Most gateways are based on Semtech SX1301 chip, but the company unveiled a SX1308 chip for picocell gateways back in 2016 that’s supposed to be cheaper and used indoors. Designs have been slow to come to market, but a few have been launched recently including n-fuse LRWCCx-MPCIE LoRaWAN concentrator mini PCIe card that comes with either SX1301 or SX1308 chip, and is compatible with Semtech’s Pico Gateway design.
n-fuse LRWCCx-MPCIE key features & specifications:
- LoRa Connectivity
- SX1301/ SX1308 digital base band processor with dual SX1257 Tx/Rx front-ends
- Output power level up to 23 dBm
- u.FL connector (50 Ω impedance) for external antenna
- 868 MHz model
- Frequency Range – 863 to 870 MHz
- Sensitivity – Up to -124 dBm at SF7 (BW 125 KHz), up to -138 dBm at SF12 (BW 125 KHz)
- 915 MHz model
- Frequency Range – 915 to 928 MHz
- Sensitivity – Up to -125 dBm at SF7 (BW 125 KHz), up to -139 dBm at SF12 (BW 125 KHz)
- Host Interface – mini PCIe connector with USB host
- Misc – Tx and Rx LEDs
- Input Voltage – 3.3V DC
- Power Consumption
- Tx (Max) – 450 mA
- Rx (All channels) – 340 mA
- Idle – 40 mA
- Dimensions – 51 x 30 x 4.8 mm
- Weight – 9 grams
- Temperature Range
- SX1301 – 0 to 70°C
- SX1308 – 0 to 55°C
- Certifications – CE, LoRa Alliance, RoHS, REACH
The block diagram above also shows the design is based on an STMicro STM32 microcontroller. So the hardware design looks quite similar to Rak wireless RAK833 LoRa mini PCIe card, but n-fuse offers an SX1308 version, and the company told me that since it’s fully compliant with Sentech;’s Pico gateway design you can use standard MCU firmware, HAL, and packet forwarder from Semtech’s LoRa-net github account.
All you need is hardware platform with an mPCIe slot exposing USB, providing enough power, an running Linux. The MCU firmware can be upgraded via USB DFU, and and I’ve been informed that the only difference between the SX1301 and SX1308 variants is the temperature range.
The cards are currently distributed directly through n-fuse and can be bought on their website for 92.50 Euros for the SX1308 version, and 99.50 Euros for the SX1301 versions.