Low Power & Long Range


2020-06-23, 16:44 Posted by: Barry Dyi

Challenge:

The "Smart Lake" project has sought to implement a water measuring equipment that performs its tasks automatically. An important quality aspect of the platform is energy consumption, which directly affects the deployment lifetime. In a previous iteration of the Smart Lake device, GSM was being used to send data packets to a website through the cellular networks. The GSM technology required the radio to always be on and highlighted it to be the most energy-consuming part.
Data collection is done once every month, therefore a low-power device that can sleep during the rest of the cycle is needed.

Solution:

Through using a microcontroller with the LoRa radio technology, the long-range and low-power features of LoRa are achieved in the physical layer. The Contiki operative system is imported to the microcontroller to manage every aspect of the platform, including the MAC and network layer protocols.

Contiki is designed for low-power wireless IoT devices, with its own netstack and protocols that cater to memory-constrained systems in wireless sensor networks. Different protocols can be chosen, which allows for a flexible WSN where the topological structure can be changed to “star” or “tree”.

In a star topology, multiple sensor nodes connect to a single "gateway" node directly, whereas in a tree topology the sensor nodes connect to one or more relay nodes that forward the data back to a gateway. Data is sent back to the website from the gateway through a traditional communication network such as Ethernet, WiFi, or 5G.

Effect:

Less maintenance and number of devices to be used, thus reducing the cost of deployment. A step forward towards efficient and sustainable measurements through IoT. The developed platform in this project can be used in other scenarios outside Smart Lake.

 


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Bartosz Libner

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