I want to start a new category of posts about IoT, not focus on the technology itself but on the use-cases. That said, for sure my words will be on the technological aspects of this use-case. The objective is to let you understand what are the solution but also what are the challenges behind that use-case. To start I’ve selected the Tracking use-case, reviewing all the GPS, WiFi and operator technics.
Regarding my experience in IoT from the past 5 years, one of the biggest market for LPWAn is actually assets tracking. In number I assume alarm backup is a little bit behind but thanks to one uniq actor. Tracking is far away first regarding the number of actors already having implemented a solution in production. This is also where we find the largest number of objects on the market for a single use-case.
That’s why I decided to start with this use case. I also know it really well for being the founder of one of these solution : Foxtrackr and I’ve already implemented all the technics described below.
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 ?
This IoT class is an introduction to IoT and LPWAN, it has been made to be a 2x2h teaching session for engineer school students. This class has been given to I.S.I.M.A. school in Clermont-Ferrand in 2017. This class has been completed by 2 more hours on the backend part for IoT by Daniel Petisme. It has been followed by three industrial conferences.
The content of my class had the following slides (in French):
Introduce why IoT is a revolution compared to M2M and why service matter. Introduce the different phases of a connected object design and the involved technologies. Introduce the challenge, from the technical stand point to the business model considerations.
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.
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.