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Innovative Thinking

Remote Monitoring with Telemetry, Part 2

Posted on May 10, 2016 by Jeff Bishop


In Remote Monitoring with Telemetry: Part 1,  we reviewed the top 10 advantages of using radio telemetry for remote monitoring. Those benefits included faster response time, lower cost, security, low maintenance, ease-of-use, and more. But there's also more to telemetry than the basics. In Part 2, we'll take a look at transmission distance and signal power for use of telemetery in automation solutions.

Wireless Radio Transmission Distance

Propagation characteristics of radio waves are subject to many variables that affect the range and performance of a radio system. The main consideration is the loss in the transmission path between the transmitter and receiver. Factors affecting this loss are obstacles and power loss.

The most reliable system will employ a "line-of-sight" design where the radio wave travels directly from the transmitting antenna to the receiving antenna without obstructions.  Achieving these line-of-sight conditions is difficult, often requiring careful site selection and the erecting of towers to avoid obstructions.

The curvature of the also earth limits the line-of-sight distance. If the transmitting and receiving antennas are too far apart, the horizon will block the radio wave. The maximum line-of-sight transmission distance is determined by antenna height and by limiting any obstruction barriers.


Once a transmission path is determined, signal power comes in to play. In general, signal power decreases in proportion to the square of the distance. For example, if the distance doubles, power decreases by four times. In actual installations, power drops off much faster because of attenuation caused by obstructions, trees, foliage, and other factors.

A site survey should be used to establish a telemetry systems communication path, but nothing will verify communication better than a site test using actual radios.


Will my sites work for remote monitoring with radio telemetry?

Talk to us at Premier Automation. Our engineering team has in-depth experience in complex radio telemetry applications for remote monitoring in the water management industry. We can design, specify, and implement a telemetry system that will fit your budget, time frame, and unique needs. Premier Automation is passionate about finding innovative automation solutions for the success of our customers. Ready for a free consultation? We're here to help in any way we can:

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