Connecting Controller Link to the Internet
 
Controller Link needs to be connected to the Internet.  There are no special configuration requirements because the Controller Link uses standard HTTP protocol to request weather data and instructions from Weather Reach HTTP Severs.  Communication with Weather Reach Network Servers is initiated by the Controller Link, eliminating the need for a static IP address, special port or network settings.  Controller Link supports two Internet connection options:

  • Cat 5 Wired Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
 
Select the method that works best for the site application.  Details to establishing these connection types are described here:

Wi-Fi


Wi-Fi

A Wi-Fi hotspot is a wireless access point that provides Internet access to network devices.  Wi-Fi Internet access must be available at the installed location.
 
Requirements to Use Wi-Fi Hotspots
 
A few pieces of technical information are also required to access Wi-Fi hotspots.  The network name (also called SSID) distinguishes hotspot networks from each other.  Encryption keys (a long series of letters and numbers) scramble the network traffic to and from a hotspot; most businesses require these as well.  Owners / service providers supply this profile information for their hotspots.
 
Finding Wi-Fi Hotspots
 
Controller Link automatically scans for hotspots within range of the wireless signal.  The scan identifies the network name (SSID) of the hotspot allowing a device to initiate a connection.
 
Before installing a Controller Link you can use a smart phone or a gadget called a Wi-Fi finder to scan for hotspot signals.  Most of these devices provide some indication of signal strength.
 
Wi-Fi has a limited range; typically 120 feet (32 meters) indoors and 300 feet (95 meters) outdoors.  Local conditions may reduce this range.  It is possible to significantly improve this range by fitting the equipment with upgraded higher gain directional antennas.  The maximum amount of power that a Wi-Fi device can transmit is limited by government regulations, such as United States FCC Part 15.
 
Connect To Wi-Fi Hotspots
 
The process for connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot works similarly on home, business and public wireless networks.  The owner / operator sets up the profile for a Wi-Fi Access Point (Router / Hotspot) that includes:
1) Network name, also called SSID (Service Set IDentifier)  
2) Encryption setting
Note: Controller Link supports: WEP-128, WPA-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES)
3) Passphrase also called a Network Key.  (A long series of letters and numbers)
 
Once the Controller Link is powered up, it scans to find broadcasting Wi-Fi Access Points.  When configuring the Internet setup in the Controller Link it will present the names of all Access points in the area.  Select the desired Access Point and enter the Passphrase (provided by the Access Point owner/operator). 
 
MAC Address
 
In some cases the Network Administrator may need to set permissions within Network Router.  To do so they will need the MAC (Media Access Control) address, a unique identifier assigned to every network device.  The Controller Link’s MAC address is displayed on the Info screen. 
 
Wi-Fi Radio Specifications
 
Parameter Specifications
Wi-Fi Protocols 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11b/g transceiver
Secure Wi-Fi authentication WEP-128, WPA-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES)
Frequency 2402 ~ 2480MHz
Modulation
 
802.11b compatibility : DSSS(CCK-11, CCK-5.5, DQPSK-2, DBPSK- 1) 802.11g : OFDM (default)
Channel intervals 5MHz
Channels 1 – 14
Transmission rate (over the air) 1 – 11Mbps for 802.11b / 6 – 54Mbps for 802.11g
Receive sensitivity -85dBm typ.
Output level (Class1) +18dBm
Maximum RF input to U.FL connector 10 dBm
Operating Temperature Range 30° C to +85° C
Operating Relative Humidity  ≤ 90%
Certifications FCC / CE/ ICS


 

Cat 5 Wired Ethernet

Cat 5 Wired Ethernet

Connect a standard CAT5 or CAT5e RJ-45 Patch Ethernet Network Cable between the Controller Link and a Router or Switch connected to the Internet. 
 
Cable Guidelines
  • Maximum distance: 100 meters (328 feet)
  • Cable type: Straight through “Patch Cable”
  • Solid conductors are preferred but not required.
  • Shielded cable (STP) is recommended for long runs and noisy environments.
  • Cable insulation suited to the requirements of the installation.
    • UL Certifications (Fire Rating) – highest to lowest:
      • Plenum – CMP
      • Riser – CMR
      • Commercial – CMG, CM
      • Residential – CMX
    • Environmental
    • Outdoor – Water & UV
    • Direct Bury
    • Oil Resistance
  • Grounding
  • Connected devices should have the same ground potential.
 
Network Access Settings
 
There are two options to configure Internet Access when using Wired Ethernet:
 
  • Automatic (DHCP) – IP settings are automatically assigned.  The network must support this capability.
 
Note: DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) When the Controller Link is connected to a network that supports DHCP, the IP Address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway, and DNS Server addresses are automatically sent to the Controller Link.  Retrieving these settings should take a minute or less.
 
OR
 
  • Manual – If the router does not support DHCP contract the Network Administrator.  You will need this information to enter in the Controller Link setup:  
 
·         IP Address:                 __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __
 
·         Subnet Mask:              __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __
 
·         Default Gateway:       __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __
 
·         DNS Server 1:             __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __
 
·         DNS Server 2:             __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __ . __ __ __
 
Note: The Ethernet Controller conforms to IEEE 802.3 specifications and fully supports 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX standards.  Internet communication uses IP Port 80.
 
 
 

Alternatives


Connection Options

 
When an Internet connection is not readily available there are several options to provide an Internet connection.  Installation conditions will vary at each site.  Some applications may require IT professionals to help establish the connection.  Here are examples of approaches that may be utilized:
 
  • Wi-Fi Range Extender
  • Ethernet over Power Line
  • Cellular Wi-Fi
  • Cellular Ethernet
  • Wireless Ethernet Bridge