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Posts Tagged ‘gateway’

Khadas VIM2 Amlogic S912 Development Board Sells for $75 and Up

August 21st, 2017 No comments

Khadas VIM2 is the only low cost development board powered by Amlogic S912 octa-core processor that I know of, but when we first wrote about the board it was not available yet. The three versions of the boards are now being sold on GearBest with the Basic version going for $74.99, the Pro version for $94.99, and the Max version for $109.99.

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Khadas VIM2 Basic/Pro/Max specifications:

  • SoC –  Amlogic S912 octa core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5 GHz with ARM Mali-820MP GPU
  • System Memory
    • Basic – 2 GB DDR4
    • Pro/Max – 3 GB DDR4
  • Storage
    • micro SD card and 2MB SPI flash
    • eMMC Flash – Basic: 16GB; Pro: 32GB; Max: 64GB
  • Video & Audio  Output – HDMI 2.0a up to 4K @ 60 Hz with CEC support
  • Connectivity
    • Basic – Gigabit Ethernet with WoL support, 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1 via Ampak AP6356S module
    • Pro/Max – Gigabit Ethernet with WoL support, 802.11 b/g/n/ac with RSDB and Bluetooth 4.2 via Ampak AP6359SA module
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports supporting 900mA and 500mA loads, 1x USB 2.0 type C port supporting power and data only
  • Expansion header
    • 40-pin 2.54mm pitch header with USB, UART, I2C, ADC, PWM, I2S, SPDIF, and ISO7816
    • 10-pin FPC connector with I2C and IOs
    • 8 “pin” pogo pads array with USB, I2C, DVB bus, and I/Os
  • Misc – Blue LED, white LED, dual channel IR, power/function/reset buttons, header for RTC battery, fan header
  • Power Supply –  5V to 9V via USB type C, 4-pin VIN 1.25mm pitch header, or pogo pads for VIN (5V recommended for better efficiency); programmable current limit switch up to 4A (Set to 3A by default)
  • Dimensions – 82.0 x 57.5 x 11.5 mm (4x M2 mounting holes)

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SZWesion has a single Wiki for both Khadas VIM (S905X) and VIM2 (S912) boards, so it may be a little confusing, but you’ll find Android Nougat, Ubuntu 16.04.2 and Dual OS (Android + Ubuntu) images in the firmware page, as well as more technical information (e.g. schematics, build instructions…) in the documentation page. The board should work well in Android 7.1 with hardware video decoding and GPU acceleration working since they’ve been so many Amlogic S912 Android devices on the market. For Linux, the board will likely work well for headless applications, or applications that do not require multimedia features, but for example, 4K video decoding may not work that well – at least for now -,  as I was told kszaq work on LibreELEC using 32-bit Android libraries and libhybris would only work up to 1080p60. If you have any specific question, you should be able to get your answer in the support forum.

$14 Orange Pi R1 Allwinner H2+ Board Comes with Two Ethernet Ports, 256 MB RAM

August 18th, 2017 9 comments

Shenzhen Xunlong has introduced the new Orange Pi R1 board with Allwinner H2+ quad core Cortex A7 processor that’s a bit different from their other models, as it includes two 10/100M Ethernet port, and should be suitable for intelligent controllers, or simple IoT gateways.

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Orange Pi R1 board specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H2(+) quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 256 DDR RAM
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, 16 MB SPI flash
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100M Ethernet (including on via RTL8152B USB to Ethernet) + 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Realtek RTL8189ETV) with u.FL antenna connector and external antenna
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion headers
    • Unpopulated 26-pin “Raspberry Pi B+” header
    • 13-pin header with headphone, 2x USB 2.0, TV out, microphone and IR receiver signals
  • Debugging – 3-pin header for serial console
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 60 x 45 mm

Since it’s based on the same Allwinner H2+ processor as on Orange Pi Zero board, the extra Ethernet port is implemented via USB, and the I/O headers looks to be the same, it should be possible to run Armbian images on the board without that many modifications. The board may not be the best solution for small router, as there are already many cheap OpenWrt compatible routers that should do the job just as well, but thanks to the expansion header, it may make a useful intelligent controller or ModBus gateway to manage relays, sensors, robots, etc…

Potential Use Case for Orange Pi R1 Boards – Source: MGate MB3170 Product Page

If you have the kind of cascaded setup above, the 16MB SPI flash could save you the use of micro SD card, with network boot either from the control PC (if it is always on), or one of the Orange Pi R1 fitted with a micro SD card.

