On-Ramp Becomes Ingenu, Announces Public Build-Out

Ingenu is part of an increasingly crowded market of long-range, low-power wireless technologies to support the IoT.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sep 28, 2015

On-Ramp Wireless, a San Diego-based provider of long-range, low-power communication technology for machine-to-machine (M2M) systems, has changed its name to Ingenu as part of a rebranding process that also includes launching a network of access points across the United States. The company's Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) technology is so named because it enables thousands of devices to share a single radio channel. It was purpose-built for transmitting data over a wide area while consuming low power.

RPMA employs a proprietary RF modulation scheme and transmits data over the 2.4 GHz band. An end node, integrated with a sensor via a serial peripheral interface, can transmit up to 100 kilobytes of data per day to access points located at an average maximum distance of 25 miles (this varies widely based on geography and the presence of structures that may block the RF signal—in some cases, nodes can be read from up to 50 miles away).

Landon Garner
In the past, Ingenu's clients have deployed the company's technology within private networks, with each client installing access points for its own use. For example, utilities use RPMA to enable smart metering programs, and companies in the oil and gas industry utilize the technology to transmit data from sensors attached to extraction and storage equipment, as well as pipelines, in order to monitor flow rates and identify maintenance problems. But by building out a nationwide infrastructure of access points and selling public network access on a per-device basis, Ingenu is making its technology accessible to businesses that want to deploy a system across a very wide geography or at multiple locations, explains Landon Garner, Ingenu's chief marketing officer.

Both types of customers—those that build their own private networks and those that use the Ingenu public network—need to incorporate Ingenu-compliant radios into their smart meters, sensors or other devices, in order to communicate with Ingenu access points. Ingenu sells an RPMA wireless radio module, known as a microNode, for this very purpose. The company also provides a reference platform, called rACM, that allows a third party to create an Ingenu-compliant radio. This means customers will need to either have the microNode radios integrated into their own devices, or seek out a third party that provides compliant radios or devices with the radio integrated.

A private network customer must develop or purchase software from a third party to provision and manage these devices, Garner explains. But Ingenu will provide public network users with access to its device-provisioning and -management platform. "With a public network," he says, "we will give those tools to the customer. Connectivity, the depth of coverage, etc., is all ensured through Ingenu. And if there is a network outage, we will handle that."

In either a private or public network, the end user must acquire or develop application software from a third party or develop it internally.

For a prospective customer, choosing between a private or public network comes down to whether it needs to operate multiple networks at multiple locations, in which case the public network would be the obvious choice. On the other hand, if a company or organization needs to maintain complete control of the network and its devices, or prefers to augment Ingenu's integrated security measures—which comply with a number of security standards, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SP 800-53 for industrial control systems—with additional security measures, a private network is the way to go. Otherwise, Garner explains, the deciding factor may be whether it wants to make a bigger capital or operational expenditure.

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