Newbie trying to create a test system

Hi, I am new to LoRa and I am trying to get my head around setting up a bit of a test system with the hopes of moving it forward. Here is what I am looking to achieve in this test:

  • Gateway with a range of 50+ km (longer the better, it will be on a tall tower 30+’ high, and very sparse land with just some rocky hills and almost no trees.)
  • Plan for keeping it warm as it could get colder than -45 deg C
  • Small self contained nodes that can be carried. These would not see cold. tracking Position and preferably speed as well.

I am looking to use the gateway as a gatekeeper. Anything within the radius of my gateway would show position and speed) I am then looking to integrate that data with a custom built application ( mvc).

Located in Canada.

I am just starting to sift through the amazing amount of information, so if this is something already touched on. I am searching in the mean time!

Thank you everyone and forgive me if I am not using correct terms or provided enough detail.

If your using TTN, then study the fair use policy carefully;

A particular point is that GPS location\speed tracking, especially at the long distances you suggest, would severly limit the number of transmissions from a node.

Technically feasible, well within LoRaWAN capability - if implemented well, dont get seduced by exotic claims or high gain (dBi) antennas, its down to same core silicon and core physics with the engineering making the difference - few connectors, low loss cable between GW & Ant, and above all get height! Limiter will actually be topology of the land…even small undulations or outcrops as you move to the far field of range will effectivly mask signals.

A problem well solved by the telecoms & cellular industries, some self heating to be expected, will depend on how lossy any enclosure is as to how much local heating assist is needed - remember that will also need power - what is your source… Assume this is a continental climate from comments so also need to be aware of any excess heat potential in summers! Dont let system overheat - check specs for used system/silicon as performance and lifetime will degrade. In cold climates once running often all well and good, bigger issue tends to be if system unpowered or powers down for a time - e.g. power loss or even simple maintenance or upgrades and then very cold how well does system handle potential restart, does/will it restart!?

Again normal for trackers but search forum for how effective (or not!) LoRaWAN can be for tracking - it has its place but limits to speed of updates/latency and how many fixes per day - especually at long distance (= higher SF & hence longer on air time - duty cycle limits and in N.America issues like channel dwell time, which in practical terms limits to max SF10 with small payload - which itself may be a constraint on accuracy of any location fix), that in turn torpedoes option for speed checking unless looking at very slow moving or only considering average over say 1 hr (straight line - curves or wandering tracks effectively a no-no! Best option then woudl be local logging and calculation just reporting statistice very hour or so - min speed, max speed, average speed etc, given speed is distance over time and you will not be able to have control over the reporting time element…only gettig data every say 15mins, hour, few hours depending on connection success… also at extreme range if small/inefficient antenna on node and say held on body/inside clothing/vehicles etc, range may then be an issue!

Look at the LoRaWAN 101 (Stoking) video on TTN YT channel, read the docs linked on every page - “Learn” on TTN site pages, “documentation” at bottom of every TTN console page…

Until you have a gateway & a known good device (typically off-the-shelf) working, do not do anything else.

And gateways don’t have range. They sit and listen. If the correct radio waves reach them, that’s good. Most of the radio waves it will hear will be within a few km, some may travel hundreds of kms.

When you do your reading, what is the typical range quoted for a LoRaWAN setup?

Tracking devices are usually small so the antenna’s are small and they usually low on the ground. Not conducive towards radiating a signal a long distance due to local obstacles and the Fresnel effect.

Thank you for replying. No this would be fully self contained network.

I think we would just want to transmit Lat/long then. As we can calculate based on time distance at the application level. however would adding a speed add much to it? as it would just be every 10-15 min.

Yes that is perfect, I just didn’t explain well. We would only want max speed and lat/long every 15min or so.

Thank you I ill go through them!

To set this up as a test…not using any network, just setting up a gateway and shooting for 15km range for now. What equipment would be the best to start with?

Also, for the cold…could I run an internal gateway and then just run a 40-60’ cable to an antenna?

thank you again everyone!!!

