How to Make a Cheap Single Channel Gateway with an ESP32 LoRa Board

ESP32 to ESP32 LoRa Communication

Actual LoRaWAN gateways based on Semtech SX1301 concentrator  can be pretty expensive,  and even if you take a LoRa gateway design based on Raspberry Pi for indoor placement or experimentation, price is still around $200. A much cheaper way (~$70)  is to use a single channel LoRa gateway, which as the name implies only support one channel, which limits the number of nodes, and forces you to set the nodes at the same frequency as your gateway. Those are not really suitable for commercial offerings, but if you manage your own gateway and nodes that should be usable. If you only plan to implement a network with a dozen nodes or so, you could even use much cheap ESP32 LoRa board like the ESP32 LoRa 1-Channel Gateway sold on Sparkfun for $29.95. Hardware specifications: Connectivity WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE via ESP32-WROOM-32 module with integrated PCB antenna LoRa @ 868 / 915 MHz with Hope RFM95W LoRa modem controlled via …

How to Build an Orange Pi Zero LoRa Gateway

Armbian LoRa Gateway

LoRa gateways tend to be fairly expensive, especially because of the radio part, but anything that may help lower the cost is probably welcomed. And one way to to do that is to use dirt cheap boards like Orange Pi Zero as Edzelf did, by combining the low cost Arm Linux board ($15 shipped) with Rak wireless RAK831 concentrator module kit ($143) via a custom cable, and a power supply board. All assembled into a metal case. RAK831 communicates with Orange Pi Zero over an SPI connection. While some other Orange Pi boards are suitable for the project, note that Orange Pi Zero Plus lacks a spare SPI interface, and can’t be used with this particular application. A fan was also added for cooling, a well as a USB serial debug board for debugging purpose, but it can be removed once the gateway is in the field. Software-wise, Edzelf installed Armbian 5.38 on the board, and setup the timezone and …

RAK8213 mini PCIe Card Comes with GNSS, NB-IoT & eMTC Connectivity

RAK8213 NB-IoT mPCIe Card

After launching their first wireless communication mini PCIe card with RAK833 LoRaWAN gateway card last month, RAK Wireless is back with another mPCIe card that supports GNSS (GPS, GLONASS), as well as cellular IoT connectivity thanks to Quectel BG96 NB-IoT + LTE Cat M1 module. RAK8213 mini PCIe card specifications: Wireless Connectivity Module – Quectel BG96 with LTE Cat. M1 (eMTC), LTE Cat. NB1 (NB-IoT), EGPRS, and GNSS Global bands support FDD-LTE – B1/ B2/ B3/ B4/ B5/ B8/ B12/ B13/ B18/ B19/ B20/ B26/ B28 TDD-LTE – B39 (for Cat M1 only) EGPRS – 850/900/1800/1900Mhz Max Data Rate – Cat M1: 375 kbps (UL/DL); Cat NB1: 32 kbps DK, 70 kbps (UL) micro SIM slot u.FL connectors for cellular and GNSS mPCIe connector with USB 2.0, I2C, UART, and PCM Misc – LEDs for network and power status Dimensions – 51 x 30.1 mm The card can be added to netbooks/notebooks or routers with mPCIe socket, used for remote …

AS923 LoRa GPS Tracking with MatchX MatchBox Gateway and RAK811 LoRa GPS Tracker Board

RAK811 Cayenne LPP Data

Earlier this month, I installed Match MatchBox LoRa outdoor gateway close to the roof, and showed how easy it was easies to setup with MatchX Cloud. Basically, you just register to the cloud, enter the serial number, and the gateway is automatically based on your location. I’m in South East Asia, so the gateway was configured with AS923. I’ve now had time to play with the gateway using Rak Wireless RAK811 LoRa tracker board, and eventually managed to get the tracker location to show up on a map. It was my first experience with LoRaWAN, and I had to learn a lot, and overcome many issues from outdated software development tools, different data formats, and some interoperability issues between all components involved. I’ll document all that in this review, and hopefully it will help others. RAK811 LoRa GPS Tracker Unboxing Before going into LoRa configuration, I’ll show what I got with RAK811 node. It comes with an “IoT Made Easy” …

