LoRa low-power WAN evaluation kits from Microchip, in distribution

June 22, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Distributor RS Components (RS) has Microchip’s range of LoRa development kits; LoRa implements low-power wide-area networks, and the kits integrate gateway, sensors and local server application, and come with certification for Europe and North America, enabling fast and easy development possibilities for the IoT.

LoRa technology, overseen by the LoRa Alliance, targets tracking and monitoring IoT applications with low data rates and a low-duty cycle for a variety of markets such as energy, location, utility infrastructure, environment, agriculture and public safety. Predominantly used for the uplink of sensor data, the bidirectional nature of the communications allows real-time acknowledgement of mission-critical data and downlink control of remote actuator nodes. The technology is capable of securely delivering two-way communication at data rates from 0.3 to 50 kbps, and over distances of up to 2 to 5 km in an urban environment and up to 15 km in a suburban environment.


Using chirped spread-spectrum modulation, in licence-free bands, enables LoRa links to maintain reliable communications over km distances for very low supply currents, with signals “in the noise floor”. With extended range, much of the necessity for mesh networking that is typical of 802.11 derivative schemes is avoided, and point-point or start networks can be used. Three modes of operation are available at increasing levels of supply power, and correspondingly increasing levels of access by node to gateway. The first enables a node to transmit at any time, and its transmission is also a request for a return data ‘slot’ so it receives only after transmitting. The second uses a network beacon to synchronise transmission slots from gateway to node(s), with nodes able to transmit between those times; and the third uses more power as receivers are active all the time the node is not transmitting.


The Microchip kits provide all the required components necessary for a developer to create a low-power LoRaWAN network, including: a LoRaWAN gateway; two Motes, which are LoRaWAN sensors based on Microchip’s RN2483 or RN2903 LoRa modules; and a local LoRaWAN server application.


The two kit variants include: one that is suitable for Europe – the DV164140-1 for the 868 MHz band; and one for North America – the