Changing Gateways (Currently using TTIG)

I’ve been running my own LoRaWAN product on my homestead using a TTIG as the gateway. I live on about an acre and my gateway sits in my office. I was adding some more end nodes further out on my property, and I noticed I wasn’t receiving any data. So, I moved the gateway close in the house, and I started getting data. I’m seeing around ~110dB on my further end nodes, and they sit probably around 300 feet from the gateway.

Anyways, I think it’s time to step up my gateway game since I plan on using more nodes on further parts of the property. I live in an urban setting. All that to say, I was wondering if I could get some advice on choosing a better indoor gateway. I was looking at the following:

RAK7246
RAK7243

Do you think I am making a good decision upgrading my gateway to one of these for my personal use? Or will I still run into range issues? Thanks!

The antenna will be key here, the core electronics doing the radio receiving will be broadly similar as the TTIG. Buy an antenna from an actual radio supplier, directly or via eBay. Not from Amazon, it’s filled with cheap bits of bent wire that can make you go backwards.

If you search the forum / Google, you can find instructions on hacking a TTIG to add an antenna connection.

Otherwise, for a moderate number of nodes, both RAK gateways are good, I’ve got one of each but tend to use the small blue one as it hurts less when I knock it off the edge of my cluttered desk - not sure there’s a point of paying for the metal case if you are in charge of where the gateway is located - if staff can reach it then metal cases help protect them from acts of random stupidity.

Also try improving the TTIG’s height above local ground level…even 2m more can make a big differene and if you can get an extra 3-5m (say moving up a floor level) then benefits can be significant, both in range and avoiding lower level clutter :wink:

Search the forum and you will also find some mods to add external antenna, which can also help increasing height…a couple of meters of 22mm polypipe with Ant taped to top opening with the feeder cable dropped down the middle to modified TTIG below can work wonders :slight_smile:

Thanks all for both of the great suggestions! I’ll try putting my TTIG (without modifications) in the attic for starters. Then, after that I’ll look into the blue box RAK. For an antenna, I was going to buy the one from RAK.

There’s also a fiberglass antenna, but I assume that’s more for outdoor applications.

Yes, they also a more sensitive one for about 30% more. If your devices are outside, maybe the antenna could be too …

Are you referring to the 5.8dBi gain fiberglass antenna? Either way, it sounds like it’s better to just get the fiberglass antenna for just $20 more which can be used for both indoor and outdoor while I figure out where to place the antenna relative to the gateway (which will be going in the attic assuming I can get some WiFi up there).

The higher the gain the less uniform the RF TX/Rx characteristics - risking bringing in nulls…and if at altitude the lower the coverage below the horizontal plane. Also dont forget a high gain Ant requires you to back off the TX power to keep within any local RF Regs :wink: 5.8/6dBi is about the limit of what I find makes sense for general non-specialist deployments. I’m sure the standard RAK 3dBi or even a 2.15dbi is good enough…dont forget to use low loss cable as it is easy to ‘give back’ the extra 2-3db with poor cable or connector losses.

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To be exact, the TTIG has a slightly less sensitive RF chip (SX1308 instead of SX1301 with an RX sensitivity of -139 dBm instead of -142.5 dBm).

This loss of 3.5 dB could be compensated with an appropriate antenna, I suppose. On the other hand, I think a proper outdoor gateway with the more sensitive SX1301 (which is also better suited for outdoor temperature range) PLUS a good antenna would be the best solution.

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Thanks all for the help. I decided to go with the RAK7243 since RAK has an Outdoor enclosure for it (in case I decide to move it outdoors). For the antenna, I’m just going to try the 3dBi from RAK for now and see how it goes.

They do?? I’ve not seen anything like that on their website, where about is it?

The metal case has holes in it to plug things in so that’s definitely not for outdoor use but good for industrial settings where it needs protecting.

I found this enclosure on their website which says it supports the RAK7243C. I assume it’ll work for the RAK7243. It’s under Enclosures on the menu.

Ah, yes, indeed, I was thinking of something more compact!

Following up to this comment, I wonder now a bit more about my antenna purchases. Originally I bought the 5 dB antenna that the Lora sensor vendor suggested as a package deal, but after this initial sale I studied Amazon-listed antennas and seemed to me to be the actual same 5 dB antennas that I bought from the OEM sensor vendor (but half the cost). I found that the vendor (and most vendors for that matter) source from China, so my question is how does one really know the ultimate source of the antenna and thereby whether cheap/under-performing antenna versus a quality one? Even if I went to a radio supplier, wouldn’t they also buy the same outsourced products? I would appreciate some insights before I continue buying more antennas. Thanks.

