The new baby in Kerlink family has arrived, it’s iZeptoCell ! Ok, I’m a bit late to write this blog post and it came alive a couple of months ago. When I say baby, I really mean baby, no due to its age but more related to its size !
This LoRaWan gateway is really small and can take place in any indoor environment looking like a sensor but providing a wide range connectivity for many devices deploy around. This is a really good option to cover a small / medium company floor up to a building.
This gateway exists with an Ethernet connectivity like the one I’m testing and with a Cellular connectivity, something appreciated when corporate IT dislike having devices on the corporate network.
Kerlink is a LoRaWan hardware player since the first ages of this technology. This French company has equipped most of the operator’s network and is used to propose high quality industrial products.
The iFemToCell is not a new product. It exists since a couple of years and I already tested the IFemToCell 4 years ago. Recently the company has created a Helium edition we are going to review in this blog post.
This is an interesting device as it is a kind of hybrid between a light miner and a full miner. Even if the Kerlink platform is powerful, it is far away the power of a raspberry Pi and certain operations like consensus group can’t be performed. As this is now delegated to Validator, this difference have no impact on rewards. In another hand, this device is consuming less power and it is possible to power it with sun more easily. This is quite interesting.
Let see what is this device and what is specific during its deployment.
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.
After making LoRaWan test in a city environment, I make some test in a rural environment with the objective of evaluating the capability for being used in connected farming environment.
The result is really like what we have got in a city, eventually better in a way as the antenna position was on altitude. The following map makes with 6kbps communication shows the coverage. You can see that the coverage is really limited on the Eastern direction. This is due to higher mountains this way. Mountain are the main limiting elements and as you can see, even on short distance communication they are blocking any signal.
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