How this Fits Into IoT
For remote sensing and unattended sensing, one of the biggest problems is “back-haul” – which refers to the problems associated with getting the data back from the edge to the processing center. LoRaWAN technology offers a very inexpensive and secure means of sending data from long-range, low power remote sensors to the cloud. By using The Things Network, a complete system can be constructed without any work at all other than web browsing. The advantage of The Things Network, for people who are experimenting and prototyping, is that it is a totally open, community-owned network that is supported by the users. Once you set up your device, there is no cost at all for using the Things Network, the volunteer community takes care of the core network – you can focus instead on your problem. Many places in Europe have almost universal coverage. There are two places in the United States that already have decent Things Network Coverage – New York City and Ithaca. To get network coverage in a new area is as simple as getting an $70 to $120 gateway. Later, when you need to take your system to production, you have a number of options for commercial public and private network systems.
What Attendees Will Do
We will have a Adafruit-compatible Arduino-based LoRaWAN devices. Attendees will go through the process of programming a devices with a sample sketch. Then we’ll register these devices on the Things Network using a gateway that we have in the class. We will show an open-source dashboard of the data collected on-site, and we will go through the process of how you can set up your own dashboard.
Attendees will understand the entire process of provisioning a device through the Things Network. We show that it’s not a mystery and get attendees off to the races, ready to undertake remote-sensing projects with LoRaWAN. We will walk attendees through slightly European nomenclature and basically just show how it works and how to get it going – it’s not that hard!
We’re assuming that most attendees understand the difference between an unlicensed spectrum without a telecom operator, such as the Things Network, and having to go through an ISP, but we are happy to discuss the differences if anyone is curious.
What Attendees Bring
Windows 10, macOS or Linux laptop with the Arduino environment installed – get it here. You’ll also need a modern web browser. Need to be able to connect to the device through a USB, which means you will have to have to have administrative access to your computer to be able to link to an Arduino device. If your computer is locked down, but have a Linux Virtual Machine with USB access, install the Arduino environment on the VM; there will be no need to load drivers in your locked-down base platform, everything will run in Linux.
Attendee Preparation Work (Downloads, Reading)
If possible, please install the Arduino environment on your device ahead of time:
Should be familiar with what a remote sensor system is in general, and a willingness to hack around on things. If you’ve got a vision of what you want to do with your remote data but not sure how to get it to where you need it, you should come to this class and we will help you out.
Try to install the Arduino environment (which is free) on your computer before you come. If you have an Arduino handy and would like to test to make sure that it works with the computer you are bringing to the class, that would be a way to certify that it will work for the class. On the off chance that you are not able to connect to a serial port, we will be able to provision the devices for you using other computers on site and then you can set it up with the network.
What Attendees Receive
All of the code is open source: https://github.com/mcci-catena
Links and Additional Reading Material