LoRa Development Packs Jump-Start Projects Leveraging Large-Scale LPWAN Connectivity

October 17, 2019 by Paul Shepard

STMicroelectronics has introduced two $99 ready-to-use development packs that enable all types of users from large corporations to smaller companies, independent designers, hobbyists, and schools to utilize LoRa®'s long-range, low-power wireless IoT connectivity for tracking, positioning, metering, and many other applications.

The two packs provide a complete LoRaWAN® development chain including gateway and end-node boards, firmware, and tools, leveraging ST's convenient and proven STM32 Nucleo evaluation boards. Catering separately for regions with 868MHz / 915MHz / 923MHz and sub-550MHz ISM frequency bands, each pack includes proprietary gateway software and ST's I-CUBE-LRWAN end-node software. The node and gateway boards come with an antenna and on-board debugger.

The LoRa gateway included in each pack is built with an STM32 Nucleo-144 development board, NUCLEO-F746ZG, which contains an STM32F746ZGT6 microcontroller (MCU). Unlike with a commercial gateway, users can easily access device pins to assist development. The gateway acts as a basic packet forwarder to enable data coming from the development node to reach LoRaWAN network servers.

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ST has established agreements with LoRaWAN network-server providers LORIOT, Actility, and The Things Network to let users connect their gateways to basic network-server capabilities free of charge. Users can also visualize sensor data and control devices with the myDevices Cayenne for LoRa IoT Builder dashboard.

Nodes are based on the NUCLEO-L073RZ Nucleo-64 board that features the STM32L073RZT6 ultra-low-power MCU and come with a battery socket for easy mobility. Each pack includes a LoRa node expansion board, which contains an ultra-low-power STM32-powered module running an AT-command stack. A selection of motion and environmental sensors is also provided on-board.

The P-NUCLEO-LRWAN2 pack is for high-frequency (868MHz/915MHz/923MHz) ISM bands. It comes with the I-NUCLEO-LRWAN1 node expansion board designed by USI, which combines an STM32L0-powered module with ST's sensor devices including the LSM303AGR MEMS e-compass (accelerometer/magnetometer), LPS22HB pressure sensor, and ST HTS221 temperature and humidity sensor.

The P-NUCLEO-LRWAN3 pack for low-frequency (433/470MHz) ISM regions comes with a node expansion board embedding the STM32L0-powered RisingHF module RHF0M003, together with an ST LSM6DS33D accelerometer, ST LPS22HB pressure sensor, and HTS221 temperature and humidity sensor.

Both development packs are available now and developers can benefit from the market-proven STM32 ecosystem bringing LoRaWAN protocol stacks, free integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Keil MDK-ARM, as well as a comprehensive software toolset including the STM32CubeMX MCU initializer and configurator.