I really love Reece Innovation Solar powered pod product developed by my friend Jose Marcelino. They’ve made a agricultural / industrial autonomous solar powered LoRaWan gateway for a really competitive price. With much more money to extend TheThingsNetwork in my city I would have used a such solution. But as this is just a hobby for me, I’m looking for really low cost solution, something under 500€ per gateway.
My main issue to extend the network is not really to find roof but to find some where I can pass an Ethernet cable and provide the power from it. I have some place where I could deploy new gateway in conduction to be cable-less. The network is not the main issue as most of the time a WiFi network is accessible. Powering is a larger problem to solve. Advantages of outdoor gateway: you have sun available. So, as Reece Innovation did, I decided to make my solar gateway, the main differences are: my will have no LTE communication capability (only WiFi) and it have to cost as less as possible.
This model is standard for LoRaWan ecosystem running on private network as on public network. For Sigfox it has always been possible to expend the network but it was a little bit complex because you had to rent the basestation from Sigfox and the basestation itself was an operator equipment: something made for being installed on a roof, not in your office.
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.
PirateBox is an interesting concept, but it had a lot of limitations based on the fact that the distance covered by a wifi connection is really limited. The mobile devices, able to cover a larger distance also have limitation due to the time needed to transfer any content.
In fact, you can’t imagine to grab content from someone you cross on the street because you might be out of signal before finished to transfer your file. More over due to the actual memory size of the portable devices you can’t imagine to share a lot of stuff on it.
So the idea is great, and the future could change all what I just said. But, today, the reality is that this system is not really usable as a real anonymous and unlimited sharing system.
To improve the system, I would imagine a network of PirateBox, this idea requires to have a larger number of devices but it would allow to share a large amount of data even on restricted memory cards. The idea is that each PirateBox would have a second wifi adapter to connect to another PirateBox. To get the list of its files and share it across this point to point connection. As each of the Piratebox is connecting to a second one we could imagine to build, dynamically a large piratebox network.
The file requests and data transfers would goes from a point to another point without keeping trace of these transfer out of the point to point exchange.
I assume there are some interesting research around this idea as the system has to build a dynamic network, avoiding cycles and optimizing the communications to make the network larger as possible, using a non centralized system to manage all of this.
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