While it’s clear Wi-Fi keeps us connected in many facets of our lives, it might come as a surprise to learn that the majority of universities and laboratories don’t leverage Wi-Fi to connect instruments and sensor systems to the internet. 

As it turns out, there are very good reasons for that. Here are five of them:

Reason #1: Security

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi technology is quite susceptible to hacking these days. With hacking tool kits readily available, individuals can easily exploit vulnerabilities in a university or lab’s Wi-Fi and gain access to private and sensitive data.

Reason #2: Longevity

Most Wi-Fi networks are not set up for long-term connections. The majority of networks will automatically disconnect Wi-Fi devices after a period of two, four, six, or more hours. Instruments and sensors in a university or lab need to be permanently connected to the internet.

Reason #3: Reliability

Like Bluetooth, ZigBee, Z-Wave, and other standard wireless technologies, Wi-Fi can struggle to penetrate through the walls and floors of large buildings. Most of these technologies use a radio frequency of 2.4 GHz — which, while supplying ample bandwidth for videos and downloads, is absorbed by water molecules concentrated in building materials like concrete, cinder block, plaster, and drywall. This means that the wireless signals are absorbed before they can even make it through the walls or floors. 

Note that Wi-Fi can also use a radio frequency of 5.8 GHz, which can only penetrate one or two thin walls.

Reason #4: Password Protection

Wi-Fi generally requires a password that must be entered through a keyboard or other input method. Since Wi-Fi passwords are subject to change at least once a year, instruments and sensor systems will be disconnected from the Wi-Fi network until the new password is entered.

Reason #5: Connectivity

Wi-Fi networks will often disconnect devices that are inactive for a period of time, so it’s important to keep up a low level of traffic to maintain the connection. This can deplete batteries faster than normal.

If the Wi-Fi connection is not strong, devices will need to increase transmit power when sending data to the internet. This further causes battery life to deplete at a faster rate.

The Alternative to Wi-Fi Technology

The reasons highlighted above illustrate why devices and systems at major universities and institutions that need continuous internet connections typically don’t use Wi-Fi. Instead, they use dedicated Ethernet ports. These ports provide permanent connections to the internet along with improved data security.

These variables provide context to how the CORIS sensor system works. Connected to an Ethernet port, the CORIS Gateway transfers temperature and other readings from sensors to the cloud-based CORIS servers — where data is permanently stored. With LoRa wireless technology used to transmit readings from the sensors to the CORIS Gateway, signals can be reliably sent across a much wider range than Wi-Fi while vastly enhancing security. That way, you’ll always get the data you need, with fewer concerns around vulnerabilities.

Learn more about how our monitoring system can support your operations. Contact us today.

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