Particle Mesh Networking Review – Part 2: Getting Started Guide with Argon & Xenon

Particle Mesh Network Argon Xenon Success

I’ve recently received a Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit with one Argon WiFi + Mesh (802.15.4) board acting as gateway, three Xenon Mesh boards, and various sensors and accessories.  I’ve already showcased the hardware in the first part in the review, so in this post I’ll post my experience getting started with Particle Mesh networking using the kit. Beside the kit, you’ll need a few micro USB cables, a mobile phone running Android or iOS, a reliable Internet connection (more on that later), and a host PC for programming and debugging potential issues. Setting Up Particle Argon & Xenon boards First we’ll need to configure / setup the boards. Go to https://setup.particle.io to login or create an account if you don’t already have one, and you should be brought the following page. Select Mesh, and you’ll be asked to setup a gateway first. Any of the boards from Particle Mesh family can be setup as a gateway, but for our …

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Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing

Particle Argon WiFi Bluetooth Kit

Back in February of this year, Particle introduced three low cost IoT development boards based on Nordic Semi nRF52840 wireless chip supporting “Particle Mesh” networking based on the 802.15.4 radio in the chip and OpenThread implementation of Thread IoT communication protocol. The company recently announced they were now shipping the kits pre-ordered earlier this year, and released two IoT development tools based on Node-RED and Visual Studio Code. Particle contacted me as well as to find out whether I was interested in reviewing their latest WiFi / Bluetooth / Mesh kit, and I’ve just received the bundle, which comes with a bunch of items, so I decided to write an unboxing post first to have a first look at the hardware, before playing with it in one or two weeks. Particle Mesh IoT Development Kit Bundle Unboxing That’s what I got from UPS… From top left to bottom right: The Argon kit (ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth + Mesh) A Grove …

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Particle Unveils Mesh SoMs and IoT Developer Tools

Earlier this year, Particle unveiled three IoT development boards based on nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/802.15.4 WiSoC and supporting Particle Mesh, which interestingly is not based on Bluetooth Mesh or even Bluetooth, and instead relies on Thread specification/OpenThread implementation, and the 802.15.4 radio of the chip with Bluetooth only used for the initial setup stage. Particle announced the shipping date (October 2018 or… this month) for their Mesh boards pre-ordered in February, as well as three new products in a recent blog post. One of the products is a family of system-on-modules compatible with Particle Mesh, while the other two are related IoT developer tools. Particle Mesh SOMs The Particle Mesh SOMs will have similar names and features as corresponding Particle mesh developers kits such as Boron (NB-IoT / eMTC + BLE + Mesh) and Argon (ESP32 WiFi, BLE + Mesh), but with an edge connector and designed as enterprise-grade, production-scale version of the dev boards. The modules are still in development, …

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A List of Cellular IoT Development Boards

We’re starting to have a decent choice of cellular development boards, and as the number of products is getting larger having some sort of list would be useful. That’s exactly what Hologram has done. While the list is not quite exhaustive, they’ve pushed the csv list to Github, and plans to update it. Hologram also encourage pull requests, so manufacturers may consider updating it with their own boards. The list focuses on development boards acting as cellular IoT end points, so you won’t find gateways, WiFi hotspots, end user devices and modules that needs to be soldered onto your own board. I have imported the list to WordPress to make it searchable, let people select the number of rows to display, and customize visible fields. The table is not automatically synchronized, so for the latest version always check out Github. Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering …

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Particle Unveils Three nRF52840 Bluetooth 5 Boards: Argon (WiFi), Boron (LTE), and Xenon, as well as Particle Mesh Technology

