LoraWan network for home use

Hello There,

I am interested in the LoraWan network but not being an IT/Telco engineer, nor even an ingeneer in anything, I am not sure that my project is worth to develop further.

I have 3 interests for LoraWan:

  • Monitor the gate of my house. It has an electric motor, but it is quite old and it does not closed itself automatically and has no detectors. And it is far from my home and makes a zigbee install not possible.
    I imagine using a Lowa sensor to check on the status of my gate: open or closed
  • tags for keys: I would like to use a device like Ticatag or Invoxia to prevent me from loosing my keys, at least, in the surroundings of my house (av. 10 km)
  • tag for cat: we can find some collars equiped with Lorawan tags to monitor the cat while away from home.

First question: is it possibe to use a device like Ticatag or Invoxia on our own network (private or part of the TTN)?

If my understanding is correct, in order to set-up a network, I need End Nodes (sensors etc…), a gateway (either TTN one or Mikrotik or Pi powered), a server to store the data received (private one or using TTN and last but not least, an aplication to be able to use the data received from the sensors.
Is it manageable for a non-IT/TelCo person to set up and use a LoraWan network, either private or community like TTN?
I am able to install softs on a headless machine running a flavor of Linux (debian or Ubuntu), configure the softs using nano to edit the .conf with some documentation or tuto and run them.
I will not be able to write an app to run a server or to exploit the data received from the sensors.

In the begining I was considering to run a private network but I discovered TTN and the idea to participate in the expansion of the community network in my area is appealing to me and I guess using the TTN would broaden my coverage and help me with the server side.

Thks for your feedback!
If it is too early for a rookie like me to play with LoraWan, I will go back to Zigbee and my Jeedom

Maybe someone has better suggestions than mine.

  1. Gate project seems easy.
  2. I don’t know how TTN + LoRaWAN is helpful for lost keys. Maybe if you periodically send messages and if you respond with a downlink a beeper will be active to help you find the keys.
  3. You can buy LoRaWAN gps trackers. I bought one but the web interface was awful so I build mine. If the cat is away, even at 1km maybe you don’t have a signal. But in some cases (LOS) you can have signal up to 70km’s.

About coding.

  1. I think you can use a door sensor. Never tried.
  2. I don’t know if there is a product for that. So you need to build hardware and code. Be prepared for one year of exciting project.
  3. Several trackers are available, but you probably need to code.

You need to look at the products you have in mind and see if they support LoRaWAN - the two you’ve mention use SigFox which is vaguely similar technology but sufficiently different to not be the same.

If you want to setup a private network, you need to be asking questions on a different forum, this one is for LoRaWAN on TTN.

You do need end-devices / nodes plus a gateway to hear the signal and pass it on to the LoRaWAN servers. You do not need your own server, there are many of services that can take the output from TTN and display / monitor it.

It is very hard to say if you have the technical skills, it sounds like you do, as long as you are patient and read the docs you should be OK. There are also plenty of toolkits around to help you get started with some basic coding - if you can setup devices, a gateway and configure them on a LoRaWAN console, writing some code in Python to receive information and show a message on a screen is in the same realm of complexity.

TTN\LoRaWAN is not a very good fit for tracking stuff.

A GPS will not work in a lot of locations where you might loose your keys, so getting a location for the keys will be difficult.

And if the transmitting tag is at ground level (on a cat) the tag might well end up using long range mode, in which case you would be limited to around 24 position transmissions a day.

Hello guys,

Thank you very much for your answers, they are very helpfull for my thought process.

For the tracking part, I was more thinking on a give-me-your-position-upon-request rather than sending periodically the position.
I am not particularly interested in viewing the travel path of my cat but I am much more interested in locating him when he is missing for a few hours…
The same for the keys… I need to locate them only when I loose them.

I was thinking, maybe wrongly, that if I am using TTN, I would expand my coverage and then being able to locate the keys I might have lost during my week -end trip 300 kms away (provided that the TTN has local gateways to relay the signal…
ANd I like the idea of expanding the current network by adding my small contribution with my own gateway. I checked my living place and I am kind of at the limit of two gateways, which would permit to extand the coverage of the network.

Not a good idea, since LoRaWAN is like ALOHA, you don’t know that your message will reach the cat. Its better to have a history. Since it’s moving, there is a possibility that some messages will reach the GW.

Also LoRaWAN devices listen after uplink an only for two times in 6 seconds. If they listen all the time the battery will be over.

Unfortunately I don’t know for trackers with geofencing. Is someone knows, please post it.

If you want “deliver-ability” go to GSM (I don’t know about NB-IoT)

I suggest you to scan the area with a node with the help of TTNmapper. Check if you have enough coverage. For example in my area SF10 has 50% success. So, I use this. SF11, SF12 is forbidden, unless used occasionally. Just use SF10 or lower.

Funny idea. Get a mobile gateway to search for the cat in case of disappearance.

Since you seem adventurous guy, if you have the money to spare and the time, join us :stuck_out_tongue: an extra GW is always welcome.

I have build a tracker, but needs upgrading to low power (almost done) and LMIC (todo). Next step is to enable geofencing. I promise I will share the code if you do the soldering. :slight_smile:

@LoRaTracker I disagree. I think with good coverage, TTN/LoRaWAN, is good enough for tracking, if it’s not critical / urgent.

I have my Dragino LG308

  1. I have successfully make it connect to TTN v2,v3 AWS server
  2. I have my PCB(just received couple weeks ago) connect to TTN v3 and see status update every minute
  3. but, BEEP monitor app does not update status, meaning somehow TTN v3 does not connect to my BEEP PCB to BEEP server through TTN v3.
    any idea?

Is BEEP using TTN V3 already? They might not have migrated from V2 yet. You probably need to ask them.

Hi

I am actually see device update data every minute,which I setup interval on BEEP app.

and from BEEP app show Loraconnected., it look PCB is communicate with TTN V3.

Not sure where is missing

and when I try to backward to TTN v2, there are some information I need to configure on PCB, but not there are some item missing in BEEP app, such Device ID.

therefore I assume it is under TTN v3.

Simon