MAWCG recently put up a LoRaWAN gateway that is connected to The Things Network.
The first gateway was put up on Gambrill Mountain. It has a 5db gain antenna on the transmitter and the antenna is about 15 feet off of the ground. That puts the antenna at about 1,185 feet above sea level.
The coverage modeling software shows it having great coverage over most of Frederick County. We have not yet done coverage testing to validate the accuracy of the software generated coverage.
LoRaWAN and The Things Network can be used by anyone, free of charge.
Most people have not heard of LoRa or LoRaWAN so there is a description to get you your feet wet below.
What is LoRa?
LoRa stands for Long Range and LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) specification created by the lora-alliance.
LoRaWAN can communicate many miles with very low power. LoRaWAN is not like wifi, it is a much slower protocol designed for devices like Internet Of Things devices to reach the internet where internet is not available.
One of the most common uses so far has been for agricultural sensors. Sensors can run for a year or more on a single battery.
Sensors wake up every so often, take measurements and transmit them via LoRa to a LoRa gateway that then delivers the message to the internet.
The Things Network
There are services on the internet that will receive the message and store it waiting to be picked up by another service or application.
One of those networks is “The Things Network”. The gateways that MAWCG has put up are connected to the The Things Network”.
The Things Network is the largest and fastest growing of these networks. They have most of Europe covered already and are moving in other countries quickly.
There is a map on their website that is updated with the latest gateways.
Each region of the world uses different frequencies for LoRa. In the United States the frequency for LoRa is 915 Mhz.
The list of possible uses is endless. As mentioned above, agriculture is using this technology more and more.
In fact here is a link to a video at a LoRa conference that explains how a Vineyard uses the LoRaWAN technology with The Things Network to automate irrigation and manage the crops to produce larger berries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxJms6Z-Sws
Here is a very short list of some of the possibilities:
- Measuring Soil Conditions
- Measuring levels (Water, manure, etc)
- Tracking Equipment
- Tracking Animals
- Irrigation Control
- Tracking Equipment and Assets
- Stream flow and water level
- Pool temperature
- Liquid Tank Level
- Door or Gate Status
- Reporting any type of remote sensor
- Anything else you can think of…..
A great place to start are the links on the right. Below are some resources and videos: