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.
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 →
The RF 868MHz is a public bandwidth European Low Power Networks (LPWAN) as Sigfox and LoRaWan are using for communicating.
This bandwidth is regulated by different norms like ERC-REC-70-3E in Europe and have national norms in relation. In France ARCEP 2014-1263 seems to be the last one validated in the JO on the 30th of January 2015. The following video is a second episode of my VLOG on LPWan technologies. As usual, the video is in French but this post will give you a overview in english.
Today Sigfox is releasing a really good document about antenna design. This pretty document can be found following this link (available on July 7th). This document from TI also contains really well detailed information about the alchemy of antennas and the different kind of product you can find. From Silicon Labs you also have an interesting development kit for 868 antennas with performance published in this application note.
This is to say antenna is one of the most important part of a 868 object, as for Sigfox as for LoRa where the problem is basically the same. I discussed with different sigfox object designed and every-time the antenna was a big project issue. Some has payed about 10-15k€ to get a custom optimized design.
I never experiment a custom design but I made test with various antennas and the purpose of this post will be to give you my feedback on the different solutions.
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.
Last week, Objenious (a bouygues Telecom company) has announced the availability of its LoRaWAN network in France. With already 32 cities covered, about 50% of people can access to the low power network. More over they have announced the deployment of 4000 antennas by end of the year to cover the whole country.
I had the opportunity to test the network and as far as now, I can say it works well, the backend is nice even if it sounds a bit not intuitive yet but for sure they will fix it soon. The good news was a communication about price, with a range of 12€ to 1€ depending on volume, the pricing is really near Sigfox one in a first look. The volume scale will be really important to see the difference as the technical offer (message limit, bandwidth, downlink limit if we have some or not).
In my point of view, Orange is the one loosing most with this announce as they are supposed to start soon with 11 cities in France and they did not yet communicate on the scaling. So now, we are waiting for Orange response and offer in this competition.
The surprising thing in the Objenious announced was the roaming capability with USA as the LoRa frequencies are not compatible between Europe and USA. As most of the device are not yet dual band and the question of detecting the location before emitting still an issue for such use-case, I do not really see how it can have a short term positive impact on project. By-the-way, I was also not aware the LoRaWAN specification for roaming was published. Is it ?
So welcome to Objenious in LPWAN french market, competition is always a good think, and what you announced sounds good and useful for object maker like me.
Making downlink working correctly with RN2483 on LoRaWan is not a simple a quick thing to do if you do not have all the keys to do it. After spending some time to fix my code for this, here are the tips to consider and not forget !
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