Add LoRa connectivity with these add-on boards for SBCs
LoRa (Long Range) is fast becoming the communication protocol of choice for IoT projects, as it provides the flexibility of low power and great range — perfect for applications such as wildlife tracking and environmental monitoring. According to the LoRa Alliance , there are more than 100 IoT LoRa-based networks operating around the globe, and the number continues to rise.
Those numbers are due in part by the maker communities and the affordability of project platforms, such as single-board computers and LoRa add-on boards. The LoRa boards allow makers to deploy their creations in genuinely remote areas without the need for constant servicing or battery replacement/recharging. As you can imagine, there are an equal amount of different LoRa add-on boards as there are single-board computers (SBCs) — each with the same functionality in the communication protocol, but with various features. In this roundup, we will take a look at the more popular LoRa boards that are used to increase the functionality of different single-board computers.
Dragino’s LoRa GPS HAT for the Raspberry Pi is based on Semtech’s SX1276/SX1278 transceiver, which can handle 868 MHz/433 MHz/915 MHz frequencies with a 168 db maximum link budget. The list of features for this board is extensive, and includes +20 dBm -100 mW constant RF output vs. +14 dBm high-efficiency PA, has a programmable bit rate of up to 300 kbps, and has a low RX current of 10.3 mA (200 nA) register retention.
On the GPS side, the board offers a power acquisition of 25 mA, power tracking of 20 mA, a programmable bit rate up to 300 kbps, and an update rate of up to 10 MHz. It also features a timing accuracy of 1 PPS (out 10 ns), a velocity accuracy without aid @ <0.1 m/s, an acceleration accuracy without aid @ 0.1 m/s², and a sensitivity acquisition of -148 dBm, among a host of others.
Dragino also manufactures a LoRa Shield for the Arduino with similar specs as the Raspberry Pi version, only without the added GPS functionality. The feature set for the LoRa Shield includes a frequency band of 915 MHz/868 MHz/433 MHz, a programmable bit rate of up to 300 kbps, and a fully integrated synthesizer with a resolution of 61 Hz. The board also boasts FSK, GFSK, MSK, GMSK, LoRa and OOK modulation, automatic RF Sense and CAD with ultra-fast AFC, as well as a built-in temperature sensor and low battery indicator, among a myriad of other features.
Pi Supply’s micro:bit LoRa Node is a great add-on board for the popular BBC development platform, and allows you to connect your projects to the Things Network. The LoRa Node comes packed with a RAKWireless RAK811 LoRa node module, which is designed around Semtech’s SX1276, and takes advantage of the full LoRaWAN stack. The Node also supports LoRaP2P modes, features a u.FL connector for external antennas, and can be configured to use either 868 MHz or 915 MHz, depending on where you live.
Adafruit’s LoRa Radio Bonnet for the Raspberry Pi is a great add-on board that packs a 128 X 32 OLED display that allows you to read status messages or may be used with integrated buttons to create custom user interfaces. Users can opt for either the 868 MHz or 915 MHz ISM bands utilizing SX1276 LoRa module with a 2 Km range. The Bonnet features +5 to +20 dBm with up to 100 mW power output capability and has a 100 mA peak during +20 dBm transmit, and 30 mA during active radio listening.
Seeed’s Grove LoRa Radio can connect to any board with a modular, standardized connector, providing long-range wireless connectivity. The board packs an 868 MHz RFM95 ultra-long range transceiver which is based on the SX1276 and packs an ATMega168 for low-power applications. The Grove LoRa Radio offers 28 mA (@+20 dBm continuous transmit), 8.4 mA (@standby mode), and 20 mA (@receive mode, bandwidth 500kHz), and can use a simple wire antenna or high-gain antenna via a MHF connector, depending on the application.
>> Read the complete article originally published on our sister site, EE Times: "Top LoRa Add-on Boards for SBCs"."