Orange Pi R1 board is sold for $13.90 plus shipping ($17.29 in total here) on Aliexpress.

Thanks to Anton for the tip

A Look at Some USB 3.0 WiFi 802.11ac Adapters with Multiple High Gain Antennas

August 11th, 2017 8 comments

When last week I reviewed Rock64 board I noticed they sold a “USB 3.0 Dual Band 1200Mbps WIFI 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (RTL8812AU) adapter” for $19.99. So far I had only seen USB dongles with internal antennas or a single external antenna, but in the case of development boards, which may be used as routers or gateways, it makes perfect sense to get such adapter for higher performance and longer range. The only problem is that it “ships together with ROCK64 fulfillment”, meaning you can’t purchase it separately if you already have some other board to use, so I went to look for alternatives.

ROCK64 USB Dongle (left); COMFAST CF-926AC (right)

One of the first I’ve come across was COMFAST CF-926AC with the following specifications:

  • Chipset – Mediatek MT7612U
  • Interface –  USB 3.0 rotatable port
  • WiFi – Dual band 2T2R WiFi 802.11ac, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n up to “1200” Mbps (867 Mbps @ 5.8 GHz + 300 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz)
  • Antenna – 2x external high gain (3dBi) antennas (270° rotation)
  • Dimensions – 19.50 x 5.00 x 1.40 cm
  • Weight – 410 grams

The page description mentions it works without drivers on Windows, but one seller reports that “it can support win10 system receive wifi signal,but it can’t support win10 system emission wifi signal”. As usual, no mention of Linux, but luckily a quick search found MT7612U Linux driver with support for AP and STA mode, just don’t run iwconfig in AP mode… It requires Linux 4.2 or greater, and as only been tested on x86_64 so far, so your mileage may vary on other targets.

I first found it on Aliexpress for $16.99 shipped, but you’ll also find it on GearBest for $15.99, and Amazon US for $19.99.

EDUP EP-AC1621 AC1900 USB Adapter – Click to Enlarge

During my search I also found EDUP EP-AC1621 USB 3.0 WiFi adapter with four external antennas and the following specifications:

  • Chipset – Realtek RTL8814AU
  • Interface – USB 3.0 OTG port
  • WiFi – Dual band WiFi 802.11ac, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n up to 1900 Mbps (1300 Mbps @ 5.8 GHz + 600 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz)
  • Antenna – 4x external high gain (6dBi) antennas
  • Misc – WPS key
  • Dimensions – 9.0 x 4.4 x 1.4 cm (body); 17 cm long antennas

The device does not connect directly to the USB port, but instead via a one meter USB 3.0 OTG to USB 3.0 type A cable. The description explains it comes with an “easy to use CD setup wizard and compatible with Microsoft Windows XP/VISTA/Win7/8.1/10 Linux/Macintosh”. In case, you’d rather have an alternative driver, you’ll find an 8814AU Linux driver in Github based on the original driver  for Linux kernels up to 4.8 with DKMS support, but there are some commits to make it work with newer kernels.

I found that model on Aliexpress for $41.90, but again you can also purchase it on Amazon US or GearBest (and other sites).You may learn a little more by visiting the manufacturer’s product page.

Various other models are also sold, the important is to check whether the chipset is supported by your operating system, and if it supports the modes (AP, STA, AP+STA) required for your use case. Those type of adapters only really make sense with boards and devices with USB 3.0 interfaces, since USB 2.0 is limited to 480 Mbps.

RakWireless RAK831 LoRa Gateway Module is Based on Semtech SX1301 Base Band Processor

August 6th, 2017 7 comments

We’ve previously covered several products from RakWireless, with a Realtek WiFi IoT board, a WiFi camera board, and a Amazon Alexa compatible audio board. The company has now launched RAK831, a LoRaWAN gateway board powered by Semtech SX1301 base band processor, and working with their RAK811 LoRa node or other compatible nodes.

