Step 1: Gather the Required Hardware

You will need to have the following hardware for this journey:

  • A LoRaWAN end-device

Let’s use an Abeeway Micro Tracker. The Abeeway Micro Tracker is a multi-mode tracker combining GPS/low-power GPS, WiFi, LoRaWAN and BLE radios with embedded sensors to support accurate outdoor and indoor geolocation. It is a great device to start with for your first tests as it can be used for network coverage testing, temperature sensing, push-button, and of course indoor and outdoor geolocation. You can buy one from ThingPark Market (see below).

When buying end-devices pay attention to your region.  For example, if you live in Europe, you should buy an Abeeway Micro Tacker that supports EU868 region. There are also trackers for US915 and AS923 regions. See the Frequency Guide in ThingPark Market to identify the LoRaWAN RF region for your country.

  • A LoRaWAN radio gateway that is compatible with ThingPark platform

You need to use a gateway compatible with ThingPark. ThingPark is a hardware agnostic platform and its gateway software (“LRR” for Long-Range Relay) has been ported to all major suppliers.  ThingPark Market has a good selection of such gateways for which LRR has been ported and validated.

Furthermore, the LRR software installed on the gateway needs to match the target ThingPark platform. You can buy a UfiSpace Picocell Gateway that already has the LRR software which is personalized for the ThingPark Community Platform.

Alternatively, you can buy one of the following gateways from ThingPark Market, and install the required LRR software on them (see Step 4 for details): Ufispace (Macro V1.5 and V2.0), Cisco (IXM), MultiTech (AP, Conduit V1.5., Conduit IP67 V1.5 and V2.1), Kerlink (SOP4, iFemteocell V1.0), Gemtek (ODU) gateways.  As with the end-devices, make sure to match the RF region of the gateway with the country you are going to use it.

Now you are ready to access your free account on ThingPark Community Platform, create the tracker and the gateway on the platform, activate the tracker to observe the data traffic on both the network infrastructure platform and also on an application server.  See below for achieving these step-by-step.

Step 2: Access ThingPark Community Platform

This portal provides access to Actility’s ThingPark products for non-commercial use. The ThingPark Enterprise instance dedicated for the community portal is called ThingPark Community Platform (TPCP in short). TPCP allows developers to experience the ThingPark platform that is already used by many networks around the world, from large nationwide public networks to small private ones. Connecting three gateways and up-to 50 devices to TPCP is provided free of charge to anyone (contact us if you think you need more capacity, e.g. for non-profit projects).

TPCP is always kept up-to-date with our latest ThingPark release, as soon as automated QA testing has been completed from R&D. It is used as a first field-test platform as part of our release cycle. Therefore, it may be stopped or upgraded at any time with a prior notification of 48 hours (i.e., no SLA).

You can access TPCP using the same e-mail address and password you use on this portal/page.

Step 3: Connect your gateway to the Internet

  • Plug in your gateway to a power source.
  • Connect your gateway to an Ethernet network where it can get an automatic IP address from a DHCP server and access the Internet. If your gateway is behind a corporate firewall, make sure the firewall does not block the following ports towards the Internet: FTP (TCP port 21), NTP (UDP port 123), IPsec (UDP ports 4500 and 500). All gateway connections are in the gateway-to-cloud direction and support NAT traversal, and therefore no port forwarding is required.

Step 4: Create the Gateway on Your Account

You need to create your LoRaWAN gateway on TPCP before TPCP starts accepting traffic from that gateway.

  • Go to TPCP UI
  • Select “Create” under the “Base Stations” from the main menu on the left
  • Select the gateway vendor (e.g., “UfiSpace”)
  • Select the “Model” (e.g., “Pico/Enterprise V1.5” if you have a picocell gateway)

Right below this selection, there is a “Download the base station documentation” link. Click on that to have the gateway user guide handy.

If the gateway you have does not come with the TPCP LRR software pre-installed on it, then you would need to download this software using the “Download the base station image” link and refer to the base station documentation for installing the base station image.

  • Use “Name” field to assign a name to your gateway
  • Enter your gateway’s universally unique ID in the “LRR UUID” field. Assuming you have sourced the gateway from ThingPark Market, you must have received the LRR UUID of your gateway in an email (e.g. 001558-46584254C0001BF9). If not, you can refer to your gateway’s user guide for retrieving this ID by remotely accessing the gateway.
  • Select an “RF Region” according to the region you live in and also the number of channels your gateway supports (e.g., “EU 863-870MHz (8 channels)”)
  • Select “Enabled” option for “IPsec (X.509) for base station to TPE connection”
  • Feel free to add any notes to the “Additional Information” field that you may want to associate with your gateway
  • Enter your gateway’s “Public key”. Assuming you have sourced the gateway from ThingPark Market, you must have received the public key of your gateway in an email. If not, you can refer to your gateway’s user guide for retrieving this key by remotely accessing the gateway. Copy the public key from your email with or without the BEGIN/END lines and paste into the “Public key” field on the TPCP UI. Example public key:

—–BEGIN PUBLIC KEY—–

MIGfMA0GCSqGSib3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQD1w1rNcTvFSgryEaIZ2egMLQ7E
rAl9JDP/wdatU2TntJ3vIteC1ITc0aN9YXcsE2YGXutEtRLwXq92hJRMqucW/1B5
+JqvPHaCSoR+m3UNR9HrL4YCYfBfrd/F1v0EnQ6Xluiz6Mc3hlsWzM303HQA3dAg
RfSWDy7kHcAS8631uQIDAQAB

—–END PUBLIC KEY—–

  • For setting the gateway location, select “Onboard GNSS position” for “Mode” if your gateway has a GPS antenna. If your gateway does not have GPS antenna, then select “Manual” and enter the coordinates using “Lat” and “Long” or by clicking on the map.
  • Click on “Save”
  • Wait for ~5 minutes for your gateway to complete “Initialization” and become “Active”. Note: Gateway status may show “Radio Error” before reaching “Active”, please ignore that.

