As the inventor of LoRa® and CTO of Semtech, Nicolas Sornin knows more about emerging LoRa technology than most. Sornin kicked-off The Things Virtual Conference on April 16 with an exciting deep dive into the LR1110 LoRa Edge™, a brand new module from Semtech which combines LoRa, Wi-Fi and GNSS. Here are the key takeaways.
The LR1110 LoRa Edge module is the result of three years of hard work by a team of about 50 people at Semtech. It boasts an impressive list of features:
- Wi-Fi geolocation in as little as 80 milliseconds
- GNSS geolocation in 1.65 seconds with up to date almanac
- Software defined radio (SDR) continuously covering 100MHz to 1GHz
- -141dBm LoRa sensitivity
- 2μA sleep current with Real Time Clock
- Hardware crypto engine
- Secure provisioning of keys, overrideable by OEM
Three radios in one
The LR1110 features a LoRa transceiver, a Wi-Fi passive scanner, and a Multi-constellation GNSS scanner, all in one software defined radio. While this limits the radio to one activity at a time (you can't search for a GPS signal and decode Wi-Fi packets at the same time), it allows for incredibly optimized, low power operation all along the frequency spectrum.
The device sleeps at a tiny 2μA, and has two onboard amplifiers optimized to produce
+14dBm @ 28 mA @ 3.6 V
+22dBm @ 120 mA @ 3.6 V
It also supports low power Wi-Fi and GNSS scanning, boasting GNSS lock in only 1.65 seconds. Geolocation via Wi-Fi is even more power efficient, and a lock is possible in only 80 milliseconds.
- GNSS @ 6 mA @ 3.6 V (locates in 1.65s)
- Wi-Fi @ 12 mA @ 3.6 V (locates in 80 ms)
The LR1110 is the first Edge solution device from Semtech, designed to combine on chip processing with cloud services to provide low power, fast, and accurate geolocation results.
For GNSS geolocation, the LR1110 uses a preloaded almanac to predict the location of available satellites, and then scans for the satellites, and sends a LoRaWAN uplink with this transaction data. The consumer of the data then passes it to a cloud solver to produce the latitude, longitude, and altitude of the module. This cloud service is opt-in and is provided by Semtech as an HTTP endpoint. Users may also be able to implement their own solvers, or to license Semtech's solver in the future to run it privately.
As an example, in The Things Network console, a user can set up an integration so that uplinks containing GNSS data are automatically posted to the Semtech solver. Semtech does not intercept data coming from the device, and the user is completely in control of which data is sent.
Wi-Fi geolocation works similarly - the device passively scans for available networks, and sends an uplink with a list of available networks and their signal strength. This data can be posted by the user to Semtech's solver, which returns a location within 30m accuracy.
Secure from the start
Sornin covered the device lifecycle, highlighting some important points along the way. The device has its keys securely provisioned at the factory, though distributors can choose to load their own keys, update the almanac and change firmware without degrading the security of the device. The device operates as both a modem and a transceiver, and OEMs can install firmware to match the intended device use. Firmware upgrades also allow the device to support future LoRaWAN specifications.
No user code
The LR1110 is designed to run software delivered and signed by Semtech. It can not be programmed to run custom applications. It must be paired in the field with an application MCU, and it supports communication via Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) to serve as a LoRa Transceiver or Modem.