As usual, I love read what traditional and “tech” press can write about LPWAn technologies. That’s always a pleasure to read such amount of bullshit condensed is a maximum of 10-15 lines. They are directly copied and paste from a press release. The Author added value is a custom and totally wrong clickbait title.
As part of many, the one making me starting this post is from “Le monde informatique”. It is supposed to be a serous source. The title was “sidewalk a threat for LoRa and Sigfox on IoT”.
Just to let you know guys… Sidewalk is just a new Zigbee !
So let see what is really Amazon sidewalk, what are the strength and weakness of this solution
BARANI Design Technology has contacted me to test their weather station product MeteoHelix IoT pro. This is a Sigfox weather station but they also have LoRaWan versions. It is also the first personal weather station class product to meet the World Meteorological Organizations (WMO) measurement accuracy guidelines. So it can be used by scientific and professionals according to its designer. Thanks to LPWAn technologies, it can be deployed anywhere. No power / communication constraints.
I like this kind of product because they are really interesting use cases for LPWAn technologies and useful for agricultural environment. I see a part of my family working in the agricultural domain taking some manual notes about rain daily taken at one point. In 2019 it’s so easy to get graph from a cloud platform and have multiple device for the multiple fields you work on. Sounds like a revolution but it have a price 600€ including communication !
As I written this post for another target and it can be also useful for anyone, even if It is one more post on many of them, here are a couple of words about Meltdown and Spectre security issues. Read mode for details.
Following my previous post on bitcoin I’ve start mining with ASIC to continue playing the technology. I’ve started with a small USB ASIC providing 2GH/s. This is equivalent to 200 times the power of my Xeon server and it was really easy to install, running on a Raspberry Pi to simplify the usage.
This post details this experience and gives some advices for one wanted to experience mining.
This last monday I had the chance to meet the two Sigfox founders Ludovic Le-Moan and Christophe Fourtet during a really nice day at Labege (SigFox headquarter) with other Sigfox ambassadors.
From the meeting we had with the founders I retained some of the Sigfox strategical guide line:
Scalability – this is the major point raised during our discussions : the network must be able to scale and all what has been designed in the radio protocol & technology, as in the cloud architecture was for scalability.
Thanks to this initial design no big change are expected in the radio solution in the coming years. It has already been designed for future.
In regard to this scalability strategy we have also meet the team operating the network. I’ve seen a really nice Network Operation Center, well equiped and with about 40 people involved. It has been fun for me as in my daily job I’m managing internal inter-application communication of a large company. The volume of data we are proceeding every day is quite similar as of now but Sigfox is well more equiped than I am and better prepared for scaling 😉
Reliability – The ISM band will continue to have more and more noise on it coming from all the coming radio device using it. Sigfox design has been made to ensure a long term capacity to support this evolution. Ultra narrow band is actually the best and secure way to continue to communicate over noisy environment also protecting this common good by limiting the spectral usage.
Simplicity – Sigfox has been made to be simple to use with no parameters to tune the radio or the protocol. Everything is defined to ensure a good quality in the communications. This spirit will be kept in the future but potentially we will have the capability to tweak some of the parameters. We could imagine to limit the repetition time for frame with lower criticality. This will save power or send more frame per hour. We could imagine to get higher speed. Why not having more downlink ? Larger payload ?
This is a regular discussion I have with prospect or with different business oriented people about producing electronics in developed countries and costs of devices. When you talk about electronic products in many minds it is equivalent to talk about Chinese production & design. It’s like when you talk about software in a couple of years ago it was a kind of synonym with back-office Indian development.
Basically SNOC SFM10R1 aka BRKWS01 Sigfox devkit is an easy way to get start on low cost sigfox hardware thanks to the low cost module from wisol based on the low cost chip from On Semi Ax8052. Presented like this it looks like stack on a stack on a stack.
But in my point of view the solution is really more than this. As a maker I know how difficult it is to kickstart a Sigfox project : you have to deal with expensive devkit where you sometime need a Kbis, then you have to deal with sigfox to get an access and at ends if you want to transform you POC in a product you need to change you technologies for cheaper or simper solutions. (here I’m not pointing anyone but basically I had to made my own devkit to start on sigfox) Most of these problems have already been solved thanks to sigfox making account creation so simple for devkit and the arrival of devkit like snootlab, airboard or smart-everything. All these solutions are nice but provides a full stack solution MCU + communication for a price around $100. This is where the SNOC module is proposing an alternative : get an easy access to the sigfox network with a low cost solution you can plug to the MCU of your choice… Arduino, Rpi, Nucleo, Pic it’s up to you !