Now your gateway is ready to send the uplink frames it demodulates to your TPCP account and accept the downlink frames sent from any application server or cloud via TPCP to be transmitted over the air. You can see it listed when you click on the “List” under the “Base Stations” in the main menu.

Step 5: Create an Application

The ThingPark platform has codec drivers capable of decoding uplinks for many popular device brands. Decoded payload is visible in wireless frame logger UI as well as data presented by connectors to the application servers. Codec drivers also convert downlink text commands into binary payload. However, long term storing and fully processing (i.e., visualizing, correlating, reacting on, etc.) the application data and controlling the application behavior (e.g., how often to send location info) on the device require application-specific processing. This is done on dedicated application servers which need to be connected to the network server.
TPCP comes with pre-integrated connectors for popular IoT cloud platforms, such as AWS IoT, Microsoft Azure IoT and IoT Central, IBM Watson, ThingWorx, and of course generic HTTP and MQTT servers.
Abeeway Device Manager (ADM) is the application server software for Abeeway trackers. At this step we will create an application on your TPCP account so you can use the ADM with your tracker.

  • Select “Create” under the “Applications” on the main menu
  • Select “Generic Application”
  • Use “Name” field to assign a name to your application
  • Set the “URL” field to “https://abeeway-dev1.thingpark.com:50540”
  • Select “XML” for “Content Type”
  • Set the “Tunnel Interface Authentication Key” field to “e8959e26fd9bce52700605a9cfe74d53“. This is the key which ensures that downlink commands for devices associated to this application can only be sent by the legitimate application server.
  • Feel free to add any notes to the “Additional Information” field that you may want to associate with your application
  • Click on “Save”

Now the ADM application is ready to send and receive application payloads via the TPCP for the devices you will be designating. You can see the application listed when you click on the “List” under the “Applications” in the main menu.

Step 6: Create the Tracker on Your Account

Now let’s create the tracker as a LoRaWAN device on your TPCP account. Most popular device brands come with pre-validated profiles which provide the optimal settings of the LoRaWAN protocol stack. Of course, generic profiles are available as well.

  • Select “Create” under the “Devices” on the main menu
  • Select “Abeeway” as the device manufacturer
  • Select “Micro-Tracker” as the “Model”
  • Use “Name” field to assign a name to your device
  • Set the “DevEUI” field to the 8-byte globally-unique value that is used for identifying your tracker. This value is represented in hexadecimal format (i.e., 16 characters, such as A1B2C3D4E5F6A7B8) that was provided to you along with the tracker.
  • Select “Over-the-Air Activation(OTAA)” as the “Activation mode”
  • Set the “JoinEUI (AppEUI)” field to the 8-byte globally-unique value that is used for identifying the Join Server of your tracker. This value is represented in hexadecimal format (i.e., 16 characters, such as F1E2D3C4B5A6F7E8) that was provided to you along with the tracker.
  • Set the “AppKey” field to the 16-byte value that is used for authenticating your tracker at the LoRaWAN layer. That value is represented in hexadecimal format (i.e., 32 characters, such as 00112233445566778899AABBCCDDEEFF) that was provided to you along with the tracker.
  • Feel free to add any notes to the “Additional Information” field that you may want to associate with your tracker
  • Select the application you had created at Step 5 under the “Application” and press the “+” sign to set it for your tracker
  • Select “No location” for “Mode”. Your tracker device will be reporting its location at the application layer, hence it does not need to use LoRaWAN geolocation service.
  • Click on “Save”

Now your tracker is ready to be used. You can see it listed when you click on the “List” under the “Devices” in the main menu.

Step 7: Let’s Activate the Tracker!

Your tracker is ready to join the network to send and receive application data.

  • Power on your device by continuously pressing its button for few seconds until you hear a melody. (If you are not sure about the state of the device, you can turn it off by the following sequence: 4 short clicks,  1 long press, 2 short clicks, 1 long press and maintain the button pressed until the end of the boot-mode melody).
  • Tracker will perform a join procedure and send application data which can be observed on detailed device page that you can access by clicking on the specific device under the “List” sub-menu of the “Devices” menu. Observe the “Device Status”, “Radio Traffic History”, “Radio Statistics”, and “Last 10 Packets” frame on that page.
  • While TPCP  provides network diagnostic tools for observing the traffic at LoRaWAN level, you will prefer to use the ADM for fully processing the application-specific features for Abeeway trackers, and managing the device configuration and behavior over the LoRaWAN connectivity. Go to the ADM UI on your browser and login using the same credentials as you have on TPCP.
  • You will see your device listed under the “Select Devices” tab. Click on the device to see it appear under the “Selected Devices” tab. Click on the “Select” button.

Now you have full control and view of your tracker. On this portal you can see the radio, battery, temperature, and location statistics, raw location logs, and map view of all reported locations. This portal also lets you remotely change configuration of your tracker.

Refer to the following two documents to learn more about the tracker device and the ADA application: Abeeway Micro Tracker Reference Guide, Abeeway Device Analyzer Guide.

Enjoy LoRaWAN-based tracking using the most powerful LPWAN platform, ThingPark!

We’d love to hear about your experience. Share them on Twitter with #HelloLoRaWAN hashtag. If you have questions or need help, please use the TPCP Forum.