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.
The Dragino LPS8, LoRaWAN gateway is a helium ready device you can add to Helium as a Data-Only. It means it does not participate to PoC but earn HNT for transferring traffic.
It’s not a ready-to-go data-only, so you need to register the hotspot in the helium block-chain on your own but it run the gateway-rs software internally.
This device as been designed for Helium, but not only, it can be connected to TTN or another different network, like a private network. The installation with Helium network is not really complicated but you will need to process some command on a terminal and manipulate wallet-cli.
ChirpStack is an open-source LoRaWAN network server that is being use in a coming future with Helium as a replacement of the console. This blog post explains how to install it with the companion solution I’ve built to interact with Helium router.
The Helium Chirpstack environment is still in Beta. This blog post will not be fully complete until the prod phase and you still see this orange banner. You can take a look at this post if you are curious, you will use it if you are part of the beta test. For the rest, it’s batter to come later (some part a voluntary missing).
The Arduino board MKR1310 is the new revision of the MKR1300 board dedicated to LoRaWan. This board is a SAMD21 Arduino board with a Murata ABZ module based on a STM32 with an SX1276 transceiver. Basically a bit outdated and expensive modem now.
After using this board for some teaching project, it’s a good time to make a feedback about it as many things need to be improved on that board to get benefit of it.
This week saw the return of face-to-face of The Things Conference after long years of virtual events. The Things Conference is the major LoRaWAN ecosystem event. Not as commercial as LoRa Alliance event (even if the conference is a source of revenue for TheThingsIndustry), thanks to the presence of most of the guy’s who are doing the IoT.
This edition has interesting weak signals like the presence of a team from Unabiz (previously Sigfox), some Helium bashing at some time, even if most of the attendees have been participating on The People Network.
It’s a conference I can place on the maturity rising, many talk about use-cases, less about technologies. Lots of workshops where we have been able to implement / test advanced technologies like Lacuna Space communications or Semtech low power tracker.
Here are my through from the really great edition of TheThingsConference2022
Some time ago, a twitter thread made the community react about the amount of $6600 of communications consumption on the Helium network. This thread was full of approximations in order to present negatively the growth of the Helium network. But it is also an opportunity to take stock of the development of the use of the network. We will see in this article who operates the Helium decentralized network, what are the current data volumes and what are the associated financial metrics.
In short, we cannot talk about Nova Labs’ revenue with respect to direct communication costs because these costs are associated with different third parties offering the packet routing service. We cannot rely on this cost to estimate an associated business volume because there are many indirect costs as I have already specified in my blog post analyzing the running costs of a Helium router/console. Finally, regarding a long period where gamers found a way to earn a few dollars on the back of Nova Labs, involving many ancillary costs, distorted the data for June. You will understand all this in the rest of the article.
The Helium router (aka console) is the LoRaWan network server. In a previous post I described how to setup a Helium router / console. In this post I will give you some details of what you can see in the grafana monitoring dashboard and this will help you to understand better how the network works to process the LoRaWan packets. We are going to detail what is an offer, a packet and the different monitoring information we can get from the router.
Helium is an open network, decentralized, there is a wide range of option you can do as a user, like creating your own private router to have your devices encrypted end-to-end. You can also make your LoRaWan traffic to be routed from Helium network to your own network when you are a LoRaWan network provider. Let’s take the exemple of a Telco with a LoRaWan network, let’s name it B’telco and imagine B’telco have an existing network in France. Imagine they want to extends their coverage worldwide, eventually reduce their local cost by removing some redundancy in the cities. In a such case, they can roam traffic over helium.
This means that the data of B’telco devices will be acquired by helium router, exactly as a Helium data, and then it will be routed to B’telco network server transparently. That way, the customer will have a better coverage and the B’telco cost for this worldwide extension will be really low.
In this blog post, I’ll explain how this roaming feature works and what is needed to deploy it.
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