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Smart Reader Client

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What exactly is the SRC and when should I consider using it?  

With many use case deployments, the TagNet system works by having the TagNet Server directly manage RFID readers within your network. This is a typical 'On-Premises' deployment model where TagNet Server is installed on server infrastructure within an organization's own physical premises or data centers. With this setup there are certain quality-of-service requirements that need to be met, such as having a low latency / low packet loss connection from server-to-reader otherwise you may experience intermittent readability issues which can break the reliability of the system. This is where the Smart Reader Client comes into play.

The Smart Reader Client (SRC) is a software application (Windows or Linux) that acts as a Broker between TagNet server and one or many RFID readers. The SRC will sync with TagNet Server to determine what readers it is supposed to communicate with, and then it will manage those readers based on the server-side configuration. Any RFID tag scans (aka 'read events') are collected by the SRC and then transmitted back to the TagNet server using a store-and-forward approach. This enables you to utilize a centralized (or 3rd party hosted) TagNet Server instance and deploy readers to locations where a direct server managed connection is not feasible.

The Smart Reader Client (SRC) can be deployed using various methods that best suit the customer's network and technological strategy, such as:

Directly to the reader (for those readers that support an embedded application) for a 1:1 SRC management per device

To an IoT appliance such as a  Micro PC / NUC / SmartHub / Raspberry Pi that can manage multiple clusters of readers

To a gateway server that can manage all the deployed readers at that location

 

Shown below are common deployment scenarios:

Scenario #1 - Remote Location / Wi-Fi Model

When a synchronous network connection (initiated from the TagNet Server) is not feasible to manage the reader directly via a LAN or WAN connection due to a poor QoS (Quality of Service). What is a poor QoS?  Anything over 100ms latency point-to-point combined with excessive packet loss and/or network jitter can be problematic to keep all the message sets in proper sequence (under 50ms is recommended for a stable LAN/WAN connection). A typical example is when the reader is in a remote location (e.g. plant, warehouse, yard, or even within in a semi-trailer/container).

Scenario #2 - Cellular Model

When the deployed readers are operating behind a firewall (outside that of TagNet Customer's domain) and the site security policy does not allow 3rd party devices on their network accessing the Internet.  In this case the Readers are managed by the SRC (deployed to a SmartHub) that utilizes its internal cellular modem to reach the Internet and access the TagNet Server instance. This model can also be used when the readers are in a public location. The SRC provides critical 'Store and Forward' capability when cellular connectivity is spotty and continually retries to send cached data (to the host TagNet Server) until network connectivity is restored so read events are never lost.

Cell signal strength at deployed location must be reliable enough to enable data (as opposed to voice only) communications and 4G/LTE is recommended.

Scenario #3 - VMI Example

When the deployed readers are behind a firewall (outside that of TagNet Customer's domain) that prevents or restricts inbound traffic from the Internet. Instead of tunneling into the End-Customer's network by means of multiple public IP addresses, the SRC initiates all outbound traffic thus reducing many (if not all) firewall setup considerations. A typical example is when deploying readers in a VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) scenario as shown below:

Scenario #4 - SaaS Hosted Model

When deploying a hosted model, TagNet Server is hosted by a trusted 3rd party and manages the readers that are behind the customers firewall via the SRC (deployed on various devices as described earlier). The customer has a near zero footprint to implement their RFID use cases as shown below: The decision to consider this deployment is tied to the attractiveness of the SaaS pricing model to the end customer.

Installing the SRC

The installation download and step-by-step instructions can be found here in the Stratum support site

The SRC Agent - What is it?

The SRC Agent's role is to monitor the health of the SRC and update the installed version based on the Smart Reader Installer Release Settings.  This is done via a scheduled task (Win) that will check the version on a daily basis and upgrade if necessary. The Agent will also recover the SRC if it crashes via Process Management (Win). Additionally, when a new core instance is linked to an SRC profile, then the Agent will create a new instance sub-folder. Note that support for Linux SystemD Services is forthcoming for the Agent.

 

References


Edge computing is the practice of processing data near the edge of your network, where the data is being generated, instead of in a centralized data-processing warehouse.

Quality of service (QoS) refers to any technology that manages data traffic to reduce packet loss, latency and jitter on the network. QoS controls and manages network resources by setting priorities for specific types of data on the network.

IoT device is any physical device or object that is connected to the Internet or a network, enabling it to collect, transmit, and receive data or information. These devices are often embedded with sensors, actuators, and communication modules that allow them to interact with the digital world. .


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