4G or upcoming 5G industrial routers are used in various scenarios as the digital transition is spread out globally. If you are trying to build a network for your business or factories, you may need to purchase an industrial router rather than a home-use router. My next article will introduce the difference between home use router and industrial router and please feel free to check it out if you are confused about those two then.

While not all of the procurement staff are CCNA certificated. So it could be tough for them to choose the “right router” for the company, as there would be some specialized network knowledge.

So how to choose an industrial 4G router? And from what aspects should we consider?

Quality Selection

1.Brands

The Brand is a symbol of quality and guaranty. Unlike the fashion industry that has been around for hundreds of years, some of their brands have become household names, the industrial IoT is a relatively young industry. You might need to understand IoT brands from:

  • Their customer cases,
  • Recommendation from your friends around,
  • Comments on search engines, e-commerce platforms like Amazon,
  • And their partners.

A good brand doesn’t mean that you have to pay more. Inversely, many companies have introduced economical industrial routers besides high-performance industrial routers.

2. Security

Security is one of the most critical concerns of IoT, closely related to data ethics, privacy, and liability. A good network security system largely helps businesses reduce the risk of falling victim to data theft and sabotage. Significantly it must be built in every step of the design of the whole network system’s transit, which means you have to work on reducing data security issues both before and after purchasing the router. When considering the selection of an industrial router, we can compare security features as below:

  • APV/VPN

Most industrial routers come with an APV/VPN secure tunnel, as it is safer for data to be transmitted through a dedicated tunnel. There are many VPN transmission protocols, among which openVPN and IPSec protocols are the most commonly used and cover the most scenarios, while other transmission protocols are relatively less used. Therefore, before you buy an industrial router, check out what VPN protocols your network requires, and remember there is no need to request multiple VPN protocols if there is no special needs.

  • Firewall

The Firewall is a security barrier between LAN and WAN. Through the basic setting of the firewall, you can shield part of the internal network IP address and free setting of IP address and filter communication ports, etc., While in data transmission, the most important value of firewall is to prevent hacker attack and virus invasion. If any 4G industrial router does not have a firewall, you can basically give up the choice.

  • Watchdog Timer

A watchdog timer (sometimes called a computer operating properly or COP timer, or simply a watchdog) is an electronic or software timer that is used to detect and recover from computer malfunctions. When the MCU is working properly, it outputs a signal at regular intervals, a process called feeding the dog. The watchdog timer is mainly to provide safety protection for projects that need to operate continuously for a long time to avoid a crash. When the system has a problem, it can quickly restore the normal working state. So, if you need a long continuously operating network, the watchdog timer is necessary.

3. Stability

Stability is a core factor in the quality of an industrial router, as critical as the human heart. Stable transmission normally equipped with high precision components, such as:

  • Industrial-grade 4G high-speed transmission module: Operate easily in the harsh working environment.
  • CPU processor of 32-bit ARM: CPU processing speed is increased by 2–3 times to meet the requirements of stable transmission of large data such as pictures and videos. And the power consumption is low on the premise of meeting the performance requirements.
  • Metal material housing: shielding electromagnetic interference, radiation protection, which lightning protection design is especially suitable for the harsh environment of industrial projects;
  • Circuit protection: electromagnetic compatibility EMC industrial design protection, ESD(interface) anti-static design, EFT anti-pulse. The PCB is made of high-quality materials, which ensures the stability of the plate from the hardware. With the industrial design of circuit protection, the circuit transmission system is stable and reliable.
  • Perfect protocol stack: The perfect TCP/IP protocol stack makes the network communication performance excellent, and the probability of dropping the line greatly reduced;
  • Memory: the function of memory is to receive data packets while relieving the data sent by users. It is necessary to ensure stable transmission and data packets will not be lost. Large memory is the biggest helper.
  • Wide voltage: If you have a perfect router, while the voltage does not match, is also a monk with a comb — not useful. Normally a wide voltage of 36V will match the 99% of projects in China. So don’t forget to check the voltage you require.
  • Industrial Din-Rail installation: the shaky industrial router will affect the stability of data transmission, and a fixed transmission device does not have this danger. The 4G industrial router with guide rail buckle is easy to install, simple and stable.

Industrial 4G Router Purpose Selection

1. Scope of application

Since it is the choice of industrial router, it will not consider the home-level router. The applicable scope of the industrial router should match all the parameters and indicators of your project’s requirements. For example, for outdoor industrial projects in Canada, where the winter temperature is about -4℃-40℃, so it is necessary to choose an industrial router with a wide temperature range for normal operation under such a temperature.

If it is used in the intelligent vehicle telematics system, the project may require relatively high data transmission speed, then the equipment with higher transmission speed is selected.

2. Network selection

Different network categories such as LTE CAT1 or LTE CAT4 will be used in the different projects. CAT1 is ideal for low power, low cost, low data rate requirements, and CAT4 is used primarily for high data rates. Consequently, CAT4 is used primarily in CCTV, video surveillance, ANPR, Asset tracking, environmental monitoring, and so on, where near-permanent connection and high data rate communication is necessary. For applications such as signage, ATMs, metering, and car park payments, CAT1 is a more suitable route to take. Different bands need to be considered for different regions at the same time. (Ref: https://www.hologram.io/blog/how-to-understand-the-different-lte-iot-device-categories)

3. Interface selection

The communication interface of an industrial router usually involves WLAN port, LAN port, 4G/Wi-Fi antenna, and even a serial port (RS232\485). Just check what communication interface your project requires. For projects that do not require too many WAN ports, you can choose a smaller number of WAN routers, which is also more economical.

4. Quantity of downstream devices

The downstream devices quantity of a router is mainly based on the actual scale of the project and the number of Internet equipment. If there are no special needs, 10–20 downstream devices can accommodate most industrial projects. While for some smart city’s project, like elevator connectivity, two downstream devices (elevator and camera) is enough for a router.

This is how you can choose the right industrial router for your project. InHand InRouter300 meets the functions of the most general industrial routers but also cost-effective, compact, widely used, and well-received.

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