Hi. I’m wanting to install my own gateway so that I can start playing with LoRa/TTN sensors as well as contribute to the network by providing some local coverage in my (South East UK) location.
I’ve pretty much decided (based on cost, features & availability) to go with a MikroTik LR8 kit, which I plan to install inside but connected to an outside mounted MikroTik Omni 824-960MHz antenna. I am surrounded by tall buildings so I don’t think distance is going to be great - but I’m happy to try. I plan to use a PoE connection from my Ubiquiti PoE switch to power/backhaul the gateway. I will need to increase the length of the included 1m SMA cable in order to reach the antenna outside. I would disable the WiFi/AP interface as I have no need for it.
So here are my questions, please:
Is there any reason I should consider the KNOT model over the RouterBoard model? I don’t claim to understand many of the features quoted on the spec page for that model but want to future-proof my purchase as much as possible. It doesn’t cost much more.
Would increasing the antenna cable by a few metres (<5m) make a big difference over the included 1m cable? What brand/spec cable would minimise the signal loss?
Am I foolish proceeding with this setup in an urban environment surrounded by buildings (I can’t get the antenna high enough to clear any of them). But I can make use of the coverage myself, of course.
Thanks for any constructive advice! Looking forward to starting my LoRa journey
Yes/no. It heavily depends on the cable used. However good, low loss, cable with the right connectors don’t work well with the LR8 due to the positioning of the sma connector and the housing. Deploying the gateway outside next to the antenna is a far better solution and should work well. I’ve got two of them deployed outside for over two years without any issues.
Your deployment won’t be optimal but should work to and create some coverage. I would suggest to just go for it and once installed use an end device with gps to do some mapping (ttnmapper.org).
The easiest way to learn, as long as you don’t have to spend silly money, is to try stuff out.
Appropriate quality coax for an antenna is an “investment” plus all the dark arts of RF & connectors. Whereas Cat 5 cable is fairly cheap and so is decent quality twin power just on the inside to a power plug of some variety. And rather than getting in to antenna’s just yet, go with the internal antenna initially.
The LR8 is IP54 - which is weatherproof - it resists dust intrusion and it can withstand random water - splashes, rain etc - but no directed jets of water (SuperSoaker or Karcher) nor immersion (!!)
I live in Bolton, it’s either raining or about to rain or stopped raining pending it raining. But the rain has yet to form a jet directed at an angle of 90° or more towards an enclosure and whilst the cats may suggest that we are close to being submerged, that isn’t a thing. So the stuff I put under the eaves just gets on with doing it’s thing.
The gateway is essential but is only the starter - the real meat & potatoes comes from deploying devices. So I’d recommend you get the gateway up, don’t worry unduly about it’s coverage right now and get some sensors doing stuff to do things for you & perhaps act as a demonstration to the local community of what can be achieved.
If you use a cheap and thin cable it gives you an attenuation of 1dB/m at 868 MHz. That means you will loose half of the power every 3m.
As already stated, use a good cable. If you don’t know how to mount the plugs to the coax-cable, I would recommend to buy an assembled cable.
Ik think Nick means using the internal antenna of the LR8. Those units come with a (small) internal antenna. So you just need to mount it somewhere (preferably outside) and you can add the external antenna later on (will need opening the LR8 to switch internal antenna connectors)