I’ve got my miniVNA Tiny+ this summer and start making test with it. A VNA is a Vector Network Analyzer. Behind this dark name, this is a tool able to analyze the radio response of your circuit and ensure your circuit is tuned to the right frequency. From the data measured by this tool you can find the right adaptation circuit to match your central frequency.
The miniVNA Tiny+ is a low cost VNA solution less than 300€ covering frequencies from 1MHz to 3Ghz. These frequencies are good for most of IoT need : LPWAN around 868MHz and Bluetooth at 2,4GHz. The steps are 10Hz for a large precision. With two ports you can measure S11 – power transmitted and received over the same port – and S21 – power transmitted from port 1 and received over port 2.
The miniVNA Tiny+ is an usb solution working with a computer connected to and a software running on the computer. The software is based on Java and may support different Operating Systems.
The SigRPI shield is a HAT standard board providing SigFox connectivity to your Raspberry PI. As it is not certified for this network it can’t be used in production for this usage, but you can use it as a long range RF that does not need certification. I will later details this with a project related to this function.
By-the-way, the purpose of this board is to let you play easily with sigfox. The raspberry-pi offering a really efficient way to code and to make prototypes.
The shield comes with TD1204 (including accelerometer & GPS) of TD1208 (sigfox modem). You can use it with the standard firmware or upload your own one.
The shield can be ordered in the shop section : here
SigFox is a French radio frequency technology allowing a really low cost data transfer from Machine to Machine. Compared to GSM, this solution have some great advantages : it costs only 10-16€ per year and the energy consumption is about 1000 time less. For sure there is some constraint and the main one is the quantity of information you can transmit. In fact you have a limit of 150 sent messages / days with a length of 12Bytes. It’s not big but is it enough for a lot of IoT and M2M applications.
This technology works as a modem you can connect to any platform like Arduino, RaspberryPi. The chips are provided by TelecomDesign from a cost about 15€. The starter kit is about 150€ here.
The great advantage of this technology, in a operator point of view is the low density of the architecture where you need only 1000 antennas to cover a territory like France. As a consequence, at this time, already 90% of the country is covered by this technology.