How to Build a Lorawan Gateway

industry 4.0

What is  Lorawan

First of all, what is Lorawan.  It is a wireless technology that allows small amounts of data to be sent between a remote sensor (such as a river level detector), and the Internet.

Lorawan technology is very efficient at sending the sensor data over long distances, whilst consuming very little power. This means that a the sensor devices can be battery powered, whilst the batteries last for years.

What is a Gateway then

A Lorawan Gateway is the device that receives the wireless signals containing data, that has been transmitted (using Lora wireless technology) from the remote sensors (river level monitoring, air quality etc).

Once the  Gateway has received the  wirelessly transmitted data, the gateway forwards the data onto the Internet.

Gateway connection to the Internet can be via a variety of means, such as Wifi, Ethernet, 3G, 4G, 5G etc.

Building the Gateway

For beginners to building their own gateway, I would recommend joining, or founding a local Things Network .

The Lorawan Gateway that I am going to describe here, is designed to operate on the Things Network, however other lora networks can easily be installed.

The main components that you will need are:-

1) A Concentrator board from IMST of Germany. The Concentrator board is the wireless communications part of the system, responsible for receiving the wireless data signals, from the remote environmental sensors (Air quality sensors etc).

2) A small computer to store the software that controls the Concentrator board. We are going to use the UK designed Raspberry PI 3.

A Micro SD Card, for holding the software used by the Raspberry PI.  A small 4 GB card is fine.

3) A suitable Antenna (or Aerial), with pigtail connecting cable.

4) A suitable 2 Amp rated power supply, with a micro USB connector.

5)  7 Female to Female connecting leads, suitable for raspberry PI.

4) A suitable case, to house the components.


The first thing I need to make you aware of is the risk of static electricity, to your IMST ic880a Concentrator and Raspberry PI.

Static can damage the sensitive electronic components, therefore it is advisable to take precautions, such as not touching the board components, and wearing an anti static wrist strap.

The first thing you need to do is to format the micro SD card, that will be fitted to the raspberry PI, to hold the gateway software.

The SD card association has a free piece of software, for Windows PC and Mac, to do this. My card was already formatted, so I skipped this step.

The next step is to burn the actual software that will power your gateway, onto the Raspberry PI.

To do this, I used    

I first installed Etcher onto my  linux desktop computer. As most people use Windows PC, or Mac, you will need to find a suitable alternative to Etcher.

I also downloaded the operating system needed to run the Raspberry Pi, which is called Raspbian Stretch Lite , onto my desktop PC.

Put your micro SD card into your computers micro SD card reader. If your computer (like mine) does not have a card reader, then external USB plug in ones can be purchased cheaply (I got mine from my local Asda supermarket for £6).

Fire up Etcher, or whatever card  burning software you prefer, and select the copy of Raspbian Stretch Lite , that you previously downloaded to your PC.

Follow the instructions, and burn the operating system software onto the micro SD card.

Once you have successfully burned your Raspbian Stretch Lite, onto your SD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi (the slot is on the underside of the Pi).

The next thing to do is to connect your Raspberry Pi to a suitable monitor (I used a TV, that had a HDMI connection), and also connect a USB keyboard, power supply, and mouse.

The power supply should be 5 Volts DC, and Raspberry Pi power supplies are widely available. I used a USB phone charger, with 5 Volts output, and a current rating of 2000mA.

Boot up your Raspberry Pi (connect the power), and you will see lots of computer code scrolling across your screen (if you have done everything successfully, so far).

When the Raspberry Pi asks you for a user name and password, use the following default ones (the  bit after the  ‘ : ‘ ).

Username: Pi

Password: Raspberry

After you have successfully logged in, type:

 sudo raspi-config

Numbered options will now hopefully be on your monitor screen.

Select [5] Interfacing Options, and then P4 SPI

Then select [7] Advanced Options , and then [A1] Expand Filesystem.

You now need to exit the raspi-config utility, either by hitting the ‘CTRL’  and  ‘X’ keys, or by typing sudo reboot

Next you are going to Configure the locales and time zone.

Type this in, to set the locales, and follow instruction.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, type this in to set time zone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The next stage is to update the raspberry Pi software, do this by typing:

sudo apt-get update

Then install any upgrades to the operating system software, by typing sudo apt-get upgrade

Next we are going to install Git , which is needed to be able to download the Things Network software from Github.


sudo apt-get install git

The next step is to create a user called TTN (the things network).  This user will eventually replace the default raspberry pi user, which we will delete.

sudo adduser ttn

Then:    sudo adduser ttn sudo

Logout, by typing logout

Once you have logged out, log back in using the user name and password that you have just set up, when you added a user.

You can now delete the default Raspberry Pi user, by typing

sudo userdel -rf pi


Set the WIFI  SSID and password details, which can be found on the back of your home router / Hub (usually).