Simple advise is buy from reputable suppliers and outlets - there are a lot of ‘gash’ products out there on Amazon, Ebay, AliExpress, BangGood and elsewhere.

Buy through someone who supplies other parts in the LoRaWAN chain as they will no doubt stand behind what they offer.

Yes you may see cheaper but there are a lot of knock off/copy products, often untested and often 're-badged as the wrong frequency…many Forumites will no doubt have their own horror stories and problems to share. Search the forum and look at the Big & Small Antenna thread for others experiences

A good sign is if the vendor also posts the Smith charts and propogation profiles for the products they offer :wink:

Personally I have seen good products from many of the larger reputable distributors - RS Components, Farnell, Digi-Key, Mouser, (and their group/associated companies). Suppliers such as RAK WIreless, Dragino, iMST, RF Solutions, Laird, Multitech and many others…and yes I have taken a chance with the likes of Amazon, Ebay & AliExpress… only a couple of bad buys so far but there is always the next one! :slight_smile: If buying for formal (customer lead) deployment vs experimenting I go with official/known products. Have also follow some of the Forum (& TTN Conf Classes) self build guides - mostly with real-world success but a couple of bad builds - and from wider Internet (YMMV.)

Thank you very much. I too use Digikey for other things, so will give them a try. Thanks again.

I’m going to chime in here as well on the topic of reputable vendors. For one project I needed to solar charge a LiPo battery outside, unattended, and I wanted a safe charging module (Arduino prototype). I found the following module on Adafruit for $17.50 which does the trick. I did some more research and found the exact module on eBay for $2.79. I’ve used the module from eBay on multiple projects with no problems. That’s almost 9x cheaper.

I’m a fan of Adafruit, but at the same time I really do balk at the cost. I assume what you’re paying for is the service. I can post on the Adafruit forum and get an answer pretty quick about their products. Having said that… I’m somewhat new to the hardware world (I’m a software guy), and I thought I’d post my $.02 on hardware sales. It’s an absolute money pit and jungle. I really do enjoy hardware development/design as a hobby, but I feel like actually marketing/selling/profiting any hardware-based product is extremely difficult to do… especially LoRaWAN which also requires quite a bit of software as well.

I have to guess that again most hardware companies lose money on hardware unless they sell a ton of it OR sell a little for a lot. Either way, I don’t think you’re really paying for necessarily better hardware, but more like customer support. That’s been my experience albeit not too much.

You are paying for development effort as well. Copying an existing design using cheap (may be even counterfeit parts) In China is a lot easier and cheaper than designing, testing and documenting hardware in the USA. Hardware designed from scratch by Chinese manufacturers is usually more expensive as well.

And don’t forget, if everyone just buys the cheap clones from China no-one will earn the money required to develop new stuff.

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I can assure you, you are paying for better hardware by a metric mile.

Apart from Jac’s observation about counterfeit parts, there’s also part substitution because it is close enough and they have some lying around, questionable oven times on sensor parts, random niggles with board layouts, mounting holes and so on.

I do High Altitude Ballooning for schools - I’ve lost payloads over the years as I learnt new & interesting ways to mess up, but as the students do get very disappointed if we have a mission failure, I always fly branded components, many of which are Adafruit.

For sure, prototyping on the desk I have plenty of random items bought by the handful from Aliexpress. And in some instances I’ll deploy devices using some elements with the famous CE mark (China Export, not EU compliance!). But the devices would have to be real easy to swap out.

The very first batch of Raspberry Pi’s that were made, the factory swapped the magnetics on the Ethernet for a different model - resulting in a box of ~2,500 Pi’s being returned and 2 months delay in first shipments …

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Many things are made in China - like iPhones - it’s the level of supervision & traceability and the location of the label printer that makes the difference.

Particularly the label printer - got a bad batch or a batch with lower grade windings? Stick a no-name-clone label on it and flog it off - looks identical but isn’t up to spec.

Even better, be the intermediate that buys a few hundred who peels off the sticker and puts on a sticker very very very similar to the branded one.

A RAK antenna costs less than the cost of my time messing about with a post install support issue - sometimes it could cost me 1000 times more in lost future business.

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