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3/31/2008
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Arch Rock Builds Internet Protocol Links Into Wireless Sensors

By combining nodes with Internet Protocol capabilities, wireless sensor nets get the same addressing, naming, and management as the rest of the enterprise network.

Wireless sensor vendor Arch Rock has Internet Protocol-enabled its end points to eliminate the need for a separate router with each sensor and to enable wireless sensor networks (WSNs) to interact more richly with enterprise systems and applications.

Arch Rock's new PhyNet platform consists of three elements. The PhyNet Server takes applications built for wireless sensors and makes them more widely available across the enterprise. A Web-based interface handles setup, diagnostics, and management to discover, register, move, and configure nodes, Arch Rock said Monday in a statement.

The PhyNet Router connects 6LoWPAN-based WSNs via Wi-Fi and Ethernet interfaces to diverse WAN links and allows deployments of nodes that are physically separate from server-based applications. The router establishes a backbone and configures the routing table for the WSN; it also handles IPv4-to-IPv6 protocol translation, provides packet encryption/decryption, and authentication. 6LoWPAN is the recently finalized standard for IPv6 communication over low-power wireless IEEE 802.15.4 personal area networks.

The IPserial Node connects the WSN with digital meters, thermometers, weather stations, biometric equipment, and to data loggers using RS-232 and RS-485 interfaces.

WSNs are intended for large-scale applications including energy management, safety enforcement, environmental monitoring, and emerging energy-generation technologies. PhyNet allows management services and applications to reside in a corporate data center, while the sensor nodes and networking functions can be more removed -- throughout a building, machine room, or large landfill, for example, the vendor said Monday.

"The dual benefit here is to make sensor networks fit the IP network paradigm for addressing, naming, and management," said Roland Acra, CEO of Arch Rock. "The other key benefit is it allows you to build apps that might involve more devices than are inside the mesh radio network," he added.

All the PhyNet products are available immediately. An entry-level system for $7,995 includes one PhyNet Server, two PhyNet Routers, 10 IPsensor Nodes (analog), and two IPserial Nodes.

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