Today 2 AREDN nodes and a LoRaWAN gateway were put up and activated at the Gambrill repeater site. Below are the details and links to more information.
AREDN is the acronym for Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network. It uses a very small piece of radio spectrum right next to the 2.4 Ghz, 3 Ghz and 5 Ghz WiFi frequencies.
These frequencies can only be used Amateur Radio. Many different WiFi devices can operate in this range and with a firmware change they can be set to use these new freqencies.
AREDN is a project that makes setting up a self configuring and healing mesh networks very very simple. No advanced networking knowledge is needed.
Nodes that can see each other form a network and you can communicate to any node that is visible. This is great in emergency situations or events where communication via VOIP, text or video is needed. The radio operators show up, turn on their AREDN nodes and the network forms itself.
Today we put up 2 AREDN nodes. One on the 2.4 Ghz spectrum (the most common for AREDN) and a 5 Ghz node. The nodes are connected together via the DtD (Device to Device) interface. They are also connected to the 2 K3DO AREDN nodes right now.
These nodes are open to any Amateur that is interested in connecting up a node.
The antennas that were put up today are Ubiquity sector antennas. They are about 15 feet off the ground so not very high but they are atop the mountain. The sectors are pointing at about 120 degrees which covers Walkersville and down over Frederick.
You can learn more about AREDN and the setup we have by going to: http://mawcg.org/aredn/.
LoRa is not an Amateur Radio technology, it uses unlicensed spectrum at 915 Mhz to communicate using low power over long distances. LoRa is short for Long Range.
Typical distance at ground level is between 12 and 15 Km (7.4 – 9.3 miles) using about a 1/4 of a watt.
LoRa is not a replacement for wifi. It is a very slow protocol that uses forward error correction to make the low power long range work.
It is designed to allow IoT devices to reach the internet where there is no internet. Think of the farmer that has sensors in his fields that he needs to get data for, or the bee keeper that has sensors on his hives to monitor them and needs to get that data to the internet.
LoRaWAN is the process of connecting all of these gateways together to create a very large network.
LoRaWAN is open source and free, it is open to everyone to use. So if you like playing with small processors and radio, you can make your own long distance IoT sensor.
Our system is at the tower site at about 1185 feet above sea level. Our modeling of the power, antenna gain and height show that we should be able to cover much of Frederick county, much longer than 15KM.
We have connected our LoRaWAN installation to a network called “The Things Network”. This is the largest LoRaWAN network and the fastest growing. They already cover almost all of Europe and are expanding quickly in the US.
You can find more details about our LoRaWAN setup by going to: http://mawcg.org/lorawan-and-the-things-network/. There is a video there that shows someone communicating over 200 Km with just a tiny Arduino. It is amazing.
Both Sandy (KB3EOF) and Kurt (K3KOH) were up at the site today and they put up the antennas. I am very grateful for their time and labor. You can see pictures on the AREDN page of them on the roof doing antenna work.