Ethernet Data Radio Modems: Uses and Benefits

Many companies in Australia and abroad are finding their older serial-based SCADA systems are no longer meeting expectations.

Serial network protocols are falling out of favour as Ethernet-based systems become more widely available and affordable. As such, more companies are upgrading to Ethernet radios – data radios based on Ethernet protocols – and leaving serial in the past.

What are ethernet data radios?

First, let’s revisit the definition of Ethernet to understand the foundational technology behind Ethernet radio networks.

Ethernet is the technology that connects computers and devices in a local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). For example, your office computer probably has a blue cable that connects to the server. That’s Ethernet at work.

Imagine replacing your office server with a powerful modem that beams a connection straight to all the laptops, phones, videoconferencing suites and smart fridges on your floor.

Ethernet radios work the same way. An “access point radio” connected to the server communicates with several remote radios, sending and receiving information over long distances.

Where they’re used

Ethernet radios are fast becoming the standard for SCADA, telemetry and communication over large-area networks.

They enable reliable long-distance data transfer for mission-critical functions like:

  • Pipeline monitoring
  • Gate and alarm systems
  • Irrigation control
  • Fan and pump pressure control
  • Environmental monitoring

In particular, Ethernet data radios are increasingly common in Mining, Agriculture, Utilities, Transport and Logistics applications. They are used in everything from data collection to fleet tracking to remote asset control.

The advantages of ethernet data radios

Ethernet data radios are faster, more scalable and more resilient than serial technology. Here are a few in-depth examples.

Transfer speed

Data transfer capacity does vary. However, because Ethernet data radios use a stronger network, they have higher data transfer speeds than serial radios.

Easier to use

Ethernet protocols assign every function a dedicated IP address. For example, diagnostics, web server for configuration and signal collision detectors all receive their own port.

On the other hand, serial networks require additional technology to facilitate multiple data streams.

Plus, you only need basic IP knowledge to set up and manage a SCADA network using Ethernet data radios.


Ethernet data radios are easier to interface with IT management systems. The advantages are many and varied, from device management to network security, IT ownership, fault handling and integration with business systems.

UHF vs VHF data radios

Most Ethernet radio networks employ more than one access point radio. All radios in the network need to be the same frequency type (UHF or VHF), so it’s worth revisiting the key differences.

Ultra-high frequency (UHF)

UHF radio waves are short, powerful and span a broad spectrum. This makes UHF ideal for urban settings or smaller areas with obstructions.

Very high frequency (VHF)

VHF radio waves are longer, although the spectrum is narrower, so interference in high-traffic areas is a problem. For this reason, VHF is ideal for regional and remote settings (like mine sites) with fewer obstructions and overlapping broadcasts.

STI Engineering designs and manufactures the Crescendo range of high-performance Ethernet data radios in UHF and VHF bandwidths.

Crescendo represents the industry standard in telemetry for Mining, Utilities, Agriculture and Transport applications, where reliable long-distance data transfer is non-negotiable. Explore the technical specifications on our website or contact STI Engineering for a quote.