Click to Enlarge

RAK831 LoRA gateway board specifications:

  • Connectivity
    • Semtech SX1301 base band processor with LoRa concentrator IP
    • Frequency bands – 433, 470, 868, or 915 MHz
    • Sensitivity – Down to -142.5 dBm
    • Maximum link budget – 162 dB
    • Output power level – up to 23 dBm
    • Emulates 49 x LoRa demodulators
    • 12x parallel demodulation paths
    • 1x (G)FSK demodulator
    • 2x SX1257 Tx/Rx front-ends high frequencies
    • 2x SX1255 Tx/Rx front-ends low frequencies
    • Range  – Up to 15 km (Line of Sight); several kilometers in urban environment
  • GNSS – Optional GPS support
  • Host Interface – SPI
  • Expansion – 24-pin 2.54mm pitch “DB24” header with access to SPI, 5x GPIOs, radio related signals, and +5V / GND
  • Misc – Status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V
  • Dimensions – size 80.0 x 50.0 x 5.0mm

The board can be used for various applications such smart metering, wireless star networks, home/building/factory automation, wireless sensors, wireless alarm & security systems, and so on. The guide start guide found in the documentation page, explains you’ll need a USB to SPI adapter board, for example based on FT2232HL chip,connected to an Ubuntu computer, or instead a board with an SPI interface running Ubuntu, or other Linux distribution. Finally, you’ll need to install  the software found in RAK831_LoRaGateway Github repository.

The company has also sent beta samples to several testers, and one of them – Naresh Krish – wrote a guide to use RAK831 with Raspberry Pi 3 board, registering the WiFi <-> LoRa gateway with TheThingsNetwork, and connecting to a RAK811 node.

RAK831 gateway is for $120 and up on Aliexpress for 433 MHz, 868 MHz or 915 MHz frequencies, or $125 if you want to add the acrylic case shown above. You may find additional details on the product page.

Gumstix Pi Conduit Gateway Board Leverages Raspberry Pi Compute Module, Off-the-Shelf LoRa and Cellular Modules

August 4th, 2017 No comments

Gumstix has designed Pi Conduit Gateway baseboard for both the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and RisingRF RHF0M301 LoRa gateway module, in order to create a Linux based LoRa gateway that can optionally support LTE or other cellular connectivity via NimbeLink Skywire cellular modem.

Conduit Pi LoRa Gateway board specifications:

  • 200-pin SO-DIMM connector for Raspberry Pi Compute Module / Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module (CM3 / CM3L)
  • Headers for RisingRF RHF0M301 LoRa Module
  • NimbeLink Skywire 2G/3G/4G cellular modem connector
  • Low profile 10/100M Ethernet jack (implemented via USB 2.0)
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging via an FTDI USB to TTL chip
  • Misc – User (GPIO5) and reset buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel

The board was designed using Geppetto, which means you should be able to customize it to your needs by modifying it the original design in a web browser, and order your brand new custom board from there.

Let’s have a closer look at the LoRa and LTE modules – pictured above – for the baseboard:

  • RisingRF RHF0M301 LoRa Gateway and Concentrator Module:
    • 10 channels (8 x Multi-SF + 1 x Standard LoRa + 1 x FSK) LoRa/LoRaWAN gateway or concentrator module.
    • RF input power – less than -13dBm
    • Frequency ranges (SKU dependent) – 430MHz ~ 437MHz; 470MHz ~ 490MHz; 779MHz ~ 787MHz; 859MHz ~ 870MHz; 900MHz ~ 930MHz
    • Host Interface – SPI
    • 24 pins DIP header
    • Operating voltage – <= 6V
    • Dimension – 40 x 63 mm
    • Temperature range – -40°C to +85°C
  • NimbeLink Skywire cellular modem modules:
    • 2x 10-pin headers
    • Several models for 2G CDMA, 2G GPRS, 3G EVDO, 3G HSPA+, LTE Cat 1/3/4, or LTE Cat M1
    • GPS supported on some models
    • Interfaces – XBee Standard, UART, and USB (on some models only)
    • Operating voltage – Depends on module (
    • Dimensions – 33 x 29 x 10.5 mm
    • Temperature range – -40°C to +85°C

Gumstix are known for their Overo modules based on Texas Instruments OMAP/Sitara processors, so they’ve also made an Overo Conduit Gateway using Overo modules instead of the Raspberry Pi SoMs, but only supporting RisingRF LoRa module, not the cellular ones. The video below gives an overview of the new Gumstix LoRa solutions and how to customize the board in Geppetto.

