Let’s make MiRAKles happen

Lukasz Erecinski May 6. 2021 6

Many of you are already aware that we are very interested in LoRa®. We hope to use the technology for both traditional IoT applications as well as in less orthodox ways, such as peer-to-peer text communication and even group text-messaging. This novel application potential is of particular interest to us, and in the coming months we will encourage developers to explore LoRa’s® viability as a text communication alternative to GSM/CDMA and LTE. We’re doubling down on LoRa® even at this early stage, so you can expect to see end-nodes for our SBCs, the Pinebook Pro, PineTab and PinePhone available in the Pine Store shortly. Indeed, we hope for LoRa® to become a staple of PINE64.

Group messaging over LoRa® is only conceptually plausible at the moment, but thankfully we’re not walking into this blindly or alone. We’ve been talking to the good folks over at RAKwireless about our ideas, and they’ve been both interested in what we had to say and very helpful in getting us started. For those of you who do not know, RAKwireless is an industry leading IoT solutions provider, producing high-end LoRa® gateways, sensors, kits and, of course, also gateway modules. Both our indoor and outdoor gateways, which are at the very heart of the system, will be using RAKwireless technology. We’re thrilled that we’re going to have an opportunity to work with RAKwireless and their community on this project.

“We are driven by innovation, open hardware, and community work, and that’s exactly what PINE64 brings to our company. Most members of the RAKStars community recognize LoRa as part of the development of IoT devices, however, PINE64 sees LoRa differently. With the power coming from both companies, we will enable people from all over the world to use LoRa technology in innovative ways, and most importantly, to deliver secure text communication.”

Maria Hernandez

Maria

Thanks to the work of RTP from Privacy & Tech Tips, our gateways are already fully functional, and the setup process is as simple as flashing Armbian to a SD card or eMMC module and running the script. Voila! that’s it, you’re done.

Lastly, our friends at RAKwireless do not only have a highly qualified engineering team but also a large, friendly and active community consisting of staff, contributors and end users. María Hernández from RAKwireless, whom I’d like to thank for getting me up-to-speed on everything related to LoRa®, has been both very welcoming and exceedingly helpful in getting me acquainted with their company and community. She’s awesome.  

If you’re interested in RAKwireless, and in applications of their technology, then I highly encourage you to pop by their Discord server (aptly named RAKStars) and say hello to their community. I’ve been in their chat for a while now, and I can say with confidence that it is a great place to get help with everything LoRa®. We too have a dedicated chat for our LoRa® project, which you can access on Discord, IRC, Matrix and Telegram.  

More information about our plans for using LoRa®, our cooperation with RAKwireless, and news regarding hardware peripherals will follow in the weeks and months to come. As always, to stay up to date on progress please make sure to follow PINE64 Telegram News channel, the announcements channel in Discord as well as our Twitter and Mastodon. Give RAKwireless Twitter a follow too while you’re at it. 

pine64gateway-poolside

Gateway prototype front

pine64gateway-poolside-back

Gateway prototype back

6 responses to “Let’s make MiRAKles happen”

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    TomasM says:

    Excellent news!

    Which GPS antennae have the gateway been tested with so far? And are you looking at using the SX1302?

    Hey there!

    Have been using small dipole on a line for testing for my personal indoor setup needs (not officially geared towards GPS alone). Will test out others down the line but using what I have running atm.

    GPS tests read coordinates reliably.

    + Yes, contains Rak2287, sx1302. 🙂

    PS: Of course I also successfully used the small antenna that came with it and pulled my coordinates reliably, closer to window.

    westurner says:

    Outstanding! Is there an OpenWRT build for this LoRa device with packaged modules (in addition to the mentioned Armbian build)?

    Is there an [OpenWRT,] Cluster Duck Protocol build for this device? https://clusterduckprotocol.org/

    Blockchain replication and LoRaWAN are a good fit because you can request missed blocks from peers.

    In related news I hear there is work on bringing Meshtastic to Pine64 USB module.

    The underlying board for Pine64 (Pinedio) Gateway is the Pine64 LTS. Any operating system being maintained for this can be worked on by those interested in seeing it a reality.

    From there software packages available for Raspberry Pi can be forked/converted through device and gpio pin changes in the code (and sometimes mostly minor difference in file structure).

    Being Armbian is Debian based many of the Raspbian packages can be used for scripts based on Debian commands. 🙂

    I think having encrypted local area text messaging is a great idea. Basically, share keys and now you can chat and that’s it. No need for any accounts or anything, just key sharing.

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