LoRaWAN with LoPy and KPN + Loggly

 Gepubliceerd door om 15:49  Hardware, LoRaWAN
mei 202017
 

In the Netherlands, KPN was the first to offer nationwide coverage of a IoT network based on LoRaWAN. You can read about my first tests using their Network in combination with the Marvin node in this post. Unlike with the IoT network that for example is currently being rolled out by T-Mobile, which uses NB-IoT and different hardware than The Things Network (TTN), switching a device from the TTN network to the KPN network is simple: just change the DEV_ADDR, NWK_SWKEY, APP_SWKEY values in the config.py of you Pycom LoPy to the values that are provided in the management environment of KPN (see image left). No changes in the microPython code needed. You could even have a device connect to both networks and switch between them (although you probably don’t want to do that when you’ve got a battery powered node).

KPN offers a free test period where you can test your nodes on their infrastructure without having to pay. It is what I used for my train trip last month where I used both the Marvin node (connected to KPN) and the LoPy (connected to TTN) as a way to get a feel for coverage while moving in the Netherlands.

Besides the fact that KPN offers a commercial solution, the free test version (don’t know about the paid version) has a number of differences: unlike TTN where they provide a number of integration options (Cayenne, Data Storage provided by TTN, HTTP integration, IFTTT Maker), KPN only offers HTTP integration. This means you have to provide a destination URL for an HTTPS endpoint where the data is stored. In the Marvin workshop they use Hookbin.com as a free and easy to setup endpoint. But endpoints created there only store data for a limited time. That is why I now use the free version of Loggly.com to collect the data. But of course, the data is only useful if I manage to get it from Loggly to my own local system.

A second difference is a bit of a mystery. If I used the Marvin to send data over the KPN network, the data gets encrypted by the Marvin, but automatically is being decrypted again on the KPN server. But if I use the LoPy to send data over the KPN network, the data shown in the debug console at KPN and the data received by Loggly is still encrypted.

I managed to get both challenges resolved and in this post I’ll do a write-up not of the (lengthy) process of getting to the working code, but of the end result. All code is available on Github.

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apr 072017
 

What happens if you take a LoRaWAN node with you in a train while you travel across the Netherlands for about 2,5 hours? I did not know and wanted to find out today because I had to be in Zwolle for a meeting.

So I charged a big external battery (with 2 USB ports), drilled a couple of holes in a plastic container to guide through the micro-USB connectors, and put in some bubble foil inside for safe transport. I drilled another hole to connect the external antenna for the LoPy node. Besides the LoPy, I put the Marvin in the box, with the temperature/humidity sensor on the outside of it. Not that it really mattered, today was going to be about finding gateways while I was on the road.

Things did not look good for the experiment though in the morning. The Things Network (TTN) backbone was acting up again. That was a bummer, because I still had to change the code on the LoPy. It had the code installed for the Circuit Playground and I wasn’t planning on bringing that also. So I changed the code to a simple “send a number every 30 seconds” but was not able to test it before leaving for the train.

To make matters more balanced: I decided to have the Marvin connect to the KPN network (still got 60 days left on my free trial), but the Hookbin.com server decided that today was a good day to refuse to work. And I needed a place to store the data sent by the Marvin. Luckily I found loggly.com another site that you can use as a destination for KPN nodes. I think it is better than Hookbin btw because it keeps more records and even the free plan should be enough for most people. Another nice thing was that Loggly also can act as an HTTP-integration for TTN, so I could collect both the data sent via KPN and the data sent via TTN in one single place. Quick tip: Loggly provides you with an http:// url for the endpoint, KPN doesn’t accept http:// but you can simply change the provided url to https:// and then it works.

OK, into the train. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. A train means lots of metal and a fast moving object (and nodes).

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mrt 272017
 

I will do this post in English because the number of potential readers will increase, and because I do have some additional questions that are more likely to be answered this way.

So, last weekend I played around with my Pycom LoPy boards. A while back they announced that it would finally be possible to setup a LoRaWAN Nano Gateway with TTN (The Things Network) using the board. Now, I know there are fierce discussions about this, yes, I do realize that “There are no true or half true LoRaWAN (or even π % true) devices. There are LoRaWAN devices and non LoRaWAN devices“. In my case I simply want to be able to experiment with LoRaWAN and get some nodes connected for testing. Without TTN coverage in my home village that is not going to happen. Now, I might pay for the 300-400 euro for a simple “true” gateway, but it means I will have to have a working setup first. Otherwise I am not sure that it will ever work. But this post is not about The Things Network, nor about Pycom and the Lopy boards. There is a webinar scheduled this week, hopefully after that I will be able to set things up.

It is just an introduction as to why, when I unboxed the Marvin board that got delivered earlier this week, I was not that hopeful about actually getting it to work. And I was wrong. 🙂

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