Pi Conduit Gateway board is sold for $84, but bear in mind that you need to add the price of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, RisingRF module, and optionally NimbeLink Skywire cellular mode. The Overo baseboard is quite cheaper, and also customizable at $59. Visit Gumstix LoRaWAN family page for the full details.

ModBerry Industrial Automation Controllers Leverage Raspberry Pi, FriendlyELEC, and AAEON Boards and Modules

July 19th, 2017 No comments

TECHBASE’s ModBerry Linux based industrial controllers have been around since 2014 with their first model being ModBerry 500 powered by a Raspberry Pi compute module. Over the years, the company has kept adding new ModBerry controllers with now an interesting choice of Raspberry Pi 3 board or compute module, FriendlyELEC’s NanoPi M1 Plus board, or Intel Atom x5 based AAEON’s UP board.

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All programmable automation controllers (PAC) runs Linux 4.0 or greater, with Debian or Ubuntu Core rootfs including ready tools and pre-compiled packs including C/C++, JAVA, SQL, PHP, SSH, and VPN support. The firmware is upgradeable over the air, and the controllers can run the company’s iMod control software and interface with iModCloud cloud computing service for telemetry, remote control and data sharing. Typical uses include C-L-V functions with conversion to collect and transmit data over communication interfaces, logging via iModCloud or a SCADA, and visualization via a web browser.

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All models share many of the same features, with some models having more I/Os beside the different board, but to get a better idea of the systems, I’ll have a look at ModBerry M700 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 and 3.5mm jack for CVBS (composite + stereo audio)
  • Connectivity

    ModBerry M700 – Click to Enlarge

    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
    • Optional Zigbee, LTE/3G, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth cards
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x 4-pin USB 2.0 host header, 1x micro USB port (OTG/power)
  • Expansion I/Os
    • 4x digital inputs, 4x digital outputs up to 30V DC
    • 1x RS-232/RS-485
    • 1x PCIe slot
    • Optional 1-wire
    • Optional ExCard I/O modules for more RS-232/485 ports, Ethernet ports, PCIe slots, analog input and output, digital I/Os, relays, M-Bus interface, and more
  • Misc – RTC with battery, watchdog timer,
  • Power Supply – 7~30V DC up to 20-35W
  • Dimensions – 106 x 91 x 61 mm (ABS casing with DIN railin enclosure)
  • Weight – 300 grams
  • Operating Conditions – Temperature: -30 ~ 80°C; humidity: 5 ~ 95% RH (non-condensing)

The ExCard are DIN rail module that plugs into the ModBerry like LEGO’s, and up to 3 ExCard is supported per ModBerry.

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Applications for such systems include PLC, telemetry module with data logger, serial port server, protocol and interface converter, programmable controller, MODBUS Gateway/Router, SNMP Agent, Web server with PHP and SQL database support, SMS Gateway, LTE/3G/GPRS router and more.

TECHBase has not released pricing for the controllers, but you can find more details, including detailed PDF product briefs and links to purchase the controllers and expansions (you’ll still have to ask for the price), on the products page.

Via LinuxGizmos

Flic Hub Controls WiFi, Bluetooth, and IR Devices with Bluetooth LE Buttons (Crowdfunding)

July 10th, 2017 No comments

This week-end, I wrote about 1btn open source WiFi button that can allow you directly control WiFi appliances, and/or set scenes without the need for a smartphone. We also discussed limitations of WiFi due to high power consumption, security issues and the one-way aspect of RF communication, and that Bluetooth 5 may be a better option for range and battery life if possible. Flic Hub is another way to approach the issue, as it combines Bluetooth LE buttons with a gateway supporting WiFi, Bluetooth, and infrared.

Flic Hub gateway specifications:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth LE, WiFi, Ethernet, IR via optional add-on accessory.
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio out/mic in
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB
  • Power Consumption – 1.5W typ.
  • Security – SPARKE2+ Bluetooth encryption
  • Dimensions – 85 x 50 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 99 grams

Users can configure workflows by setting up Flic with IFTTT, Zapier, Microsoft Flow or even the HTTP request function in their apps. A Flic SDK for iOS and Android is also available, The Flib Hub runs Linux, and they encourage hacking it to fit your project/application.

