You’d think Telecom operators with all infrastructure in place would focus their IoT efforts on LTE Cat M1 or LTE Cat NB-IoT, but Orange has setup its own LoRa network in France with the aim of achieving national coverage by December 2017, at which time they’ll also test interconnection and roaming with other European operators. The company has also launched the LoRa Explorer Kit based on Microchip solutions, and designed by SODAQ.
Orange LoRa Explorer Kit specifications:
- MCU – Microchip Atmel SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 256KB flash, 32KB RAM, up to 16KB EEPROM by emulation
- Storage – 4Mbit serial flash (Microchip SST25PF040C)
- Microchip RN2483A LoRa module + PCB antenna
- Microchip RN4871 Bluetooth 4.2 module (BLE) with ceramic antenna
- Security – Microchip ATECC508A1 crypto chip to securely store LoRa keys.
- USB – 1x micro USB port for charging and programming
- Expansion – “Arduino M0” compatible headers with 10-bit ADC, 20x GPIOs, I2C, etc…
- Misc – MCP97001 temperature sensor; RGB LED
- Power Supply – 5V vai micro USB; 3.7 LiPo battery; on-board rechargeable coin cell battery; Microchip MCP 73831 Charge controller
- Dimensions – 40 x 25 mm
The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE. The page https://lpwa.liveobjects.orange-business.com/ must have some information, but you must be a customer as it requires a login to access it. The company claims you’ll get access to user guide, sample codes, and Orange libraries. Systev blog explains how to get started in details with Explorer board and Orange LoRa network. Beside the hardware, you’ll also get 6 months free access to the Live Objects platform for device and data management, and 6 months free connectivity through the “IoT Connect Low Power” service, which would then costs 1€ to 2€ per month per object depending on volume.
Thanks to Tirguy for the tip.