Introduction Of Lorawan Tester
Today I tried to put things a little to show you the basic principles of Best Lorawan Testers for coverage testing, its pluses and minuses, a gateway and a Lorawan client. Lorawan is that low power wide area network standard also called LP van. This term consists of three parts: low power, two white areas, and three networks. Let’s start with the network. The difference between a normal small device and an IoT device is its capability to connect to the Internet. And because we expect millions of them, we need a network to connect all of them. This network has to be based on standards because the network itself and the IoT devices will not be built by the same company. Best is always an international standard accepted by everybody. The next part is the white area. Our ESP 80 to 66 devices can connect to our WiFi network, which is part of a LAN or local area network. We all know its reach is limited to a few meters around our access points. Wide area networks need to bridge much bigger distances. This is necessary for IoT devices because we want to use them everywhere.
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The real old guys among us might remember AM radio stations. We could receive aim even in the middle of nowhere, far away from the station. This was a really wide area. But these transmitters were huge. Usually, they were emitting kilowatts of energy. So it seems easy to breach big distances using high power. But now we come to the Third World, low power. If we want to work on batteries, we do not have lots of power for transmission. And here we see the dilemma. We want kilometers of reach but have no power to spend. Fortunately, physics gives us a third parameter to ease this dilemma. It is called bandwidth. The physical laws say that if we want to create radio connections for a certain distance, we can either increase transmission power or decrease the bandwidth of the channel. But why should we bother about bandwidth? Because bandwidth and the maximum capacity of a channel are directly related. The smaller the bandwidth, the lower the capacity of our channel. I still remember the old days of More Mercy, where a good operator could transmit two characters per second, which is a little less than 20 beats per second. Today, our wireless plans can transfer millions of characters per second, but they are still too slow to visualize the relation between bandwidth and range. We can use this chart on the x-axis. We have the range and, on the y-axis, the bandwidth.
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Let’s now look at some well-known technologies and where they fit. WiFi has a high bandwidth but only allows reach, and we know from our ISP 80 to 66 it is quite power-hungry, not in the kilowatts as the old radio stations, but it easily needs a quarter of a lot during transmission. And if we go up into the new faster standards, the power hunger increases, and you know that the reach of five gigahertz links is shorter than the ones of 2.4 gigahertz links. The next technology is the mobile Internet on our smartphones. The reach here is a few hundred meters up to a few kilometers in rural areas. But also, you do not get fast 4G coverage in the middle of nowhere because the next antenna tower is probably a few kilometers away. And we all know that our smartphones’ battery life is not great because this technology needs quite some power. The next technology is Bluetooth. This technology. Runs well on small batteries, as we know from many gadgets. But unfortunately, its reach is only a few meters. So all of these technologies do not fulfill the need of our IoT devices, which is low power and wide area. I think, you know, now what will come, Laura? It has its own space and long range, but because of power limitations, it also lows, in reality, extremely low bandwidth. And this bandwidth is not only limited by the law of physics.
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No, it is even more limited by human laws, as we will see later. So we know now where Laura fits. To clarify, it is not compatible with WiFi and is not a replacement for this technology. It is much closer to the mobile internet standards, where low-power variants are also in development, but it has space with sensor networks. If these sensors do not transmit a lot of data for telemetry in Formula One races, for example, this technology would not be suitable because of the number of readings required for the humidity of your plants. It is perfect because soil humidity usually does not change in seconds, or if you monitor the occupation of a parking lot, you also might not detect too many changes a day. To understand the range better. We have to deal with quite a complex topic.
The link budget. What is the link budget, and why is it so important? The link budget is like every other budget, something you have at the beginning and which you spend over time. If your budget is used up, you cannot spend more. At least, this is what we learned when we were young. The link budget also has to do with the link or the connection between the sender and the receiver. It is filled up by the sender’s translation power and the receiver’s sensitivity and is calculated in decibels or DB. It is also frequency dependent. The link budget is deducted by all sorts of obstacles between the sender and the receiver, like distance, cables, walls, trees, and so on. If the link budget is used up, the receiver will only create some noise, and we will not get any usable signal.
So what is the link budget for Lora compared with other technologies like LTE or 4G? According to its inventor, Semtech, Lora has a link budget of 154 DB, which is much higher than the mobile Internet with only 130 DB. Even if the radiated power is much higher than with Lora. But what does this mean? Is this an important difference? Fortunately, we find so-called radio link budget calculators on the Internet. Let’s do some calculations to understand the topic better. First, let’s assume we have a line-of-sight connection between the sender and the receiver, and everything is perfect. As we know, our LTE budget is 130 DB. So let’s check the biggest distance we can communicate. We set everything to zero and the distance to 100 kilometers, and we get -131.5 DB, which is already more than the 130 available. So LTE, even in ideal conditions, does not reach 100 kilometers.
Eighty kilometers would be okay. Now we check Lora with a link budget of 154 DB at 1000 kilometers. It is still below the 154 DB, and at 1300 kilometers, it is close to the 154 DB. I think you get the point. As I said, this is all theoretical. If we connect our antennas to the sender and receiver and assume that we have ten meters of cable total, we lose about eight DB. The maximum distance is now reduced to only 500 kilometers. So ten meters of cable is equivalent to 800 kilometers in free air. And we did not use thin cables like this pigtail. We used the normal. 58 cable. Next, we must spend part of our budget on all obstacles between the sender and receiver. Like walls or trees. The thicker and the more conductive the obstacle, the more budget it requests. And sometimes, we even do not have a line-of-sight connection. And we have to work with the reflected signals, which reduces the link budget.
