Which LoRaWAN Gateway should I buy (AU)?

I have been experimenting with a dragino LG01 (single channel) LoRa Gateway. So far so good, but I’d like to take the next step and setup a LoRaWAN Gateway.

I have read this Newbie which gateway AU post but still have some questions.

I’ve sort of narrowed my search down to these devices (but am open to suggestions):

The RAK 7258 talks about 8 RX and 1 TX channels. The LG308 and LPS8 talks about emulating 49 demodulators (is that like channels?) but also mentions 10 programmable parallel demodulation paths. What exactly does that mean?

How does this relate to the AU frequency plan, which seems to list 9 uplink and 8 downlink channels in the AU915-928 section? Specifically, how does the AU plan relate to these devices which in the case of the RAK device which supports 1 TX channel or does it mean it can TX on all 8 (9?) channels, but just one at a time?
Also, what does the Note at the bottom of this section about “The Things Network uses 2nd Sub-Band only (channels 8 to 15 and 65)” mean?

Finally, on the channels topic, how is uplink channel 9 (917.5MHz) used? It seems like this channel is somehow special as it is:

  • right in the middle of the uplink spectrum (916.8-918.2 MHz);
  • is listed last and
  • has a different bandwidth(?) specification to all of the others in the AU region?

Of the above 3 gateways, how have other users experiences been? Has anyone had a “if I’d only known X, I never would have used device Y (from the above list)” or similar type of experience they would be willing to share?

Hopefully these questions are not too stupid, but I’m not getting a clear picture (signal? :slight_smile: ) about some of the above topics - or am I just overthinking this and any one of the above gateways will be just fine???

TIA for any feedback.

Don’t worry about the marketing blurb on number of (TX) channels and demodulation paths. The units all use the same chipsets for LoRaWAN. The differences are in the software running on the boxes.

If you plan to use the gateway with TTN all three are viable options that should work well.

or am I just overthinking this and any one of the above gateways will be just fine???

:slight_smile: Yes.

These are all 8 channel gateways with varying levels of sales spiel to make them sound like the best thing since sliced bread. I’d say Dragino marketing department is very good at this which is why you have many questions many of which will resolve themselves with experience. I’d be surprised if the LG308 actually does have “TDoA LoRaWAN localization” just because it has GPS - this is a wishlist item for many people but normally requires gateways double the price and several of them.

I’ve used products from both companies, I’d say you need to be able to read between the lines more and figure out reality with Dragino whereas RAK, as long as you are using the product as intended & follow the instructions, just works.

As you could expect some support from the reseller, I’d contact them and ask them what they’d recommend and why. And then ask them what they would use. And then ask them which one they feel confident in providing phone/email support.

My experience is the other way around. Dragino more plug and play where for RAK products more effort is required. However, I am happily using products from both and haven’t encountered significant issues.

So does it simply come down to price and other features (e.g. 4G Sim socket, PoE etc) that these devices have?

@kersing you mentioned that it comes down to the software are there specific s/w things I should look for? As a gateway, I’d imagine that the base functionality is pretty similar (receive data on one side and send it to the other).

@descartes It is tempting to try the LG308 because of the feature you mentioned (I had to google its meaning) just to try it out. But I if it wasn’t working, I wouldn’t be sure if the cause was because it is “vapour ware”, “typical newbie screw up” or “external factors outside of my control”.

TDoA requires additional components & firmware that are usually only seen in top end industrial gateways - and you need at least three of them for it to work.

There are many rabbit holes for you to descend in to in so many many ways and for long periods of time that nothing gets delivered.

If you are looking for a stepping stone gateway, the RAK7246 developer gateway, as well as being out of the box for TTN or ChirpStack, is also capable of running ChirpStack on itself, giving you your very own Network, Join & Application server all in one tiny blue box. Start using it with TTN and then you can progress from there.

For TTN use you are right. If you want to run a local stack there might be differences. I haven’t checked additional features included in the firmware lately because all my gateways connect to TTN.

Hi gm30509. As Jac points out, all the Gateways use the Semtech chipset (which is then licensed by a few manufacturers to include in their own LoRa WAN Modems and Gateway modules). So the specs are pretty much the same. What you get (and what you pay) then depends on the level of sophistication and quality that is wrapped up in the finished product. I want to declare up front that I sell Gateways, but focus on commercial customers. At that level there is pretty much a simple demarcation between rugged “outdoor” gateways and simpler “indoor” gateways.
The Outdoor Gateways are designed for long term deployment in the weather and have IP67 rated enclosures. They usually support Ethernet and cellular (4G) backhaul. Some manufacturers are now offering dual head versions, which have 2 independent Gateway chipsets, so you can run one on AS923 and the other on AU915 or run one on AU915 sub-band 1 and the other on sub-band 2. The outdoor units usually have enough resources and memory to run an embedded LoRa Server (Chirpstack etc). They also typically have decent high gain LoRa antennae. This is the level of equipment being used by a lot of the companies rolling out regional LoRa WAN networks. Costs typically run from $1500 to $3000 AUD.
The indoor Gateways usually have fixed LoRa WAN and WiFi antenna and are often built on simpler platforms (such as the Open WRT system). Some offer only WiFi comms, others offer WIFi and Ethernet. Because the antennae are fixed and the Gateway needs to be mounted indoors, you get limited range. Indoor Gateways at this level range from $500 to $1000 AUD
On the personal/hobbyist scale, the commercial Indoor Gateways are an option, but there are also lower cost indoor units which sell for $300 to $500. There are plenty of offerings built around Raspberry Pi CPUs. One of these is the “uGateway” which is available through Core Electronics. It is well priced, easy to setup (they come pre-set for TTN) and so far has proven reliable. The LoRa WAN antenna is screw on so you can add an external antenna (and preferrably some lightning protection).

Indeed a nice looking product using the older RAK831 board.

The RAK7246 referred to above uses a newer design and costs less …

Thanks everyone for your feedback. All replies have been very helpful. For now, i have decided to try the LPS8. I will add some feedback about my experience after (hopefully successfully) setting it up.

Hey @gm310509,
did you manage to use the LPS8? And did you try to set up a private network (like ChirpStack / loraserver.io) with it?

I’m planning to use it for my Bachelors Thesis.

Regards,
Luis

@LuisSchweigard Unfortunately i have not gotten around to it yet. It is sitting on my desk watching me everyday. Events have transpired such that I might not get to it for a while, but your prompt has piqued my interest.
FWIW, I did get the single channel LG01 up and running fairly easily some months ago, and the instructions for the LG308 (which is what I ultimately decided to buy) look very similar, so I do not think it will be hard to get it up and running. I can’t remember why I switched, but the two devices (LG308 and LPS8 seem quite similar as per this comparison: https://www.dragino.com/downloads/downloads/LoRa_Gateway/Dragino%20LoRa%20Gateway%20Compare%20List.pdf)

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Hey @gm310509,
no worries!

I’m just wondering about the LPS8, since there is no Gateway Bridge Software for that gateway.
Do you think the Software for the LG308 will run on the LPS8, or did you just install the Gateway Bridge somewhere else when installing the LG01?

Is gateway bridge a part of the TTN stack I missed?