You need to read up on & learn ‘LoRaWAN’ to see the elements you need - including a ‘network’ for which read LNS (LoRaWAN Network Server)…however,

This forum is for TTN & the TTN Community - paid for by TTI - your network would be out of scope for the forum unless you use a TTS instance… in which case you would likely need a paid instance and you need to talk to TTI about support.

Read up!.. and check for airtime useage based on SF and payload size…this may not be practical at a distance, either due to TTN FUP or simply airtime/legal limits… for now do your research then come back with specific questions as otherwise this discussion will be/is too ‘open ended’, and the volunteers are not here to proide free ‘consulting’ for private networks :wink:

Sounds good. I wasn’t sure how everything was linked and what was considered TTN based as if I used equipment but did my own setup. Its all on private land and nothing anywhere close so not sure any limits apply, but I will dig into that more.

Thank you for your help and I will look a little deeper.

Irrelevant! :wink:

We arent talking close - its a LOng RAnge communications technology where anyone in range hears (and their equipment may allocate handling resourses and act on what it hears) and where there is a shared, open - but none the less regulated - RF spectrum…yes with rules - usually set at a country or regional level, breach them and you risk :judge: :police_car: :policeman: :policewoman: :oncoming_police_car: :slight_smile: :man_shrugging:

and don’t “shoot for 15km range”, particularly as you haven’t answered the fundamental question:

The law applies, because radio waves don’t have a map with your boundaries on it, so have a nasty habit of spilling over to disrupt other users.

And you have no way of knowing if there are other users in range in the ISM band that you may affect unless you get an SDR up & running to find out what activity there is.

Yes, but again, wire is not a perfect conductor, particularly when it moves a rapidly oscillating signal. So that 15m of cable will need a pile of calculations to match it with the right antenna to compensate for the losses.

Which, to sound like a broken record, indicates how much you need to stop running and learn to walk first.

We will be happy to help point you to resources to learn all these things, assuming you can get internet access from where ever the authorities decide you should be living :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It’s hard enough getting to first base with LoRaWAN. Range is a whole new book (not chapter). Tracking is a whole can of worms that covers so many books - legal duty cycle, payload format/size, battery life, antenna placement, mapping of data and that’s off the top of my head.

As with so many other first forays in to LoRaWAN, this is over ambitious as a first outing and you’ve given us so little detail we can’t help. Asset location on LoRaWAN is a thing. Telemetry in retrospect is a thing. Real time tracking is NOT a thing. Chip antennas isn’t a thing over long range, whip antennas on the top of a semi is a thing.

Your call, we can help, but only if you let us.

Ah, the I am in the middle of nowhere argument.

I hear that a lot, so conclude that the middle of nowhere is actually very crowded.


I appreciate all the detail and the replies. It frustrates me…after 20+ years in the software business the deal is the same with every forum. I obviously do not understand, I am obviously learning and I obviously want to try things to try and understand. Yet, the tone of most replies is like that of a preacher standing on a soap box. Its unfortunate that people assume the worst only to preach why what I am attempting is out to lunch, or to drone on about how uneducated I am. (I appreciate that…as it is also very helpful)

I am sorry I cannot frame my thoughts in exact use cases knowing every law, and issue I will run into. What I will do is try and come back once I am fully educated and know how everything works to ask a better formatted question with proper controls and details in place!

As is every forum…it is ripe with “let me show you why you are no capable and why I am the authority on things” posters who rant on and do little more than that. I will do like i have done with every project I was told I could not do and developed it into a very successful outcome.

And to the others who chose to be helpful! Thank you for taking the time to post! Have a great day!

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Before forums I read the same complaint on mailing lists and on Usenet. The basic issue is that d*mn few people invest time in sharing their knowledge and those that do get tired continuously explaining the basics to new people.
If those new people asking questions would stay around and help after they learned the ropes by answering questions posted by the next batch of newbies there would be less of an issue. However once new users get the answers they need they drop of the radar deploying what they learned, seldomly donating back to the community that helped them out.
If you know how to solve this issue I’m very interested.

