Satellite’s IoT is now ready for use with Kineis

Kineis nano-sat Photo credit Kinéis et Héméria

Even if you think it is the first time you heard about Kineis, you are basically wrong in some ways ! This company is a recent “Startup”, existing since June 2019 but for real, they are managing an IoT offer based on top the famous and quite experienced Argos system, started in 1978 and now operating more the 22.000 devices running application like animal tracking, ocean safety and many scientific programs.
The service is running over the 8 satellites currently in orbit, making Kineis the most advanced satellite IoT solution commercially available as of today.

Thanks to the polar orbit of the satellites, the whole earth is covered, no white zone, no blind spots from pole to pole, ocean to desert, device are communicating from everywhere, autonomously.

This blog post is the first of a series made with the help of Kineis to introduce you the technology and my experience with it. As usual, there is no sponsoring for these blog posts but a close work with Kineis as the offer is only open to business companies currently.

Companies like Exotic Systems, Arribada or Advanced Tracking, have already started to make products using Kineis network for asset tracking applications mainly.

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Nebra Helium miner review

Nebra indoor miner customer box

After reviewing the Rak Wireless miner in a previous blog post, after receiving my own Nebra miner, I’ll give a review of it.

The Nebra miner is one of the different Helium miner machine. It is at first a LongFi (LoRaWan) gateway. It includes a software to run it over a blockchain to create a global IoT network. you can get more details on what is helium in the linked blog post.

This review is on a Nebra batch #1, it is possible that some of the given information will not be valid in a couple of weeks when the batch #2, #3 … will be delivered. No need to precise it but this is an end-user review. I’ve ordered and paid my miner. I’ve no link with Nebra.

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IoT actors ecosystem framework

The IoT actors ecosystem framework

IoT ecosystem is rich of many different actors providing solutions and services in different areas.

I’ve tried to create a framework to position these actors. Many of the existing actors can be in multiple blocks but each of these is a standalone viable business where you can fin existing actors.

In the following pdf file, you will get the details of the different blocks to understand their role, the type of service provided and sometime some exemple of companies acting in this domain.

First steps with Helium IoT network

Helium is a crowdsourced-crypto-blockchain-Iot network working with LoRaWan. With all these trendy name, for sure they had the key elements to raise a large amount of money. That’s great for the development of this technology.

I’ve decided to write about this IoT network after an interesting talk given at the Zurich IoT meetup today (thank you CoVID-19 for making us the opportunity to reach such event, today online, bad things can get positive sometime).

Helium is a crowdsourced network. It means, like for TheThingsNetwork or Amazon Sidewalk, the infrastructure, at least the gateways part (antennas) are provided by anybody, basically you and me. That way the network deployment costs are really limited and the network have no boundaries.

Compared to TTN, Helium network is “crypto-blockchained” basically, the gateway owner are mining different challenges like registering some network change, proving the location of a gateway, cryptocurrency transactions… For this work, for maintaining the network architecture and relaying the messages, the gateway’s owner are earning HNT (Helium Network Tokens) ($2.24 each today).

Compared to TTN where you make it running for free, just because you are convinced about the sharing economy, Helium base its business model on a promise of getting some money back from your investment the gateways (+energy, communications…).

Helium is an IoT network, a LPWAN for being more precise. It relies on LoRaWan standard protocol & gateways. You need to add an Helium miner software on a backend system to make it running.

So they are looking to Uber-ize the telecom domain, at least this is what they are expecting.

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First steps with LoRa Radio Node (Arduino)

The LoRa Radio Node is an AVR Arduino board with a RFM95 LoRa module. This all-in-one LoRa module allows to have a LoRaWan device for a reasonable price around 15€. You need to add a battery (like a LS14500 3,7V battery) on the battery holder for a 4€ extra cost to make it mobile. LiPo option are also available using the power connector. Even if the connectors are looking like grove, they are not compatible so you will have to make your own wiring to connect extensions.

This post is reviewing how to getting started with this board to fire your first LoRaWan frame over The Things Network.

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Yadom Murata CMWX1ZZABZ-091 breakout board under review

Murata CMWX1ZZABZ chip is actually famous for being a powerful LoRaWan multi zone module also able to communicate over Sigfox.

I’ve already published a technical post on Murata CMWX1ZZAB chip in a previous post. You will also find an implementation based on my IoT SDK. Yadom has just released a breakout board ( BRKABZ01) for this chip making it accessible for hackers and for easier prototyping.

This post is going to review this board and demo how to access it really quickly. Are you ready ?

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Make a Laird Sentrius an outdoor gateway

The Laird Sentrius LoRaWan gateway is a low cost, stable and easy to configure on The Things Network gateway. They are indoor gateway. I want to install it outdoor to offer a better coverage.

In certain situation the easiest way to install it outdoor is to use an external antenna and a long antenna cable. In some other situation this approach is complex to implement and the easiest way is to install the gateway outdoor with its antenna and network connection.

The best is to use an outdoor LoRaWan gateway. The price is usually > 600€. Even if in general the outdoor gateways includes GPS and Cellphone connectivity. In this post I’ll explain how I make one of Laird Sentrius outdoor because it costs less than 250€ for the gateway itself.

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HopeRF RFM95 and arduino a low cost LoRaWan solution

The HopeRF RFM95w module proposes to access LoRa at low cost. Its unitary price is around 4€ on shop like aliexpress. A version with a shield is also existing. Its name is Lora1276-C1 from niceRF. These different transceivers are using Semtech SX1276 chip. It makes this kind of chip interesting for regional low cost LoRaWAN design in association with a MCU. Here we are going to use it with an Arduino platform.

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