To set the WIFI details type

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf 

Once you have typed in the above text, you should see some code on the screen. Add the following to the end of the existing code, making sure that you enter your SSID and password details, in place of the shown text.




Now we are going to clone the installer from Github. This will download the software which runs the gateway, from the Github repository.  Type each of the following three code lines into your Pi, one at a time, hitting the return key after each line of code.

  git clone -b spi ~/ic880a-gateway
  cd ~/ic880a-gateway
  sudo ./ spi

Identifying the Gateway

The software will give the gateway the default name of ttn-gateway.

This however may need to be changed, to prevent issues with other Things Network Gateways within wireless range.

Wiring it Up

The next step is to connect the Concentrator board, to the Raspberry Pi, and also connect the antenna.

The components including the antenna should be mounted in a protective box,  and the antenna connected to the Concentrator board.

It is very important that the Concentrator board is not powered up, with no suitable antenna connected, of damage could occur to the board.

Once the antenna is connected, then the next step is to connect the Concentrator to the Raspberry Pi.

Connect using female to female connecting wires, as follows:

iC880a Concentrator pinDescriptionRPi physical pin
21Supply 5V2


It is important that you identify the correct pins, by referring to the manufactures data sheets (Both IMST & Raspberry Pi).

We accept no liability for loss or damage caused, by following these information only instructions.

For help, as to which pin is which on the Concentrator and Raspberry Pi boards, why not get in touch.

I also offer workshop training, where I can train your students to build their own Lorawan Gateways.


Craig Miles (C) 2018 , all images and content, unless stated separately.

Do you want a more efficient Business?

Equipment Re-Engineering

We can help improve the efficiency of your business, by designing a wireless system that connects your business to the Internet of Things.


Designing and re-engineering existing infrastructure such as factories and shipping for the connected world of the Internet of Things  can be confusing at present, with seemingly many solutions and technologies around.

For example the way your sensors connect wirelessly to the internet can be done using technologies such as LoraWAN, Sigfox or Weightless. There is also narrowband options over cellular networks.

Our approach is to work with you to find out what you want to achieve in terms of making your business more efficient, and profitable.

The technology considerations are important, but secondary to your business adapting for the future connected world, known as the ‘Internet of Things’.

  • Consultancy and help with the Internet of Things
  • Re-Engineering existing products and industry infrastructure
  • Product Design Incorporating the Internet of Things
  • Implementation of practical solutions to improve your business
  • Installation of Internet of Things enabled Infrastructure.

What is a LoraWAN Gateway

Internet Of Things

[bctt tweet=”A LoraWAN Gateway is a device that receives (and potentially sends) the wireless data from your lora enabled sensors, and then connects it to the Internet” username=”yeswayradio”]

These sensors are typically low powered devices capable of detecting such things as moisture of the soil, pollution levels, or pretty much whatever you wish to measure.

The LoraWAN Gateway can be connected to the internet in a variety of ways, such as ethernet, 3G,4G and 4G LTE.

Manufacturers include Link-Labs, MultiTech and Kerlink

LORA itself is a low power network technology that is an alternative technology to other standards such as Sigfox.

Internet of Things


Star-Delta Starter Adaption for The Internet Of Things

star delta starter modifications for IOT
star-delta starter

Star-Delta Starters are used to start larger ac induction motors used in industries,such as Manufacturing and Marine.

Like ‘Direct Online’ (DOL) starters, which are also used for ac induction motors starting (though smaller, lower current motors), Star-Delta starters only turn the motor on and off at a single speed.

[bctt tweet=”With the growth in the internet of things, industries, such as Mining and Marine” username=”yeswayradio”] (who use Star-Delta starter systems) need to consider how to keep their business efficiency as good as their competitors.

Competitors are always seeking competitive advantage. This can be achieved through cost and efficiency savings, and IOT (Internet of Things) connectivity allows close monitoring of system processes, and so called ‘machine learning’.

In the case of a Star-Delta motor starter, there area number of outputs that we may wish to measure using sensors.

Firstly, the current being drawn by the Star-Delta starter. This includes both the starting (or In rush) current, and the FLC (Full Load Current).

Monitoring of the Full Load Current (FLC) for example is useful because an increase in current been drawn through a phase, might be due a break in one of the other phases. This causes what is known as ‘Single Phasing’ to occur.

Single Phasing can potentially damage both the motor windings and cabling from the starter to the motor, due to current doubling in the two phases still connected.

The motor windings for example, would not be designed to handle the excess current flowing through the two (still) connected ones, potentially causing damage, expense and downtime.

The Star-Delta Starter normally has a current limiting device installed, called an Over Current Relay (OCR).

There are three types of OCR, Electronic, Magnetic, and Thermal.

The OCR will detect higher than normal currents, caused for example by ‘Single Phasing’.

When single phasing is detected by the OCR, it will disconnect the three phase supply going to the induction motor (after short delay, dependent on over current size).

