Cost effective and economical Gateway

Dear TTN Community,

I have a question about the different possibilities to build your own gateway.

We, the scouts in Kolbermoor (small town in Bavaria, Germany), are currently building a node to transmit multiple consumption meters for our youth campground. First we thought about a transmission via GSM, until we came across TTN. A gateway is just about reachable with a good directional antenna. The hardware is the current Nucleo board from STM. So the whole thing could work well for us.

So that now also others profit from TTN, I would like to install also with me at home a gateway since there is far and broad none. So I could probably cover the whole city. What scares me off is the high price and the power consumption for the devices.
What possibilities are there to save money here and which economical hardware could I use? For example, I still have a first-generation PI here and also an older PI Zero.

Thanks a lot and best regards,

(Translation with DeepL)

Can you quantify the numbers on this please as it’s a very relatively measure.

A concentrator card for a Pi is going to cost around €90-120 but you can buy whole gateways for €160 which run at around 5W power. With a little bit of DIY you could use a modified TTIG (~2W) with an external antenna.

When saving money, please consider reliability - if you install a gateway on the TTN Community network and three or four other organisations start making good community use of it but your gateway is unreliable because it was made for as little money as possible, then it becomes a bigger problem.

The best thing to do is to get started with something like at TTIG, get a couple of other groups involved and then launch a TTN Community - hopefully you’ll then be able to get some businesses to help.

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Careful there.

In lots of countries in Europe most nodes are already set to transmit on the legal ERP (Effective Radiated Power) limit. If you add a ‘good directional antenna’ the nodes could be breaking the legal ERP limit.

Good point. If I had an unreliable gateway near me, I’d be upset, too. But using the gateway is free of charge. You can hardly make any claims.
I too would only provide it because I like the principle of TTN and see enormous potential in it for many innovative ideas.
So far I had in mind the newer chipsets like 1302 or 3, but yes, for a start I could also modify a TTNIG. Would also be installed in the attic.

For us, a simple BiQuad antenna would probably be enough to penetrate the interfering forest. Exactly these ~15m of forest interrupt the connection.

Erm, yes we can - otherwise the entire community network would be thrown in to chaos - the network works because people leave gateways running. Just like the one that you are currently enjoying the use of - how would it be if that just disappeared whilst you are getting the project up & running? And it is definitely not in the spirit of Baden-Powell either.

In return for a small investment in some hardware, a little bit of electricity and tiny amount of internet connection, you get to use a state of the art LoRaWAN Network Server and have access to a community of all sorts of experiences & expertise for free. Particularly the servers - which run on large AWS instances around the world running to to 5 figures a year - paid for by TTI.

If you can’t be sure of running a reliable gateway then please use a paid for instance or host your own stack.

I must have expressed myself incorrectly (or by Translation). I meant that I can’t make big claims if I use an access that is accessible right now. In principle, it’s free, so take what is offered.

That the access must run stably and permanently is clear to me. Hence my thoughts up front on the hardware.
On Baden - Powell: Touché. Two of the original statements of the Scout Law can be applied here :smile:

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The chipsets all come from the same place and the effort it requires to design & make a concentrator card means that only the serious get involved. So all gateways are the same at their core - it’s all about connectivity to the internet, the case and the user interface for configuration.

Which means that a TTIG with a well performed antenna upgrade in an attic (to keep the antenna cable run short) with a half-decent antenna that’s just left to run is a great start. And then easily replicated at the edge of its coverage - three like that placed where you can is worth far more than one gateway in a metal case with fancy PoE and N type connectors.

Start small and build from experience, community buy in comes from showing them all sorts of interesting data - like water depths, park waste bins full alerts, air quality etc.

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Whatever, do the antennas being used cause the nodes to breach the legal ERP limits for your part of the World ?

Thanks for the explanation. As soon as the hardware is procured and the power supply in the attic is clarified, I will let you know here.
I myself am already very excited about the further development.

Unfortunately, the BiQuad has to be, otherwise it won’t work and we will only send one tiny package per day, so no one will notice if a few dB are exceeded here.

Hi @dpsg-kmoor

I recommend RAK Wireless gateways. For me as “non-technical” it was easy to add them to the TTN network on packet forwarder of now basic station.

Further more: WisDM is a cloud management tool for gateways. The first 3 are for free. 10 gateways $ 14,- per month. See : WisDM – Remote IoT Fleet LoRaWAN Gateway Management System - RAKwireless - IoT Made Easy

And as you live in Germany, is now an offical RAK dealer. Pricing is really really good.

Good luck
ps, I have 20 RAK gateway’s in my network

I have two TTN gateways

  1. The Things Gateway which with a good external antenna gives good local coverage
  2. The Things indoor gateway which I carry with me when traveling and cannot find a local gateway

Good evening Brian,

Thanks for your offer but it looks like I will have a gateway available soon.