MatchX MatchBox LoRa Gateway Setup (for AS923) and Installation

Waterproof LoRa Gateway

At the end of last year, I received MatchX Matchbox LoRaWAN gateway, but only quickly checked out the hardware, as I was still unclear about regulations in South East Asia, and did not have any nodes to play with. Understanding Regulations and LoRaWAN Frequency Plans Since then, the government published some notifications about the 920-925 MHz band we are supposed to follow here. It’s in Thai language, and I can’t still read/understand it, but I got some translation help, and some key points include: paragraph 5 : for 920-925MHz non-RFID radio equipment (1) max EIRP not more than 4 watts (2) if EIRP < 50mW, no need for any license (3) if EIRP < 500mW, a license is required for importing, selling, and making your own equipment (4), and you must be in accordance with NBTC technical standard. (5) must not interfere with any licensed application. Interfering equipment must be prevented for any usage. I’ve also learned that LoRaWAN defines frequency …

Design ESP32 LoRa GPS Tracker Applications with TTGO T-Beam Board

TTGO-T-Beam

TTGO introduced a small ESP32 LoRa board with OLED display last year that is still selling  for around $14 shipped. But the company is now back with a similar board called TTGO T-Beam that does without the display, but adds GPS support, and a 18650 battery holder, so it should be ideally suited for all sorts of LoRa GPS tracking applications. TTGO T-Beam board specifications: SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual core Xtensa LX6 processor with WiFi and Bluetooth Memory – PSRAM Storage – 4MB SPI flash Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n WiFi up to 150 Mbps +  Bluetooth 4.2 Classic and LE with “3D antenna” soldered on PCB LoRa 433, 868, and 915 MHz versions with SMA antenna Transmit current – 120 mA @ +20dBm; 90 mA @ +17dBm; 29mA @ +13dBm Receive sensitivity -139dBm with LoRa & 62.5Khz & SF=12 & 146bps -136dBm with LoRa & 125Khz & SF=12 & 293bps -118dBm with LoRa & 125Khz & SF=6 & 9380bps -123dBm …

LoStik USB Dongle Adds LoRa Connectivity to any Computer or Linux Board (Crowdfunding)

We’ve covered plenty of hardware with LoRa radio from gateways, to Arduino shields, tracker boards, and mini PCIe cards, but after reading an article on Time4EE this morning, I realized we never wrote about any LoRa USB stick. LoStik – previoulsy LoRa Stick – is an open source hardware USB dongle based on Microchip RN2903 / RN2483 LoRa module, and offered on CrowdSupply for $39. LoStik specifications: USB – USB 2.0 port LoRa Connectivity Microchip RN2903 – 915 MHz for  US, Canada, South America and Australia Microchip RN2483 – 868 Mhz for Europe Receiver Sensitivity – down to -146 dBm TX Power – adjustable up to +18.5 dBm Range – up to 15 km coverage in suburban and up to 5 km coverage in urban areas Misc – 2x user LEDs Power Consumption – 140 ma typical TX, 20 ma idle (with power LED) Dimensions – 80 mm x 25 mm x 12 mm (without antenna) As usual, people requiring …

Semtech SX1261/SX1262 LoRa Development Kit Now Available for $305

SX1261 Evaluation Board

Semtech announced SX1261, SX1262 and SX1268 LoRa chips in January as updates to their current LoRa solutions with a lower footprint, better efficiency, and even longer range. Mass production and development kits were expected in March 2018, and today I found out Semtech SX1261/SX1262 development kit is sold on Mouser for $305. The SX126xDVK1CAS kit comes with the following items: 2x SX126xMB1xAS RF modules including an  ST Nucleo Mbed board and a touchscreen 2x Mini-USB / USB connection cables 2x 868/915MHz antennas 2x Mini-USB cables 2x touchscreen styluses Read-Me Note The SX1261/SX1262 LoRa Transceivers offer continuous frequency coverage from 150MHz to 960MHz. You’ll find information to get started in the user guide. Basically, the two boards will show a menu on the touchscreen with radio test modes, settings and utilities (e.g. firmware update) as well as two demos: DEMO Ping Pong performs a bidirectional range test between the two radio units. DEMO PER performs a unidirectional packet error rate test …