Luckily, we can also increase the budget. We can add an amplifier between the sender and the antenna. Or we can use a different kind of antenna. With some gain. I will not cover this topic here, but in the end, human law allows us only a certain power emitted by the antenna because we use a free band. I shortly mentioned 868 megahertz before. This is the frequency used by Lora in Europe. If we ask Google, we see that each region uses different frequencies. This is why you must pay attention when buying a Lora device. They all have their band marked on the back. And because my Chinese supplier sent me the wrong device. I even have now one for 915 megahertz to show you. All these frequencies have something in common. They are free bands, and we do not need to apply for a license or pay a monthly fee to use them, which I think is very good, but it comes with a handicap.
The allowed power is only 25 milliwatts in Europe and a little more in the US, which is not a lot. Even my small amateur radio rig has five-watt output power. We learned that the budget of Lora is much bigger than that of LTE. Why is this? Is Laura the better technology, or did its inventors even create a miracle? No, Lora is not at all a miracle. It complies with all physical laws. A very narrow bandwidth mainly achieves its high budget. So how big or small is the throughput of such a Lora connection? The rate at capacity ranges from 250 bits per second to 250 kilobits per second, which is rather low compared with the megabits of LTE. But unfortunately, this is not the whole truth, as we will see later. One important thing, in the end, the Lora standard is supported by a big alliance of companies called the Lora Alliance, which is important for its future. We have just covered the transmission technology between the IoT device and something. The next question is how we can connect our other devices or applications to these devices.
Here comes the network into play. It is called Lora than the LORA. Then consists of distributed gateways or concentrators which are connected to the Internet. And it consists of an infrastructure capable of transmitting IoT messages to our applications. Here we have an overview of the whole infrastructure. Many devices connect to one gateway. Many gateways are connected to the broken infrastructure, and many applications are connected to the same brokers. And here, we see two different approaches the commercial and the community. In many places, telecom companies started to deploy Lora Networks, as with cellular phones. You can buy a contract and use this infrastructure. You have to connect your device through the available networks. Here you see a press release from the Netherlands and a price plan from Swisscom. Sigfox is only providing IoT communication, but they do not use Lora. They use a slightly different protocol between the IoT devices and the network. Their community approach is led by the things network, abbreviated TTN. You’ll find a link in the description. These guys built an infrastructure to transfer the messages between the gateways and your application, but they need, of course, many gateways all over the world. And because of that, they would be glad if people like me built such a gateway and deployed it. They provide a map of all available gateways. And you can check here if one is close to you.
If so, you can connect your device through this gateway and the TTN network to your application. Free of charge, of course. Great. Unfortunately, there was no gateway where I lived, so I had to build my own. Here it is. It consists of a concentrator PCB, in my case, an IEC 880 from Ames, and raspberry too. The concentrator has eight RF channels, so it can support up to eight IoT devices in parallel, which is not a lot. If we read the protected numbers of millions of IoT devices. So what to do? If we would agree that each device would only use one channel? 50% of the time, we could already support 16 devices. And if each device only would use the channel 1% of the time, we could already support 800 devices just with my gateway. And this is exactly the concept. I told you before that What will reduce the bandwidth even more. And this concept is also in line with the law, which allows only a 1% maximum usage of these frequencies by one device. So you can divide the 250 bits per second by a factor of 100, which ends up in 2.5 beats per second in the worst case. And now, we are slower than Moore’s and are not finished with reducing capacity. You remember your walkie-talkies. What was the rule there? Yes. Only one should speak at one time. Otherwise, nobody got anything. And because Laura uses the same channel for both communication directions, this also applies here to preserve the valuable capacity and because we want to use this network mainly for singers. Laura favors that direction from the sensors through the gateway and limits the traffic in the other direction. Also, that will be a topic of future videos. So I now have a gateway in my area, and I only need one additional part, a censor note. All things are notes consist of at least two components a microprocessor and a communication module. You can use your microprocessor of choice and connect with the communication module, which complies with the LORA standard. There are a few, mainly the RF, N95, and the X12 76. These modules usually exist in three different versions for 433, 868, and 915 megahertz. By the way, they are not as cheap as other RF modules. This is probably because LORA technology belongs to only one company. Semtech.
I used a dry Aquino shield and an Arduino Uno for my first test. Also, this device will be carried in one of the next episodes. But now let’s check if the whole thing works. The Arduino should be capable of transferring a message. So first, let’s check in gear. Yes, the spectrum analyzer receives some traffic on frequencies between 868 and 869 megahertz. So the sensor device works, and the concentrator should get it because we still have lots of link budget. The distance is only a few centimeters, and there are no major obstacles between the two devices. So let’s check on the console of TTN. Yes, we see the message, and it is high. So summarized. Laura is a new transmission standard between distributed devices and distributed gateways. It has an extremely low channel capacity, a very low power consumption, and a very high link budget, making it ideal for low-power sensors distributed everywhere. Also, far from the next gateway, there are two different approaches for the network. A commercial and a community approach. The community approach is based on privately built and operated gateways and an infrastructure which transfers the messages from the gateway to your application. This was the first introduction. The next episodes will cover the build and connection of a gateway and the build of a client. Some arrange tests and so on. Stay tuned.
It was complete guide about the best Lorawan Testers for coverage testing, If you still have a question are want to check this specification please visit the amazon for more details. Visit Here to find discover more content.