You can control individual devices with the Hub, but also set scenes such as turning off light, blinds, and aircon, as well as locking with the door when you leaving by pressing once, and cancel this mode with two clicks when you comeback. It can also be used to order items online with one to multiple press, and short and long presses.

The Flic button has actually been around for a little while, as it was launched in 2015 via Indiegogo, and initially relied on your smartphone to act as a gateway. They added to Flic Hub to control more than just Bluetooth devices, and offer a more capable gateway working without smartphone, so for example you can now use up to 60 buttons, instead of just 8 with a smartphone, and anybody in your home can easily use the buttons.

The Flic buttons battery life has also been increased to up to 3 years. You can find reviews of the first Flic buttons without hub on sites like CNET, as well as somewhat mixed customers’ reviews on Amazon.

Flic Hub is now on Indiegogo with 10 days to go, and over $300,000 raised. If you already own some Flic buttons, you can pledge $69 to get the Flic Hub only, and if you plan to control IR devices too, then you’ll want to add the infrared accessory for a total of $79. If you are new to Flic, you may prefer option for Flic Hub with 3 buttons for $109, or $124 with the IR accessory. They also offer glow in the dark buttons for $59 (2 buttons) or $99 (4 buttons) that could be very useful in some situations. Shipping is free to the US, $10 to the European Union, and $15 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for October 2017.

Thanks to Leon for the tip.

Ligowave LigoPTP Bridges Allow Wireless Point-to-Point Communication up to 100 Km

June 27th, 2017 3 comments

Last week-end I went to a conference showcasing local products and companies, and there was a small section for “smart cities”. Most of that section exhibited solutions for security applications such as IP cameras and DVR, as well as various metal detectors, but one company did have some wireless connectivity solutions. I asked a sales engineer which technology they used, and he said it was a proprietary solution operating at 5 GHz, so I asked if they had anything relying on LoRaWan or Sigfox, and he had never heard about those. That’s because the solutions offered where not for low power long range connectivity, but instead backhaul wireless connectivity with solutions offering up to 100km range for point-to-point connectivity up to 480 Mbps, or up to 36 km for point-to-multipoint solutions.

LigoPTP RapidFire – Click to Enlarge

Those type of products are used by cities to monitor their CCTV  system, telcos, and the industry (e.g. mining, oil fields..). The local company, a distributor, was promoting products from InfiNet, and Ligowave, and the sales engineer told me the latter had products better suited to small businesses with lower power consumption, most probably because they also have 802.11n and 802.11ac solutions for SMEs.

Both companies have a wide range of products, but let’s have a look at Ligowave LigoPTP point-to-point wireless bridges, notably LigoPTP 5-N/ 5-23 RapidFire main specifications:

  • CPU – 1.2 GHz CPU dedicated for data processing running LigoOS / LigoWave OS
  • Channel Size – 5/10/20/40/80 MHz
  • Aggregated data throughput – 700 Mbps
  • Packets per seconds (PPS) – 200,000
  • Ethernet Interfaces – 2x 10/100/1000 Mbps Base-T allowing for 1+1 (failover)
  • Antenna Gain/Type – 2-53: 23 dBi; 5-N: 2x N-F antenna connectors
  • Pole diameter – 1 to 12.4 cm
  • Titling – +25 / -45°
  • Proprietary W-Jet V protocol – specifically engineered for high performing PTP scenarios, minimizes interferences even across long distances and stabilizes latency within 2-4 ms
  • 2.4 GHz WiFi for local configuration
  • Power – PoE 802.3af (37-56V)
  • IP Rating – IP-67 rated cast aluminum enclosure
  • ESD protection  – IEC standards, Class 4

Click to Enlarge

The diagram above shows different ways to connect the slave and master devices with PoE always providing power through an inserter, and data transfered through long range RF (orange), short range RF (blue), or over Ethernet.  RapidFire GUI allows configuration over WiFi or Ethernet, and includes a setup wizard, a spectrum analyzer to find the optimal operating frequency, and other tools. Once the master is configured, the parameters will automatically be applied to the slave units.

Click to Enlarge

If you are interested in finding out more LigoPTP RapidFire Wiki has more info about the firmware, different configuration options, installation instructions, and more. More P2P and P2MP products with various capacities and features can be found in the aforelinked InfiNet and Ligowave websites.

Categories: Hardware Tags: gateway, infinet, ligowave, p2p