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gkswift
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« on: December 03, 2016, 04:07:27 16:07 »

I'm interested in in low power radio tech and been running LoRa  (Long Range) gateways for the past 6 months using a combination of Raspberry Pi + a LoRa gateway board from the either iMST or RisingHF.

It's fun to run license-free (ISM: 868 or 915Mhz bands) battery powered sensor nodes reaching distances up to 5Km in the city and there is already a great community and lots of open source at http://www.thingsnetwork.org

LoRa tech is unfortunately proprietary and worse, all hardware comes from a single company: Semtech. This is especially bad for gateways because you can't just buy the chips - SX1301, a type of FPGA to listen on 8 RF channels with different encodings. Only licensed gateway manufacturers can get the chips, all hardware has to approved in France and even the data sheets are under secretive NDAs.

This meant that true multi-channel LoRa gateway boards have been priced well upwards of $100

However China delivered and about 2-3 months ago these gateway chips began appearing in Taobao - costing not more than $2!
I ordered 10 chips from https://world.taobao.com/item/524964459840.htm#detail and they arrived in a plastic bag. No problem, no question asked.

There is already a project at https://hackaday.io/project/13373-lora-concentrator using this chip but it has design bugs, doesn't work and worse had no more progress. The lack of public information is jarring to anyone hoping to participate, if you even publish the datasheet anywhere public Semtech will send a takedown notice in a few hours.

Hopefully this isn't the case here Cheesy and I hope to continue the project and document it as I go along.

To get things started here's the datasheet for the SX1301 chip:
https://www.scribd.com/document/333101561/SX1301-Copy?secret_password=v2igCgDr6qb0vmXMVT0D
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 04:12:55 16:12 by gkswift » Logged
bigtoy
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2016, 09:31:55 21:31 »

Good luck with your project. I've been looking at LoRa for some time as well,  but haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet.
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vern
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2016, 02:04:44 14:04 »

Im just starting with LoRa, very interesting. Thanks for the Datasheet, very helpful
I will try to post my results if I get there!
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Gallymimu
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2016, 06:45:32 18:45 »

I'm also following LoRa and Sigfox.  We're pretty close with Microchip Corporate which does a lot with LoRa.  I can ask them some questions.
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Wilksey
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2016, 12:48:49 00:48 »

Microchip don't do a gateway as far as I know.
Semtech gave me 5 samples of the 1301, FOC, but they said that MOQ was something like 100k due to support costs and an upfront cost of 10k, but they still sent through the free samples even after I displayed my displeasure towards their costs and MOQ.
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Gallymimu
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2016, 04:29:04 04:29 »

Microchip don't do a gateway as far as I know.

No, Microchip does not "directly" sell a gateway or make much of what they have public-ally available. 

On another note, I haven't studied this much, but why LoRa over Sigfox?

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Wilksey
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2016, 12:18:25 12:18 »

Isn't SigFox subscription based? And low data rate?
SigFox also relies on infrastructure, as far as I understand, it is almost a 869MHz to 3G/4G bridge, but the transceivers are installed by the infrastructure provider (Arqiva here), but the roll out isn't very good.

LoRa is free to use, LoRaWAN is where the gateways come into it, I *think* multitech's gateway has an online interface where you can pull data direct from their web interface rather than having to go through a data service (which is also subscription based I think), allowing it to work similarly to an MQTT system.

These are the (perhaps incorrect) generalisations I have made about the two technologies.
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an007_rld
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2016, 07:48:42 19:48 »

this might help: https://github.com/BastilleResearch/gr-lora
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bigtoy
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2016, 05:45:40 05:45 »

Isn't SigFox subscription based? And low data rate?
SigFox also relies on infrastructure, as far as I understand, it is almost a 869MHz to 3G/4G bridge, but the transceivers are installed by the infrastructure provider (Arqiva here), but the roll out isn't very good.

Yes, Sigfox is a commercial company (from France) that rolls out their infrastructure and then charges for connecting to their network. It certainly has similarities to LoRaWAN (low data rate, long range, etc) but you have to pay them to use it. The cost isn't high (nothing like cellular) but I've never found solid pricing on it. Numbers I've heard have been in the range of $1 per month for a simple device (like an automobile tracker). Pricing drops if you have more devices connected. They have publicly said $1 per year (per device) if you have 50,000 devices connected; I don't know if that's still correct.

By contrast, the big attraction of LoRaWAN is it operates in the unlicensed band, and it's free to use (but you need a gateway). Some groups are trying to build out free LoRaWAN networks; for example https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/  If something like that exists where you live, you don't even need the gateway as it's already there.
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