LoRaWAN Nodes    Gateways  LoRaServer Broker




LoRaWAN systems are being rolled out to provide low power, wireless Internet connectivity for smart sensors and other devices. Whilst cellular telemetry offers longer distances (30 plus km instead of 5 to  10) the 1 and 2W power of the modems means high power consumption , which must be supported by large power supplies. LoRaWAN transmitters are typically 100 mW so draw a fraction of the power of cellular systems, allowing for the development of compact battery and solar powered sensors. The primary competitors to LoRaWAN in this “narrow band” segment are SigFox, LTE-M  (machine to machine) and mesh networking products.


lora node_100


The WAN part of the technology comes from the term Wide Area Network, the term given to computer networks that are accessible to the public. LoRaWAN provides “IP”  based connections - the same type used across the rest of the Internet. So a device with a LoRaWAN transceiver, can send data to a server anywhere on the Internet. In cellular systems, you subscribe to a network provider who issues you with a SIM card which is inserted into the device. As long as your device is within range of one or more towers operated by that carrier the device will be able to send data.  By comparison LoRaWAN devices are registered with a LoRaWAN server and will push data through any LoRaWAN Gateway which receives their signal. If two Gateways are in range, an arbitration process e decides which one will transfer the information to the LoRaWAN server - which may be installed anywhere in the world.




As the vast majority of the sensors in use in the environmental monitoring market utilise the SDI-12 protocol, it seems sensible to make a LoRaWAN device to suit. Hence the Tekbox TBS12 and TBS-L1 SDI-12 to LoRaWAN Bridge.




One of the secrets to LoRa WAN’s market success is that the system is open and very flexible.  The system is designed so that any node from any supplier will talk with a Gateway and back end from any other supplier - although some vendors detract from this approach in order to build closed end-to-end systems, where you must buy the Nodes and Gateways from them and push your data through their server platform..
The market place has also been quick to offer additional solutions, including open source versions of the LoRa Wan Server and LoRa App Server software, which can be run on a Gateway or on a small server. It is even possible to run a completely close, private on farm LoRa WAN network. Alternatively, a Gateway owner can offer services to neighbours or to other members of the community.
Although some companies are basing their business on deploying public LoRa WAN systems, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to achieve the density of nodes needed to make the system pay (It certainly can succeed in urban areas).  This is especially pertinent with the release of a number of low cost Gateways (such as the RHF2S024) which allow users to quickly and easily deploy their own network infrastructure.
Private networks will also be demanded by those wishing to deploy networks for both control and monitoring purposes: a congested shared network will not be able to provide the degree of confidence needed for people in the control sector.


LoRaWAN Gateways


The Gateway is the heart of a LoRaWAN system, collecting readings from Nodes and passing them on to the back end servers. A Gateway is simply a small computer fitted with a  multi-channel radio system which can receive and transmit on the designated LoRa WAN frequencies. See our Gateway page for details on our Gateway range.








Solar Powered LoRa WAN to SDI-12 Bridge




The TBS12S is mounted in a polycarbonate enclosure which has an integrated 2W solar cell. The solar cell charges a Lithium Ion battery fitted to a holder on the unit’s PCB. The TBS12S, like other variants of the TBS12, is an SDI-12 only device. It has been priced to make it attractive to basic monitoring applications, such as soil moisture, level and flow monitoring. The SDI-12 sensors connect via a 7 pin waterproof connector  the  underside  of the unit. A breather vent on top of the case prevents build up of moisture.
To help keep the price down, memory on the TBS12S is limited, with the unit intended to only buffer a couple of hours worth of data in the event of a communications failure. If your  demands data integrity, then switch to the TBSL1-LO, with its 16 MBytes of on board storage memory. View TBS12S brochure.




Battery Powered  LoraWAN to SDI-12 Bridge




In recognition of the need for a low cost telemetry option for sites with a low sensor count or simple monitoring requirement, tekbox have taken the TBS12 and modified it to fit into a waterproof enclosure. Inside you will find a holder for 3 off C cell batteries - no need for expensive lithium cells with this unit. The case is fitted with an external antenna, a breather vent  (to prevent moisture build-up) and a socket ( for sensor connection).
View TBS12B brochure.




LoRaWAN Data Logger or LoraWAN  to SDI-12 Bridge




Whilst the TBS12 is designed for simple monitoring applications, the TBSL1-LO is a general purpose SDI-12 to LoRaWAN Bridge. It allows any compatible SDI-12 sensor to feed data in to a LoRaWAN Network. One way to view the TBSL1 is as a data logger with LoRaWAN communications. As testament to the unit’s flexibility, the LoRaWAN communications board can be removed and replaced with one for other communications platforms such as 4G cellular. See the TBSL1 page for more details.




Dual Input LoRa WAN Pulse Counter or Switch Module


tbs12pc in enclosure 2_120


The TBS12PC-FS is a dual input, battery powered LoRa WAN module for use in rain and flow monitoring or to generate alarms when inputs change state.


Chirpstack LoRa WAN  Server


LoRa WAN Nodes and Gateways can’t function on their own, they work in conjunction with a LoRa Server.  The LoRa Server controls which nodes can send data and stores the encryption keys used to provide security. Users create an “Application” on the server and then attach Nodes or Devices to the application. Gateways are configured so that they send data to the LORa Server of your choosing. If multiple Gateways receive the same message, the LoRa Server removes the duplicates and ensures the best signal is passed to the Application. The LoRa Server also sends acknowledgments back to the nodes: these may be in response to Acknowledged packets or to Link Check message.
There are both free and paid LoRa Servers available. The Things Network (TTN) is the best known free network. Paid networks include Loriot, Actility, NNN Co. We also operate an “Open Source” LoRa Server suite called Chirpstack which is available to distributors free of charge. If you are looking for a LoRa WAN solution, talk to your distributor about which option would be best for you.






Tekbox LoRaWAN Broker


 LoRaWAN MiddleWare




Whilst most suppliers want to lock you in to a single end to end solution (from node to display) we believe in the importance of choice: leaving you to select the SDI-12 sensor of choice, to feed it to the LoRaWAN Network of your choice and to display it in the presentation software of your choice.




To support this, TekBox have developed a MiddleWare server application, or Broker, which takes the characters  produced by the Lora WAN Server and adds all of the Meta-Data needed to turn it in to useful data: information such as the tag’s  Measurement Units, validation limits, display limits ; device level information such as the site’s GPS coordinates and time zone. The Broker then provides flexible tools with which you can access both the raw and meta data: MQTT, CSV, text, XML and JSON formats, FTP export etc.