Getting Started with LoRa, LoRaWAN and Microchip RN2483 on GNU/Linux distributions
The video above shows a new technology which has the ambitious goal to become the backbone of the smart cities. It is called LoRa and it is becoming popular for Internet of Things.
LoRa is a proprietary radio modulation technology and LoRaWAN is a wireless telecommunication protocol which specifications have been released by the LoRa Alliance. The most widely used LoRa frequencies are:
868 MHz for Europe
915 MHz for North America
433 MHz for Asia
In order to use LoRaWAN you need gateways and client devices. My friends have already deployed several LoRa gateways in the city where I live in. So today I will show you how to get started with a client and how to use Microchip RN2483 on a GNU/Linux distribution.
RN2483 is a fully-certified LoRa module from Microchip that supports the bands for Europe and Asia. The module includes a Semtech transceiver and a PIC micro controller. The advantage is the API which allows you to connect RN2483 to an external device via UART and to control it with simple text commands.
The dimensions of RN2483 are quite small but there are 47 pins. The disadvantage is that it is very hard for hobbyists like me to solder it and to get started. A friend helped me with the soldering and now I will show you how to connect the module directly to a computer with a GNU/Linux distribution. I am personally using Ubuntu.
The wiring is simple. I am providing 3.3V to the module. After that, using USB to serial cable from Olimex, I am connecting the UART pins of RN2483 to my computer.
I am using the text-based serial port communication program called minicom. There are a lot of configurations to get RN2483 working therefore pay attention and have a look for details at the description of the video.
Launch minicom with the appropriate rights:
sudo minicom -s
Go to Serial Port Setup. Configure the serial device on which is the cable. Set the baud rate to 57600. Disable hardware and software flow controls. After that select Exit to close the configuration screen.
Press Ctrl-A and Z for help on special keys. Press E to enable echo. Finally, we are ready to type commands to RN2483.
It is super duper important to send each command with CR LF. This means that in minicom you have to press Enter followed by Ctrl+J. Yes, I know this is super annoying :)
The command below returns information on the hardware platform, firmware version and the release date:
sys get ver
The command is very useful to verify that RN2483 is working and it has been properly set up. After typing the command remember to hit Enter, Ctrl+J.
The next commands show the modulation and the band: