Thanks everyone. It may sound weird but I really appreciate pushback because that means that people actually care.
Gateways are still the biggest pain in the network and I think many Alliance members share that.
Before addressing your concerns, let's take a few steps back.
Like everyone, we started with the Semtech UDP packet forwarder. Mostly because our focus was on other things. Now, UDP is not secure and not reliable. The forwarder is hard to configure, let alone remotely configurable easily, kept on introducing breaking changes (new formats, drop USB support) and as it's written in C and the way it is written, it is hard to maintain. Also, the community developed forks to support multiple networks (a bad idea), new protocols (a good idea), we hosted one of those forks, but it diverged with Semtech's reference design.
Because of all this, we saw a need for a new packet forwarder: use the HAL, a secure and authenticated TCP protocol, written in Go. Sounds simple but it's not. Now, with a) the availability of so many commercial gateways and SPI settings and constrained hardware and b) the overhead and inevitable complexity, we decided to discontinue the forwarder.
But that is not the whole story. We are working on a major update of The Things Network, which will be announced soon. Part of this, is the Gateway Agent which runs on the Linux gateway and interfaces with the network server, and controls a Semtech based packet forwarder. It generates the
global_conf.json file from data from the server: regional parameters, channel plan, the network server to connect to and gateway installation specific settings (max tx power). So it's the Semtech packet forwarder + the Gateway Agent.
I don't agree that we rushed with that, but maybe we can improve our communication here. Also, that specific fork is legacy.
We outsource the SX1301 interfacing to the Semtech's reference design packet forwarder or the manufacturer's variant of it, so that we can focus on a generic Gateway Agent. I believe that it becomes much easier instead.
Good question. There is no such thing as premium scheme users on The Things Network, and if that will ever exist, security will be there for everyone. The Gateway Agent will be open source. In fact, we are more committed to open source and there will be more open source than there is today, but more about that soon.