Public Lab Wiki documentation

Getting sensor data to the internet

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Iridium satellite

  • satellite modem network that has had a monopoly for a while, lots of .gov use.
  • Range-- everywhere outdoors, some indoor locations.
  • CONS: $$$$ FYI, lowest cost option is $0.20 for a 50-character text.


Direct RF to Internet


(Internet at a coffee shop near you.) * Range- 300 ft on the best of days - * Benefits - pretty widely available, familiar, localize * Not-so-beneficial - often private, limited range, device can get forced out (this is why routers need resetting)


(the mobile phone protocol.) * Range - pretty much line of site to tower. * Benefits - Its EVERYWHERE (see: Verizon commercial), * CONS: Cost much money per message * ISSUES: There are a million standards * WHERE TO FIND COVERAGE

RF Data Transfer

Zigbee (Xbee) IEEE 802.15 standard.

  • Pro: Mid-range depending on router placement, only one device (router) needs access to the internet. Arduino libraries available.
  • CONS: Not simple to set up


  • Requires amateur radio license.
  • no encrypted transmissions/ all data public
  • no commercial content

900Mhz radio


  • short range protocol supported by a range of devices, available as microcontroller serial modems.

bluetooth LE:

blue tooth low energy is a new bluetooth standard supported by fewer devices. Now integrated into some system on a chip packages from ARM.


very short range, low power system built on RFID.