Posted by Sam on December 02, 2015.
LoRaWAN (Long Range WAN) is a telecommunications network allowing small devices (i.e. sensors, robots, machines, meters) to communicate over long ranges at low bitrates. The simplest form of a LoRaWAN network consists of a tranceiver gateway connected to the internet and end-nodes typically on battery power.
The gateway runs on mains power because it is constantly listening for arriving packets. The end-nodes however use very low power modules operating on just a few tens of milliwatts. An example end-node tranceiver is the RN2483 by Microchip. The ranges achieved are incredible and go up to 15km line-of-sight. LoRa operates on the open and license-free 868 MHz range. It is ok to operate gateways and end-nodes in Switzerland as long as you stay within the duty cycle limits set by BAKOM.
We’ve installed the first open gateway of Lausanne and were able to send and receive data from EPFL, UNIL and various other locations. Since our rover uses LoRaWAN to communicate with us, it was obvious to setup a gateway. With this single gateway we’re probably covering half of Lausanne as the gateway is situated on an eleven story high building. The map below shows the locations where we have tested transmission and reception successfully. Any device using LoRaWAN now automatically has reception in Lausanne - for free.
The best part is that the gateway uploads all received data directly to TheThingsNetwork and Semtech servers. The Things Network is a global, crowdsourced, open, free and decentralized internet of things network and they have just successfully completed their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Their goal is to produce affordable hardware, but also to provide the infrastructure necessary to host the data received by nodes and gateways. While their network is still in it’s early days and most software in infancy, the API’s are already useable. Currently, any node’s data is accessible through an easy to use REST API.
If you want to use our LoRaWAN gateway in Lausanne, here’s a short guide based on the Microchip RN2483 node:
If you’ve configured your end-node as above, then your device will work with all TheThingsNetwork gateways all over the world (see TheThingsNetwork Website )!