Range Planning for EnOcean® Devices

March 20, 2018
Tech Tuesday

If you want to install wireless devices to control something, I would highly recommend you spend some time range planning before you buy. The more complicated the installation is, the more time should be spent determining how to make the installation a success. Fortunately, EnOcean® provides a great reference for this task, which we have linked on our website and can be found here. In the remainder of this blog, I will summarize some of the important information from that document.

The maximum range of wireless devices can be achieved when there is a clear line-of-sight between the receiver and transmitter. In most instances this is not possible; there will almost always be obstructions that the signal must penetrate. The material the obstruction is made of will determine how much signal degradation there is. Wood and plaster walls do little to block a radio signal, while brick and concrete can degrade the signal by as much as 50% or more. Metal obstructions are the worst and should be avoided if possible. The angle that the signal must propagate through an obstruction will also have an impact on its strength, so when planning, try to make the path through as perpendicular as possible. While it may not be intuitive, it is not recommended to have a transmitter and receiver mounted on the same side of a wall. Transmission along a wall will cause reflections that can interfere with wireless communications.

Even with thorough planning, there may be some trouble spots in a building that require some special attention or some large distances that you need to span. In these cases, a repeater may be needed for reliable operation. All Functional Devices’ EnOcean® enabled wireless relays can be configured to be repeaters as well as transceivers and/or receivers. Wireless transmissions can be repeated twice, which will allow for up to three times the range of a single transmitter/receiver combination.

This blog only covered range planning at a high level, and I did not delve into the details of the topics I did cover. The document linked in the first paragraph is a great resource for range planning with EnOcean® enabled devices. It goes into much more detail, and it includes diagrams that help you visualize the application. Our Technical Support Team is also here to assist with any questions, so do not hesitate to call us if needed.

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About the Author

Henry Smith is a 34-year-old engineer at Functional Devices, Inc. He has a BSEET obtained from Purdue University in 2014 and a lifelong interest in electronics. As an engineer at Functional Devices, he gets to provide Technical Support to our customers, from distributors to specifying engineers and installers.

Henry enjoys providing tech support, as it allows our company to assist at every level of our product’s lifecycle and exposes us to interesting and unique applications. While not every technical question is unique, even answering a simple question or providing someone with the information in a timely manner can go a long way to helping him or her meet a deadline.