Recurrent question where I usually see the wrong option taken by industrials: do I need to implement my own private network for m LPWA network ? In many case the wrong choice has been made due to a lack of understanding of network total cost of ownership. For sure I heard element about MY DATA privacy, but honestly, all the companies are putting added value data into the Cloud, so don’t tell me you unknown machine temperature is a sensitive data ?!? That said, let’s back to the true question : when does it make sense to create your own private network ?
Following the previous post where we saw how to transmit data on Sigfox with an Arduino MKRFox1200, in the second part we will learn how to consume these data in a backend site. To make this simple we are going to implement a solution using Adafruit.io service. This service allows to create graphics from data received from an API. We will configure Sigfox backend to push device data to this API.
Arduino MkrFox1200 sounds like Arduino for Maker using Sigfox. This board is an official Arduino product, looking like Arduino Nano series (but not pin-compatible, longer and larger)
It is composed of a SAM D21E MCU (Microchip ARM Cortex M0) operating at 48MHz. It includes 256K flash memory and 32K of SRAM. We can consider this as an Arduino under steroid.
The Sigfox radio layer is composed by an ATA8520. This is a Microchip Sigfox module based on AVR MCU. This module is communicating with the SAM D21E module with a SPI bus. The radio module is supporting RCZ1 zone (Europe).
This board can be found in many eShop places for a price around 45€ including an antenna and 2 year of Sigfox network access.
In this Post we will see how to get started with this board and how start programming with it.
LPWA networks needs antennas and gateway to receive the device communication and transfer them to a network kernel. You can take a look to my post on the LPWA network architecture for more details.
In the LoRaWan ecosystem we call the first part of this network architecture a gateway. There are different kind of gateway : The network operator gateway with a big and efficient antenna, capable to support external weather like the Kerlink IoT Station and some low costs solution you can deploy at home or within a building (indoor) to cover a local device fleet.
The Kerlink Wirenet iFemtoCell device is a such type of gateway. this post will review how to get start with it and what we can expect in term of coverage.
IoT design a usually a matter of antenna as already seen in different previous blog post. Antenna performance is the assurance of your capacity to deploy your object in larger zone and a way to save energy by reducing transmission power.
As we will see, if you get a hardware component and simply put it in a box its radio behavior will be totally different as the box is impacting the transmission.
This post will practically show you the impact of a box on a device radio quality.
New episode of my LPWAn post series, this time, about the network architecture and the role of the network kernel.
The network architecture is different than a classical IP communication from client to server: the LPWAn architecture is based on a kernel network allowing the protocol transformation from the Sigfox / LoRaWan world to the IP-Internet world.
In the LPWAn protocol the addressing is limited to one device address only to reduce the frame size and as a consequence all the frame have to be captured by a central system: the network kernel. It will route the message correctly to the end user application based on device association made on registration.
This post is related to a french video (as usual) and detailed in the following part of this post.
The Things Network (TTN) is a global LoRaWan public network kernel based on crowd-source infrastructure. This initiative sounds really interesting in my point of view because it breaks one of the main LoRaWan issues : the country based operators organization.
Related to this good point, the negative point is the current area covered by a such network limited to the contributor localization, generally in the main cities.
That said, I’m convinced : when you want to create a private LoRaWan network you have to manage a network kernel managing gateways, device authorizations… You can do it yourself, you can pay someone to do it for you or, eventually, you can lever TTN for this use. As a counterpart you will extend the network and offer this benefit to any around. That way it makes sense and gives large opportunities to the networks and it’s private users.
Long introduction for a technical topic … How to join this network once you have a Kerlink LoRa Iot station available ? Continue reading
Episode 3 & 4 of my Youtube series about LPWAN is about antennas for LPWAN and impact on object design. The episode 4 go deeper on the way to improve radio performance by tuning and adapting antennas with matching circuit.
As usual, this series of post are summarizing in English the content of my French video on youtube.