There are people here well versed in the technlogy, its uses, limitations and pitfalls. They are guiding you to walk dont run! They are pointing you to resources that will help your understanding :slight_smile: Many users start with a ‘I want to monitor the temperature in my green house at the back of the house’ or’ I want to monitor the moisture in my pot plant’ and build up from there…Not a ‘I want to push the envelope on range, do it in extreme climates and general conditions and attempt to deploy the technology in a use case that might not be a good fit and oh I’ve not read up on it yet but will ask for help’. Asking for help is good… we are and will try! What you are seeing is not preaching…

I’m sure you started out coding classic hello world loops or simple tic-tac-toe games or something simple whilst you studied and learnt before striking out to code a MRP suite in a language you dont know based on terms you might not understand, right? You would learn the language and basics of coding using information helpfully provided to you so you can learn by coders, programmers and s/w architects who have knowledge and experience and who were willing to share… not people who were preaching to you! In the same vane if your tic-tac-toe cum MRP planning system failed to run correctly it would affect no one but yourself, and possibly the machines you ran it on (or tried!)…get RF wrong and you are potentially (very!) disruptive to others, and with LoRa/LoRaWAN potentially over many100’s kmsq!..and more importantly get it very wrong and you might have to pay fines or even go to jail! Not preaching…saving you from yourself! :slight_smile: :+1:

I appreciate your view…but to be honest, I didn’t think I was “pushing the envelope” and this all seems pretty standard. And although I have not been studying every aspect nor the laws around it, I have followed it for some time and I am very surprised to learn I am pushing the envelope and living dangerously about to mess up everyone’s lives and possibly go to jail lol . Although if I am…I guess I will step back and just get myself a walker and take my time.

Considering there are literal packages out there to help people do just what I am asking about in urban environments. (with the exception of extreme cold and trying to ask for a little more distance. (which I said I scaled back when I was urged this is not an easy feat)

I am just very glad everyone has saved me from myself and jail as I tamper with the very fabric of space time.

As an aside, I am not sure a “No one gives back so I won’t help” is a valid argument. I help out on Programming forums everyday and sometimes in vast detail since the days of ICQ, and I never feel frustrated that the people owe me something. If you only give expecting to get back, its not really giving.

I Am going to step out of this conversation now, as it seems to have been derailed and I will just dig into my own research and go from there. I have learned my lesson. Thank you everyone!


I’ve been contributing to this forum since October 2015 and moderating since April 2016. And I am not helping?

Whilst this sorry episode really needs to be laid to rest, there appear to be two issues that warrant clarification:

That wasn’t what was said, the point made was that there are only a handful of people regularly answering questions and consequently it doesn’t take much before we get emphatic when the advice offered doesn’t appear to be taken on board with subsequent posts. More people answering means more capacity to take it slower.

The second issue is that there is no point asking for advice if you aren’t going to accept the responses. Even for factual issues or simpler implementation questions we can end up with a dozen or more posts before the OP takes heed. A cursory search of the literature & documentation is frequently omitted. So when a first time poster tagging themselves as a newbie wants to jump straight to a complex or edge case application, any serious technical or legal boundaries raised are likely to require some experience to appreciate, experience that can’t be acquired overnight.

Using the learning resources & starting with a simple setup is good. The very best way to learn this stuff in depth is to see questions on the forum, do a little bit more reading to give a good answer, because you can only truly know something if you can explain it to someone else. Speaking of which, I’ll nip over to answer the question about AWS after I checked out the v3 instructions this afternoon.

Thank you for your time. You are right it is me, I apologize and will tone down my enthusiasm and my riskiness in the future. Have a great evening.

One issue that should be pointed out is that this appears to be a request for information\help on a private system.

This is a forum paid for by TTI for discussion of TTN use systems, not private ones.

To someone seeking help from the volunteers on here the difference might not be significant, but it is.

TTN has a fair access limit, so discussions about what might be practical\possible in private systems can easily give an impression that the same principles apply to TTN systems, this is a TTN forum remember. Mr Google has a long memory.