Thursday, September 15, 2016

ST launches low cost LoRa dev kit for the Internet of Things

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

STMicroelectronics has introduced a low-cost development kit that uses the STM32 microcontroller ecosystem for prototyping Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices with LoRa Wireless Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) connections.
The $40 P-NUCLEO-LRWAN1 kit (above) combines the ultra-low-power STM32L073 Nucleo (NUCLEO-L073RZ) microcontroller board with an RF expansion board based on the proven SX1272 LoRa transceiver from Semtech (I-NUCLEO-SX1272D). The STM32L073 MCU is based around the ARM Cortex-M0+ core and proprietary ultra-low-power features for devices such as utility meters, alarm systems, positioning devices, trackers, and remote sensors. Users can further extend functionality by adding extra expansion boards, such as the X-NUCLEO-IKS01A1 sensor board for motion, humidity, and temperature sensing.

LoRa enables long-range communication with several advantages over conventional cellular connections, including lower power and cost. Versatile features include multiple communication modes, accurate indoor and outdoor location awareness, and native AES-128 security. This competes with technology from SIGFOX and the new Weightless-P standard.

The new kit contains everything needed to build bi-directional end devices that comply with LoRaWAN version 1.0.1 and support class A and class C protocols. Devices can be activated using Over-The-Air Activation (OTAA) or Activation-By-Personalization (ABP). An application for LoRaWAN certification tests is included in the kit, and the I-CUBE-LRWAN LoRaWAN stack is available and posted at www.st.com/i-cube-lrwan.

Using the STM32 ecosystem provides development resources such as the STM32Cube tools and software packages containing sample code and Hardware Abstraction Layers (HALs). These allow porting to any of the almost 700 STM32 MCU variants that cover a wide range of performance, power, packages, and price points. Developers are also free to use familiar IDEs and ARM mbed online tools.

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