IoT lora Gateway : Overview

Lora modulation manages the network connection between sensors and radio bridges running on the Lorawan protocol and is compatible with industry-standard Lorawan gateways. Lorawan is a low-power wide-area network protocol optimized for use with mobile and stationary battery-powered devices (LPWAN).    

The Lorawan network consists of terminals that transmit data through gateways that form a star network topology. Lorawan is a cloud-based media access control sublayer (layer 2) protocol that acts as a network layer and layer 3 protocol and manages communications between LPWAN gateways and end nodes as well as the device routing protocols of the LORA Alliance. At its core, the Lora Long Range Network (LORawan) consists of nodes and gateways for LORA’s Long Range Network Operators.      

There is a one-to-one connection between Lora gateway devices and the gateways in the Lorawan network and messages are sent between terminals located within the gateway area. It is important to distinguish between Lorawan end nodes that communicate directly with Lorawan gateways and low-power Lorawan gateways that communicate with network servers using high-bandwidth communication protocols such as WiFi, Ethernet and mobile communications. Network servers are located in the cloud, where they are managed as a service by Comcast MachineQ, while physical gateways operate in packet-forward mode, sending raw Lora packets through the air to network servers as if they were in the air.    

The Lorawan gateway is a box that connects a wireless Lorawan to a device such as a sensor via a local Internet network. The Lorawan enables the terminal device (sensor or actuator) to connect to the Lorawan Network Radio Gateway via LORA’s RF modulation. The gateway receives the LORA modulated RF messages from the terminal devices and can remotely hear the messages from Lorawans Network Servers connected to the IP backbone.     

Terminal devices communicate with one or more of a series of gateways according to the Media Access Control and Physical Layer protocols described above in the Lorawan specification. End nodes are also known as devices at the end of the network that are equipped with sensors to collect and monitor data. They come in the form of low-power microcontrollers which can be used without maintenance for years and are equipped with LORA transmitters to send data packets to the gateways.    

Lora gateways support bidirectional communication to process messages between many LORA-based IoT sensors and IoT solutions. Lorawan gateways are designed for outdoor coverage and indoor connectivity and support thousands of IoT sensor terminal devices, enabling both public and private IoT solutions or network deployments. Lora gateways act as a transparent bridge for forwarding messages between devices and central network servers and backends. Ideal for public and nationwide deployment where gateways connect through standard IP connections to network servers and control private rollouts where security controls are essential.     

A Lorawan device is a device that sends data from the chip stack to a network server on one or more Lorawan gateways. The network server implements the Lorawan protocol to verify the authenticity and integrity of the device, to duplicate uplinks between selected gateways, downlink, and to send ADR commands to optimize the data rate between devices. The identity server registers the user and the application device at the gateway.    

Wireless networks are essential for applications that cover a wide area, such as cities, buildings, and farms. These technologies use multi-hop communication and mesh network topology to extend coverage.    

Public and private networks can be designed and built into machines to extend battery life and range and provide sufficient connectivity for the vast majority of connected devices and uses. Networks based on the Lorawan open protocol and deployed in an all-star topology are perfect for applications that require a far-reaching, deeply integrated communication with a large number of devices, low power consumption and the collection of small quantities of data.    

Lorawan supports between 8 and 64 channels, allowing millions of messages per day to be processed in an IoT network. Devices that use Lorawan low-power networks can connect directly to the gateway, while gateways that use high-bandwidth networks such as WiFi, Ethernet and cellular can connect to everything on the network.    

When the application server receives a message from the terminal device, the corresponding network server arranges the transmission of the message to the device via the corresponding gateway. The network server implements the Lorawan Linked Network Layer Protocol, which includes the de-duplication and uplink of messages from terminal devices received from more than one gateway and allows the gateway node to easily convert over-the-air packets into IP-based messages. When the gateway reaches the device and receives the device message, the device forwards it to the Things network.    

The Lorawan Network Server is the heart of the Lorawan network and allows the connectivity, management and monitoring of devices, gateways and end applications. The Join Server stores the root key of the device and generates session keys to allow secure transmission of Lorawan messages.    

There are endless steps to set up a LORA gateway from scratch, register it as something on the network and observe uplink data from simple Lora nodes. It is a critical step in integrating IoT technologies into the embedded devices and applications that drive our world. This blog is a document documenting some of the steps necessary to set up a gateway from scratch and register it as an all-in-one network and observe uplinks of data from a simple Loras node. 

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