Create Mesh Network Using Pycom LoPy4 and FiPy
Mesh network is the present need for any IoT deployment. Whether it is a smart factory or a smart city, connecting all IoT devices with cellular or wifi network doesn’t make sense at all. It is neither cost-effective nor power efficient for IoT devices to use Wifi or cellular network for large-scale deployment.
LoRa and Sigfox came as a savior by enabling IoT devices to connect to the internet via a self-made network and ultra-low power consumption for a really long life of the battery. In our previous article, we discussed that Particle is launching its first mesh enabled devices coming September and currently on pre-order. Pycom is not left behind, they are also building a mesh network with their existing IoT boards LoPy4 and FiPy.
Pycom has implemented mesh network over its LoRa module (LoPy4, FiPy) and it is also based on OpenThread (https://openthread.io). The original implementation of Thread is based on 802.12.4-2006 but Pycom engineers were able to port it to LoRa radio. Features such as IPv6, 6LOWPAN (packet fragmentation), UDP, DHCP, PING, and security are already ready out-of-the-box to use.
A great benefit with any mesh network is that – it decentralizes the network architecture so that the network creation, adaptation, and recovery happens automatically. For covering a large area, the user can deploy LoRa nodes, which will need at least one radio connection to connect the MESH network. Next, a designated LoRa node will be the Border Router, taking all MESH-traffic to the Internet. Pycom is claiming that while their LoRa nodes support mesh, it still manages low power and long-range features of LoRa radio.
With certain limitation present such as low data rate and limited air-time and it is mostly because of the inherent nature of LoRa radio. If you compare it with an 802.15.4 MAC capable radio modem, you will find bigger delays in network discovery and propagation.
Pycom is very active in bringing mesh network capabilities on board and they are promising that next release, which will happen somewhere in Aug 2018, will have a solid Border Router functionality and additional data security which will be audited and improved. Also, they are going to enrich the current MicroPython Loramesh library for extended functionality.
If you interested in knowing more about Mesh and Pycom’s implementation, you can follow their git –https://github.com/pycom/pycom-documentation/blob/development_release/chapter/tutorials/lora/lora-mesh.md
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