To be continued………

(c) 2016 Craig Miles




Challenge of Installing IOT Sensor Equipment in Explosion Proof Areas

Challenge of Installing IOT Sensor Equipment in Explosion Proof Areas, by Craig Miles

IOT, or the Internet of Things is already changing the way that businesses function, and this is set to explode in the forthcoming years.

IOT is all about improving business efficiency by collecting information (via sensors) about the physical world (Inputs such as: temperature, pressure, location etc), and then using this data to trigger an automated action, based on the data.

Installing the sensors that provide the ‘inputs’ to your IOT system is usually fairly straightforward in most environments, however potentially explosive environments require special considerations.

When installing any electrical or electronic device in a potentially explosive environment, the device must be rated as ‘EX’ , also known as ‘intrinsically safe’.

Intrinsically safe electrical equipment is available as components such as electric fans, cable glands, and hand-held two-way radios.

This is a business opportunity for IOT device manufacturers to create ‘EX’ rated sensors.

The main thing to consider at all times when designing your install, is will my equipment cause a spark, potentially causing an explosion.

First consider your sensor itself. An example is a sensor located in a ships battery room to monitor and report on voltage and specific gravity of the lead acid batteries, used for emergency backup.

The sensor you use to collect the information MUST be EX rated / intrinsically safe, to be compliant.

The next consideration is how you are going to get the data from the sensor ‘out’ of the potentially explosive area and to the location where the data is processed.

Wireless technologies such as Zigbee, WIFI and LORA could be used, but by definition produce RF radiation which could potentially cause an explosion. Therefore it is crucial that only equipment that is EX rated is used.

In the case of environments hostile to RF (Radio Frequency) Radio Waves, such as ships, oil rigs and other buildings high metal content, an alternative would be a fixed wired solution.

When using wired methods to transmit sensor data, the cable glanding must be designed so that the explosive area remains gas tight, to prevent explosive gases interacting with electrical components outside the intrinsically safe area.

Glands for this purpose exist, and can be found online.

To conclude, the key to installing the Internet of Things (IOT) in a potentially explosive environment is to ensure that every piece of IOT equipment that is installed is EX rated to prevent explosion risks.

You also need to think about and ensure that any wiring that leaves the intrinsically safe / explosive area goes through properly rated EX glands, to ensure safety.

The author is Craig Miles (me) and I can be contacted via

All content is copyright, and copying and all rights are reserved (c) Craig Miles 2015

Internet of Things and Big data

The ‘Internet of Things’, or IOT for short is set to dominate the next phase of the internet.

The IOT is about monitoring and controlling everyday machines and items by giving them an address (IP address) on the internet.

Recent advances in low power wireless technologies open up the possibility of cost effective transmission of monitoring data, with long service intervals for the monitoring equipment (sometimes 10 years on one battery).

By capturing the data from all these internet connected wireless sensors, and storing it in a huge cloud based ‘Data Lake’ , trends in data can be searched and analysed.

Yesway Communications aims to be at the forfront of the ”Big Data’ and Internet of Things revolution.

If you have a business that could benefit from data monitoring and analysis using the cloud, then get in touch.

The Internet of Things (IOT)

The ‘Internet of Things’ is a term that is due to become more widely known during 2014.

One application of the Internet of Things, or IOT, is smart vending machines. For example the machine would know when it had run out of mars bars.

It would the automatically send this data to a central database, which would automatically contact a delivery driver in the field. The driver could be instructed to change his delivery route, and go to replenish the mars bars in that empty vending machine.

This is just a fraction of how machines will automatically communicate with other machines, and even with people (the delivery driver for instance).

(c) Craig Miles 2014

Narrowband Internet Of Things for lincolnshire wolds

Wireless LPWA narrowband internet of things service provider

We are in the process of implementing a state of the art digital narrowband wireless Internet of Things Network system for business and service users, which will cover the lincolnshire wolds and beyond.

The wireless narrowband system will offer encrypted secure communications for the internet of things sensors.

The narrowband network will be of interest to agricultural farmers, as well as any firm or organisation that wishes improve operational efficiency through monitoring there processes using remote wireless sensors throughout the wolds and beyond.


Initial range tests have confirmed excellent signal strength in places such as Lincoln & Grimsby, as well as around the lincolnshire wolds themselves.

Further roleout is happening across the county of Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Nationally.


Woodhall Spa uses Wireless IOT

[bctt tweet=”Businesses in Woodhall Spa are in the fortunate position of having wireless IOT sensor coverage available in their area.” username=”yeswayradio”]

Wireless IOT is a form of two way radio communication which offers businesses including taxi firms, local authority services, security companies, skip hire companies etc the ability to deploy sensors to monitor the physical factors, such as moisture, air quality etc, and communicate cost effectively over a wide geographic area using Low power wide area network technology from Yesway Communications..

Yesway specialise in two way and wireless IOT business communications technology, & would like to offer your business the best radio communication solution.