Low Cost LoRa Compliant Gateways

(Doogli) #1

I don’t have a lot of money to spend on contributing to the network or the community., but I have just set up my first 2 single channel packet forwarders

  • an RPi2 with this quirky little board I bought from MicroRobotics in Stellenbosch Elecrow - you guys rock, although you hadn’t much more of an idea how to use this board than I did - .nss pin is WiringPi pin 11, the rest as per default hallard SCPF RPi config, for those who want to be saved some pain

  • an ESP-12E / RFM95W (also from MicroRobotics running this ESP8266 gateway

I had to read quite a bit to get those working and neither is stable yet, but one thing I learned is that single channel packet forwarders are not really in the interests of TTN - they have kind of evolved in the way that only open source software can, because people always find a way. Since I understand the concerns with such mutant, non-compliant beasts once they are out there in the wild, and the implications for the network as a whole, I thought maybe there is a middle way. It’s a stretch even for our European collaborators for fork out €300 for a TTN gateway, or €190 for an IMST iC880A concentrator board plus a spare RPi2/3 to make a full blown, compliant gateway. More so for us with our dominant Rand :sweat_smile: Then I also saw that people are building multi-channel packet forwarders with multiple RFM95W breakouts - how cool is that? So my proposal/question for the Western Cape Community is this:

Can we not roll out a whole bunch of these devices that satisfy the minimum requirements of TTN so that the cost is distributed in a way that we can all afford and the network is not compromised by isolated non-compliant devices?

What do you say? Am I barking?

(LoRaTracker) #2

Well, one issue with a low cost multiple RFM9x approach is that you need multiple antennas, which may not be practical.


As an example of how prices are declining for fully compliant devices, see this for about 125 Euros

(Remko) #4

Interesting development. Seems similar to the TTN gateway because of FreeRTOS.


Customers interested in attachment to different Network Servers should get in touch with TEKTELIC support.

It suggests that it will be difficult to configure your self or to TTN

(LoRaTracker) #5

How can you tell that the Tektelic is “fully compliant” ?


At the bottom of the page here,

right below the description of that gateway and their others, they have the LoRa Alliance Member “Certified System” logo.

Incidentally, I just learned that their shipping for that gateway is somewhat expensive… about $65 (US) to most of the world.


wow! that’s a pretty good deal. even with the US$65 shipping.

They have some bigger units that they are mentioning but have not got for sale (or any public info on yet) that could be interesting to know about when they finish their website.

Would love to see this pico unit opened up for use with other systems. it’s only a kinetis K64F - if there’s any good quality lorawan gateway stack software available to use, might be possible to just take that and make 3rd party firmware for it.

(Russ Nelson) #8

The Pico is not supported for use with TTN. They’ll sell you one, and hand you some documentation and sample files, but don’t expect them to answer any questions.

It might be supported in the future, but isn’t now. I’m sending mine back.

The hard RAK831 cafe part 2
(Russ Nelson) #9

I forgot to mention that the Pico goes silent after about 90 minutes. Stops forwarding packets. Definitely do not buy one until Tektelic advertises and provides TTN support.


Thanks, that’s helpful to know. It’s listed here: https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/gateways/start/list.html
’This gateway is an easy-to-configure gateway, advertised as a plug-and-play pico gateway.'
And @adrewetx here
Read LoRaWan Sensor directly
describes Tektelic gateways as easy to configure.
I wonder whether TTN core team members might find it possible and useful to communicate with Tektelic about getting clear documentation for making their gateways readily TTN-compatible.

(Russ Nelson) #11

Tektelic says that they have TTN support as a goal, but they’re not there yet.

(Doogli) #12

Thanks for your respnses. Point about multiple antennae taken, although cost is again the only real hurdle there as LoRaWAN is highly resilient to noise, so it should be ok. Unless ther is some other point I’m missing.

Yes, it seems that less expensive gateways are emerging eg. http://www.rakwireless.com/en/WisKeyOSH/RAK831 - nothing new, there is a thread dedicated to this board here on TTN Fora.

I’ll keep posting if I see other low cost options, especially if they are available in South Africa

(Bradzcave) #17

I just got mine going…


configuration wasn’t easy but I’m happy to help others after going through their tech support. I needed new binary and config files and their docs are not great. if more people are buying them (best price going right now), then I’ll make a config script for this gateway.

< 200€ Plug and Play 868Mhz Gateway?

Excellent. Congrats.

(Henri C) #19

Hi @bradzcave, are you happy with the results ? (range, packet loss, etc…) I’m looking for a gateway in this price range :slight_smile:

(Bradzcave) #20

Very… it’s solid and a good price. Lots of devices using this gateway even though its indoors. But… only config via TFTP, so it’s not just a few clicks to get it to use different networks. Some strangeness about it always using zero for snr and rssi too (support never answered this, probably cut some corners on their low end?)

I’ll post the latest bin and config files here if you need them.

(Littleoz2) #21

I have just got one of these,
How did you configure it to connect to TTN?
Thanks in advance.

(Bradzcave) #22

Did you get the latest binaries on their portal site?

You need too be very careful the file names for your config files (or else your tftp commands will fail).

LoRaWAN.json (1.9 KB)
lorawan_config.json (6.8 KB)

(Littleoz2) #23

Portal Site?

I didn’t receive any user guide or documentation with the device, and the user guide I found online all it said about configuring it was to plug power and network into it haha.

(Littleoz2) #24

Where did you get the binaries from?
I found a configuration User Guide on support.tektelic.com/portal, which says about the firmware but can’t find anywhere to download it from