicon Labs, Intel, and Saint Gobain are the lab’s corporate partners, and EBTC (European Business Technology Council) provides knowledge support.

According to Mr Ross Sabolcik, SVP of Industrial and Commercial at Silicon Labs,

“Silicon Labs providing the radio modules or chips, the Smart City Research Centre (SCRC) team created everything from scratch. From the baseboard to the relay circuit to the controller, everything was made in-house. We tested it out in rugged weather conditions including the recent torrential rains.”

Professor Ramesh Loganathan said:

“Smart City Living Lab,a year old now ,is already a testbed for various start-ups and research. IIITH’s campus consists of sensor networks monitoring different verticals such as water, energy, air pollution, solar generation, etc., as well as a strong standards-based data network.”

 

The Wi-SUN network will add to the existing modes of sensor communications on campus, including Wi-Fi and LORA .Wi-Sun needs no tower or expensive communication infructure and allow sensor communication. It needs no towers or expensive communications infrastructure and facilitates sensors to connect easily to the cloud. Plus, it can respond better to outages due to multiple communication paths.In the initial pilot, 30 sensor nodes were installed on some of the campus street lights controllable through the cloud to test the Wi-SUN network.

More Than Lighting Controls

In the initial pilot, 30 sensor nodes were installed on some of the campus street lights controllable through the cloud to test the Wi-SUN network. Prof. Hussain explains that street light poles were chosen for Wi-SUN coverage due to their features such as uniformness, even distribution throughout the campus and the fact that they are powered by the grid. “Switching lights on and off at will from a remote location is just one part of the project; what we are really excited about is that we can now connect any other sensor or IoT device working on Wi-SUN to the cloud through this network,” he says.

With Silicon Labs providing the radio modules or chips, the Smart City Research Centre (SCRC) team created everything from scratch. “From the baseboard to the relay circuit to the controller, everything was made in-house.

Enabling The Lamppost

While the project at IIITH aims to convert all campus street lights to Wi-SUN smart street lights, the larger goal is to enable some of the poles to deliver more than just light. Many cities worldwide are upgrading their street lights not only to make them more energy efficient but also to drive them as ‘enablers’ of smart city solutions. With IIITH serving as a ‘smart campus’ that uses various electronic methods and sensors to collect critical data on air quality, weather, energy consumption, water quality and others, upgrading the humble street lights to deliver these ‘smart city’ services makes sense. Currently, the Living Lab is piloting a single, smart lamppost equipped with the relevant sensors as well as a camera and speaker. Information gathered about air quality and weather is delivered through a digital display.

The goal of this project is to lay the groundwork for future research studies into the Wi-SUN network. It will also feature challenges for start-ups to develop solutions for smart cities using the Wi-SUN network, in an effort to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies in smart cities.

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September 13, 2022