RAK7249 vs The Things Outdoor Gateway

This is a work in progress. I received the TTOG on 22 May 2019, and the last few parts for the RAK on the day before. So far it seems like TTOG is still in beta and the software is quite limited in features.

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Both have metal enclosures and come with a bracket to allow it to be pole mounted. The RAK comes with all required antennas, while the TTOG does not come with a LoRa antenna.

Feature TTOG RAK7249
Outdoor Yes Yes
LTE Yes Yes
WiFi No Yes
Ethernet Waterproof connector at bottom of case. Waterproof connector at bottom of case.
PoE 802.3at 48V
Battery none Yes (optional)
Solar panel input none Yes (optional)
Software Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS. Very limited feature set. Only Semtech UDP packet forwarder support. OpenWRT based. Fully working with good reconnect logic for switching or bad connections.
GPS antenna Bottom of case. Nice and small. Bottom of case. Way too long, making installation difficult.
LTE antenna One at bottom of case, so not MIMO. Two at top of case.
WiFi antenna none One at top of case.
LoRa antenna Top of case N connector. Does not come with an antenna. Top of case. Comes with a very good 868MHz antenna.
Sim card slot Standard Sim size. Can be accessed without opening the case. In an unused antenna connector at top. This might be a risk for water ingress if the slot cover is not secured properly. Nano Sim size. Internal sim card slot.
Remote management of gateway unknown The web interface can be accessed from the internet if the gateway has a public IP address.
Pole mount bracket 1 degree of freedom. 2 degrees of freedom, but feels a little flimsy. I won’t use this on a high site with a lot of wind.

Some remarks
The TTOG comes in a very nice and compact outdoor enclosure, but it has less features than the RAK. The TTOG’s antennas - which it has less of - are spread out well around the case. The RAK7249 has too many antennas too close together that might interfere. Also the RAK’s antennas are unnecessary large. The latter makes installation difficult.

The RAK7249 comes with very stable and feature rich firmware. The TTOG’s firmware allows it to be configured for a Semtech UDP gateway server, ethernet and LTE.

For remote inaccessible sites neither of these two gateways provide a reliable remote management interface like we are used to with Resin.io (BalenaCloud).

Both gateways come with pole mount brackets which allows it to be tilted or rotated in different directions when its mounted. This is however a weakness in the design and in places with a lot of wind this bracket might break, or at least let the gateway sway around.

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Looks good but I am not happy with all those antennas directly mounted on the housing. This will heavily affect radiation patterns.

I have serious concerns about the forces that are applied on the N-type female connectors.

  • Will they survive over time?
  • How will this affect the ability to keep water and moisture outside the housing after a while?

The mitigating measure is that each antenna has a cable and a separate mounting. This will turn a installation in to a christmas tree. Not good either. What is the optimum?

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Where did you buy the TTOG? I’ve been struggling to find store links on the TTN website.

https://connectedthings.store/gb/lorawan-gateways/the-things-outdoor-gateway-868-mhz.html
https://connectedthings.store/gb/lorawan-gateways/the-things-outdoor-gateway-915-mhz.html

@jpmeijers What model number is that GPS antenna on the RAK7249? It doesn’t look right. It looks like a full wavelength 5dB lora antenna rather than a GPS antenna.

The images on their site show an appropriate GPS antenna. Is that long antenna what they sent you for a GPS antenna? It must be a mistake! :thinking:

@bryansmith yes the long antenna is marked to operate on 1575.42MHz, which is GPS.

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I complained about this with RAK and their answer was as follows:

Regarding the GPS antenna, We find the source which we think the performance is better. Why you said it is too large for your application? Do you meet installation problem or you need put these gateway inside another waterproof case?

yes, GPS antenna is quite big but we also use new smaller one(as you see in the sales page) in stock(before, we don’t have too much stock so send another one), Do you need new GPS antenna?

I am actually still unhappy with this long antenna because it makes the entire gateway very bulky, and there is no reason why a smaller GPS antenna with less gain won’t work. The main purpose of this gateway is LoRa, not GPS. I’d even run this gateway without GPS. So I’m very confused why RAK sent me this giant pole and not a smaller one like the one in their photos.

Side note:
I had a few issues with the RAK7249 DIY gateway as the kit I received did not contain all the parts needed. On 3 March 2019 I emailed RAK about the missing parts and the other issues I had like the large GPS antenna. They only sent me the missing parts on 14 May 2019. So I’m glad I have a working gateway now, even though everything isn’t perfect.

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source

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they look like ‘marine’ GPS antennas

Interesting…I have an outdoor RAK gateway it came with 2 small 0 dbi antennas but was pretty much useless for real outdoor range…

I noticed in some of the pictures in this thread with the antennas are configured to closely together…from the documentation if one has two antennas they need to be 100 cm apart…

wall_deploy2-two-attennas

This is my soon to be deployed gateway in Washington, DC :), I will be doing a wall mount, not a base station.
my_outdoor

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Has anybody tried to configure LTE? I am trying with a hologram.io sim without success so far

@krital yes I have done LTE on both these two gateways. At first it worked perfectly on both using a custom APN on one of our main mobile networks. A few days ago TTOG stopped connecting and even after a factory reset I can’t get it to connect anymore. The RAK was offline for a couple of weeks and I switched it back on a few days ago. Connected perfectly. The following day I got notification emails that it used more than 512MB of data over night!! So now it is offline too because it ran out of data.

Actually i managed to get it working using hologram. I then used the hologram features to create an ssh tunnel to the box for ssh and another for web interface. I logged in and installed node exporter so i can now get metrics. As i have no clue about this firmware there is little point to experiment with docker/balena but at least i can remotely manage it.

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I am looking to but few outdoor gateways, which of these should I go for based on the experiences.

The only I have is the TTNOG and been testing it for 1 day, seems to work so far but I can’t recommend it until its been tested more…

did you get hologram working on RAK7249 ? and how did you get the SSH working ? I want to manage the gateway through SSH.

@jpmeijers can you share as to how you are remotely managing RAK7249 ?

I am actually still looking for a good way to do this. Remote management is a definite requirement for us as I can not drive up a mountain which is 200km away just to change a config. Normally I use BalenaCloud, but anything similar for the RAK7249 and TTOG would be nice too. @krital’s suggestion to use Hologram seems nice, but I don’t know it at all.

@krital can you please let us know how you were able to use hologram to achieve ssh connection.

Sure, I created a hologram SSH tunnel that forwards SSH , WEB interface, node_exporter to localhost ports… Its all documented in hologram website…

If you cellular provider is not as fancy as hologram, you could also use things like:

https://ngrok.com

https://serveo.net

Hope this helps