|Choose Your Objective||Recommendation||Est Price|
|Low cost, 10 minutes to start, Arduino compatible||WisNode-LoRa. Quick Start or Buy Now||$26|
|Arduino-based and connect basic sensors||Adafruit Feather M0. Requires a bit of soldering and some tinkering. Find out more or Buy Now (from Nicegear)||$62|
|MicroPython programmable module with LoRa, BLE, WiFi||LoPy. Requires some knowledge of Python or experience with programming using IDEs. Quick Start or Find out more about dev kit or Buy Now||$107|
|Use a standard tool chain (mbed) to build an end node||STM32 Nucleo pack P-NUCLEO-LRWAN1 (Cortex M0 and Semtech SX1272). Find out more or buy from STMicroelectronics.||~$101|
|Put in battery and see LoRaWAN in action immediately||Off-the-shelf, pre-configured sensors. Find out more||From $150|
Using KotahiNet’s Network
A good antenna is important. For short distances, a simple wire or coiled wire will do. However, to connect over a distance to KotahiNet’s public LoRaWAN network, a proper monopole antenna, such as a rubber duck antenna, is required. NEVER try to connect without an antenna- it can lead to the board being permanently damaged.
Building Nodes/Devices to Connect to KotahiNet
There are two basic options- either run the LoRaWAN (network code) stack on the MCU or on a separate LoRa module. Increasingly, people are preferring the former for new IoT products but both options are available. At the hardware level, most solutions are based on a Semtech’s SX1276 LoRa transceiver.
LoRaWAN on MCU
The advantage of this option is using a single MCU to run both the LoRaWAN stack and custom application firmware.
For LoRaWAN dedicated devices in commercial production, a System in Package (SIP) is recommended. The three options are AcSIP’s S76S, Murata’s CMWX1ZZABZ, and Microchip’s SAM R34/R35. All of these have both the MCU and Semtech’s LoRa chip within a single module, typically just 1 cm x 1 cm. Their respective development boards EK-S76SXB, B-L072Z-LRWAN1, and SAM R34 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit provide a pathway from prototyping to full commercial design. The Microchip SIP comes with its own LoRaWAN stack while AcSIP and Murata allow any LoRaWAN stack to be used.
The Tuino 1 LR1 is both Arduino compatible as well as uses the Murata SIP module. It’s therefore a good combination of Arduino prototyping ease with an upgrade path to commercial products.
Alternatively, an Arduino compatible board with a LoRa module provides a simple prototyping platform. Examples include Adafruit Feather M0, SODAQ ONE, Libelium Waspmote, Seeeduino, Ethicstech, Marvin, Badgerboard, and Rocket Scream.
LoRaWAN on LoRa module
This option requires two MCUs but allows using simple AT type commands to communicate with the LoRa modem. By using an external LoRa modem, this is a good choice when the device or application needs to be independent of wireless communication or allow different wireless communication technologies to be easily swapped or added.
Since the LoRaWAN code is embedded within the LoRa module and usually cannot be changed, it is important to confirm that the particular manufacturer’s firmware allows it to be used with KotahiNet’s network, i.e. used with KotahiNet’s band plan or the Indian 865 one. Otherwise, if it is an EU 868 module, confirm the channels can be configured to KotahiNet’s band plan using AT type commands.
Note that modules based on the SX1276 chip are a better choice than those based on the SX1272. Also, some modules only support Class A, so if a Class C device is required, that needs to be checked.
Microchip’s RN2483 is a popular choice (configuration instructions) as it has been available the longest.
While still early days, manufacturers are beginning to offer options that combine LoRaWAN with BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). This provides a low power option for both short and long distance wireless connectivity. Another advantage is being able to connect to the device from a smartphone, for example to configure it using an app.
AMIHO combines wireless M-Bus with LoRaWAN.
New options to combine LoRaWAN with Sigfox and/or NB-IOT / LTE Cat M-1 to provide multi-network capabilities are also becoming available.
Complete range of LoRaWAN modules, things, platforms, and dev tools from global suppliers