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 !
I was looking for a real LoRaWan experimentation on the field, not only a given open field performance where the result do not match the reality.
For this reason, I installed a Kerlink gateway on a friend’s balcony living on a high part of my city. Then I moved a tracker reporting its GPS position on regular basis and day after day I built a map of the area covered by this antenna.
This post details the results of this expermientation
Once you have found the great idea of the year and you want to start implementing your first prototype it is time to choose the right technology. Some would say you should not choose at this step and implement both at end but in my point of view it looks like and economical mistake to do this way. Prototype is to demonstrate and final product. It can request another technology, for sure. But in my point of view the best is to take the right one at the beginning. For most LoRa and Sigfox are both equivalent or for some others one is over the other one, best depends who you ask. In my point of view, if I consider my 2-3 years sigfox experience and my starting experience on LoRa with 1 year background research on it, there is no magic answer. Context of your idea is the keypoint then you have some technical elements to take into account to finalize your decision.
This post will try to illustrate where each of the technology is the best and give you some decision keypoints.
Todays work was to make a simple GPS tracker communicating over LoRaWAN to check the coverage of my LoRaWan gateway in the city. Basically this tracker reports a position per minute to the network. If coverage is good, position will be recorded in the backend. That’s all !
This post details how to do it easily with the low cost and common components : Arduino for the master, Microchip RN2483 for LoRaWan communication and L80 for GPS positioning.
In a try to connect my LoRa gateway to a standard backend, I started to install TheThingsNetwork software stack. Even if I did not finish it because it was not compatible to my gateway protocol, here are my starting notes … May be completed later.