Cellnet - Providing Wireless Communication Solutions for the Water and Wastewater Industry

Much like a giant fishnet over a service area, Cellnet® UtiliNet® radios work together to create a mesh.

Aug 1st, 2006
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Much like a giant fishnet over a service area, Cellnet® UtiliNet® radios work together to create a mesh. At each point where one thread of the fishnet crosses over another, a node is created in the network. A node is one radio that may be attached to an end-device(s).

Because each radio can speak to and respond to neighboring radios in the network, each radio is an equal participant in the network. The result is increased communication reliability because there is no single point of failure. While a radio is interacting with an end-device(s), it is simultaneously acting as part of the mesh network. The concept of creating a mesh is central to what makes UtiliNet a truly robust data communication solution.

Each radio has the equivalent of a programmable logic controller (PLC)-like device located inside. This device enables the radio to act much like a small computer, carrying out any number of computing and command functions. The intelligence in each radio allows several routine decisions to be made at each node instead of relying on a network operator. The distribution of intelligence throughout a system means that a network operator has more time to focus on the most important tasks.

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Each end-device radio generates a “packet” of data that is transmitted on the network. The packet is “addressed” to a destination and entered into the network. The data packet traverses the network by “hopping” from radio to radio to the destination-addressed radio. Each individual radio independently routes packets in an intelligent, dynamic manner, allowing automatic re-routing in the event that a particular hop is not clear. Because of the local intelligence in each radio, the system automatically minimizes the amount of “hops” between the radios, which increase the transmission speed.

A robust mesh network is excellent for executing intelligent multi-point-to-multi-point communications. Traditional point-to-multi-point systems are prone to network congestion as data streams back towards a master station. A mesh network eliminates this problem as data is spread across the entire mesh (i.e., a multi-point-to-multi-point network). Furthermore, most traditional network topologies “poll”, gathering data sequentially. UtiliNet intelligent radios can handle peer-to-peer and unsolicited reporting --which is both faster and more efficient


If you have the need to communicate with end devices located anywhere in the field, UtiliNet is the answer. Its radios, when connected to end-devices, will establish a reliable communication link to and from the field. No longer is it necessary to dispatch an employee to check on a device, such as wells, controls, monitors, meters, or compressor stations. Intelligent UtiliNet radios work together to bring back data to one or more central processing sites. You can retrieve data while in the field too! In a UtiliNet network, every radio is an access point to the network. That means that critical data is available in the office or in the field simultaneously. Wirelessly collect information on distant devices (wells, pumps, meters, etc.) without wasting valuable worker-hours.


Microprocessor-based controllers are everywhere. They control pumps used for distribution, flow control, and wastewater treatment in municipal water districts. The applications are limitless. The majority of these controllers are connected by wire to some control or operations center. UtiliNet not only connects you wirelessly to remote controllers and end devices, but intelligent UtiliNet radios can also be programmed to interact with micro-processor-based controllers to undertake, within predetermined parameters, command and control functions without the requirement of personal attention from an operation center. Once command and control function has been initiated and completed, a report can be sent to the operations center confirming status.

By distributing intelligence into the field, operations staff can focus their time on only the most important matters requiring direct attention. UtiliNet functionality helps companies achieve both operational and financial efficiencies.

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