Photon connection over long distances & display options

I have a broad question here pertaining to two main subjects I guess. I have a project that the photon hopefully could be used for. The idea is to monitor some variables at locations not within my wifi range, but rather miles away. I have found some good info pertaining to the way you code it for use without cloud connectivity or wifi recognition. The thing is there may be wifi near the device. Although it may not be close enough for stable connection, or it may not be there at all in some cases. In all cases I would like to set up the photon and its sensors, leave it running at the more “remote” location, then monitor it from home or on the go. I guess the question is how do I transmit data without wifi? Is there an Ethernet shield I can rout it through, some network connectivity box, or am I just asking how to run without legs? The other part here is even if I do have wifi at the location, can I just flash the device at my home location, then bring it out there , power it up, tap into the wifi there for data transmission without having to go through a set-up for say? A good way to describe this question may be this; If I sent a device that had been flashed with my code to someone in the field and told them to install it and the sensors, then plug it in to usb or something, how can I then make it as little work as possible for that person to connect it for data transmission to XYZ display server? I imagine the Electron may be a better fit for this remote transmission idea, but for now I have some photons and want to see where I can get, then if necessary fork out the money to try that.

That leads to the second question, what is your favorite system for displaying data. Like udibots and other wed based sites for access anywhere. For example I would like temp sensors and a pressure sensor (4-20 ma transducer) to have a nice display that I can uniquely call out in relation to the location of that device. Even better if I could layover the readouts onto a picture or map where the device is located, but that it just a luxury side idea.

I just want to gauge the practicality of an idea before I dive in head first. I’m lacking on the knowledge of the details about photon connectivity and code, so let me know if I need to be more descriptive on anything.

As you say, the Electron would be the better fit.

For your other idea

How would that “connectivity box” send its data on?

You could also use a 3G WiFi AP for a few bucks.

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There are other options

  1. Use an Electron and you can use the cell network for connectivity
  2. Use Photon along with a cell network access point such as [Karma Go][1]

If using a cell network is not an option, there are other long range options (not tried with Photon/Electron) such as LoRa, but you’ll still need a gateway. LoRaWAN is a long range low bandwidth protocol and the typical range is quite ridiculous, especially in rural areas (typically around 22 miles). 2 miles in urban areas but it all depends in the gateways and where the devices are placed.

[1]: https://yourkarma.com/how-it-works[quote=“bvolzmfg, post:1, topic:27849”]
The other part here is even if I do have wifi at the location, can I just flash the device at my home location, then bring it out there , power it up, tap into the wifi there for data transmission without having to go through a set-up for say?
[/quote]

Yes you can do this.

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I use MQTT for exchanging data between all of my devices and the server side application/UI. If the device can be uniquely identified and you can configure it’s location, then the server side application can do all of the magic in reporting and displaying data as well as any analytics required.

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The box or sender I guess would be connected via an ethernet cable maybe?? This is very conceptual so unsure of these things. I think it may be more viable for me to run a length of cable to the site where the photon is from a main location that is close but not close enough for standard wifi.

Even Ethernet cables have their limits to how long they can be per segment (without repeaters). What distances are we talking about? Are the devices in “line of sight” from the “main location”? There are ways to extend the range of Wi-Fi using antennas, especially if you have line of sight and you can mount the transmitting antenna at a height at the main location.

Depending on the distances/terrain involved, you can consider an NRF24 transceiver with an active antenna. They can reach a considerable distance, over a kilometer in some tests.

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In general they would be line of sight. So I could explore that method. 500-1000 yards possibly.

If using a cell network is not an option, there are other long range options (not tried with Photon/Electron) such as LoRa, but you’ll still need a gateway. LoRaWAN is a long range low bandwidth protocol and the typical range is quite ridiculous, especially in rural areas (typically around 22 miles). 2 miles in urban areas but it all depends in the gateways and where the devices are placed.
@shiv

Is it possible to configure particle electron / photon as a LoRa gateway or lora end points? Million thanks in advance.

I haven’t used LoRa with Particle, but I think it should be doable. You’ll need a LoRa radio and supporting library of course.