Devices limits on TTN

I have a plan to create sensors for my hives (bee) and for now I wonder about communication protocol. For now, I have only five of them but in the future I will probably have much more, let’s say 50. Can I use free TTN stack, or it has some limitations? I can’t find any information about this. I don’t want to be stuck in some time with an expensive gateway and be forced to pay almost 200$/m for TTI.
My nodes will send small amount (temperature, etc.) of data in every 30 minutes.

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How many hives do you have?

For now 5, but in future I will have more, up to 50.

So pretty much a commercial level of activity, which pretty much answers your own question above.

No, it’s still a hobby project, just with a large number of nodes. It would be commercial if I started selling access. The first commercial threshold is 1000, which is a lot compared to 50.

I understand there’s some limit on the nodes that can be assigned to a single application? How many applications can I have? Is this somehow documented, or do administrators arbitrarily decide who starts being commercial and when?

What do you mean by selling access??

There has to be a minimum number to make the billing viable. The fact you want only 50 isn’t really a consideration, it’s all about commercial use. In the UK, 50 hives is the threshold to to join the UK Bee Farmer association for those providing pollination services &/or producing honey, which goes back to the my previous observation.

I’ve commented previously on this elsewhere, no, otherwise people would spend a lot of time trying to circumvent those guidelines.

Ouch (my emphasis in bold). Probably not the best way to open a conversation with @rish1. The question you have to ask yourself is, will you be making money out of this endeavour?

What do you mean by selling access??

By selling access, I mean selling devices using this connection. I know I can’t do this.

In the UK, 50 hives is the threshold to to join the UK Bee Farmer association

I’m using the number 50 as an example. I don’t expect to ever reach 50 hives, but if I invest in a gateway, which isn’t particularly cheap according to Eastern European standards, I would like to try setting up a weather station or some other sensors in the future (sensors for humidity in greenhouses come to mind).

Probably not the best way to open a conversation

By using the term “arbitrary,” I didn’t mean anything negative or ill-intentioned. However, if there are no clear limits anywhere, any cut-off from the infrastructure or a requirement to reduce it is someone’s arbitrary decision (or described in internal, non-public guidelines).

No where does it say you can’t do this. It’s the business model for many TTI users who provide specialist systems & the backend to support it.

When asked above, you said 50. What changed?

Gateways can be had from €90 up and I’ve many colleagues around Europe who make this one time investment. If the gateway cost is an issue and you are worried about how many devices / applications you are going to need, then perhaps you should use LoRa point to point, which would be off topic for this forum, but will save you the cost of the gateway and any potential issues with using too much TTN.

Arbitrary = “based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system:” - not seen this at all. Mostly I’ve been surprised at what’s been left to run or people being given a chance to sort out the mess they’ve made of their setup that’s impacted TTN - like last week when NAM & AU were timing out on the console.

As above, if the precise formulation is shared, people will just game the system. We We receive a considerable benefit courtesy of TTI for free, we are not in a position to make demands of how they offer this largesse.

Ultimately you appear to be hoping for reassurance that you can deploy more than a testing / maker level of devices and run them for free for your personal use. This can not be provided by people on the forum, you are best off contacting @rish1 at TTI to explain your requirement and discuss the matter further.

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Nothing. That was just a randomly invented number, that’s all. I wanted to know what the limit was, and that was just an example.

Alright, it seems like I didn’t quite understand how TTN works. I assumed it was a branch of a commercial service that provides some infrastructure for personal use, in line with community development and collaboration with hobbyists. Many companies operate in exactly this way. From what I gather, it’s just a testing version for those looking to transition to commercial projects. It’s totally fine.

It is. But it was never intended for commercial use and you provided information that implied that - telling me now that it was ‘just an example’ is either disingenuous or you were just wasting volunteer time.

I’ve not seen many operating at the scale or financial level that TTN does. Or indeed provide anything other than a severely limited number of devices - see more below.

This is the new positioning that ‘Sandbox’ addresses due to the number of users who attempt to run a commercial operation for free off the back of the TTN community servers. Or personal use that stretches the bounds of credibility - how many sensors does one household need?

If you are running a citizen-science or community project, say 60 portable Air Quality Monitors used by students to learn about IoT and to take readings around your town, then TTN community is, from my understanding, what it was setup for and is still here for. If you do want to run some personal use sensors, your community contribution comes in the form of your gateway.

As this seems to have got repetitive and mindful that Google is proactive in indexing the forum, I’m going to close this with the summary from the signup page (as at 26th Feb 2024):

Experiment and explore with The Things Network

  • Get hands-on experience with LoRaWAN®
  • Support your local IoT/LoRaWAN community
  • Build and participate in community projects
  • Fair usage policy applies (not suitable for businesses)
  • May experience occasional downtimes with no high availability