In the last year or so, Bluetooth has gotten an upgrade with the release of Bluetooth 5. The new protocol works on several existing platforms, but if you want support for the full set of Bluetooth 5 features such as longer range and higher bandwidth, we’ve seen you need a recent chip such as Nordic Semi nRF52840. However so far, AFAIK you had to buy Nordic Semi own development kit for play with nRF52840, and now Particle has announced not one, but three low cost development boards powered by nRF52840 chip starting at just $9, and supporting their newly announced Particle Mesh technology. So for some reasons, it appears they did not go with Bluetooth Mesh. Particle Xenon – Bluetooth 5 + Mesh Xenon is the cheapest model with the following specifications: SoC – Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 Arm Cortex-M4F 32-bit processor @ 64MHz with 1MB flash, 256KB RAM Storage –  2MB SPI flash Connectivity (via nRF52840) 802.15.4-2006 up to 250 …

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Particle E Series is a Family of 2G, 3G, 4G LTE Cellular IoT Modules Optimized for Mass Production

Cellular IoT has really taken off this year from the low cost Orange Pi 2G IoT board to 4G GPS Trackers, and global IoT SIM cards. Particle has been in this market for a couple of years, starting with their Electron boards, and the company has just announced the new Particle E series family of industrialized 2G, 3G, and LTE-enabled modules and a development kit. Key features of Particles E series modules: Cellular Connectivity u-blox SARA modules for cellular connectivity LTE: SARA-R410M 3G: SARA-U201/U260/U270 2G: SARA-G350 (2G) Embedded SIM card, Particle MVNO support in 100+ countries u.FL antenna connector MCU – STM32F205RGT6 120MHz ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller with 1MB flash, 128KB RAM Storage – • Expandable flash memory I/Os – 63-pin surface mountable castellated module with up 30x GPIOs, 12x ADC, 2x DAC, 13x PWM, 3x UART, 2x SPI, 1x I2S, 2x CAN, 1x USB 2.0 (Some signals are multiplexed) Power Supply – 3.88 to 12V input; BQ24195 power management …

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The Future of Cellular IoT Explained – LTE M1, LTE NB-IoT, eSIM, and Battery Life Hype

Telecom companies also want their share of the IoT business, but with 2G to 4G cellular technology often being too power hungry and/or expensive for this market, 2G on-going – or upcoming – sunset depending on your location, LTE Cat M1 and LTE Cat NB1 (aka NB-IoT) standards have been developed, and used in products like Pycom FiPy board, and SARA-R4 and SARA-M2 modules. If you want to have an overview learn about the new LTE IoT standards and the future of cellular IoT, Particle has published a useful presentation – embedded below – dealing with both, as well as eSIM (Embedded SIM), 2G sunset, and battery life expectations. The main takeaways from my reading of the presentation: LTE NB1 is better suited for low power stationary sensors transmitting a small amount of data a few times a day. Requires new hardware and software LTE M1 can be used for actuators and sensors that needs frequent updates. Requires software update …

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Particle Asset Tracker Kit v2 2G/3G GPS Location Tracker Supports Grove Modules

Particle, the maker of IoT boards such as Electron 2G/3G module, has launched it second Asset Tracker Kit – based on Electron – with a smaller case, improved GPS performance, satellite support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo & BeiDou, and compatibility with Seeed Studio Grove modules. Asset Tracker Kit v2 hardware specifications: MCU – STMciro STM32F205 ARM Cortex M3 micro-controller @ @ 120 MHz with  1MB Flash, 128K RAM Cellular Connectivity – U-Blox SARA U-series (3G) or G-series (2G) modem + NanoSIM card slot + u.FL connector for Antenna Location 72-channel u-bloxM8 engine with support for GPS/QZSS L1 C/A, GLONASS L10F, BeiDou B1I, Galileo E1B/C, SBAS L1 C/A: WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, GAGAN Update rates: Single GNSS: up to 18 Hz, 2 Concurrent GNSS: up to 10 Hz Position accuracy of 2.5 m, sensitivity of -167 dBm Acquisition times: Cold starts: 26s, Aided starts: 2s, Reacquisition: 1s On board ceramic GPS antenna with LNA and bandpass filter with ability to switch to …

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