We are very excited to announce the Semtech Network Server integration of ChirpStack v4! The goal of the Semtech Network Server is to make it easy for developers who are getting started with LoRaWAN®. With the integration of ChirpStack v4, this has become even easier than ever.
The first thing that you will notice is that the Semtech Network Server now has a new web interface. While the structure is the same, we have cleaned up the interface so that you can quickly find important information. We have also simplified some of the forms to make the overall interface easier to navigate, use and understand. We have also added some exciting new features that will make it much easier to manage devices and to interpret the data they send.
To begin with, we have integrated support for the Device Repository for LoRaWAN from The Things Network. In ChirpStack v3, you had to manually create a device profile for your devices, including writing your own decoder function. For example, when you connect a temperature sensor, you expect the output to be a temperature reading. Because end devices on a LoRaWAN network must keep their payload as small as possible, these values are encoded as binary data. The result is that, upon receiving this data, the output is displayed as a binary string, which doesn’t look at all like a temperature! Making sense of this binary data is the responsibility of this decoder function. This function knows how to decode the device data and turns it into a readable format. With the integration of The Things Network Device Repository, you no longer need to write your own decoder function—we have reduced these steps to simply selecting the device vendor and model from a list of known devices. This not only reduces the number of errors, it saves a lot of time too!
The second big upgrade should help simplify your testing. We know that, once you have set up your devices, you often want to visualize the data that they measure. There are many great tools available, and some are even open source. Sometimes, especially for testing purposes, you just want to have a very simple visualization of the data to analyze trends over time. For this purpose, we have added a data visualization option to ChirpStack. Once ChirpStack knows what data is exposed by your devices, you can configure ChirpStack to aggregate and visualize this data for you. Once configured, the aggregated data can be found on the device dashboard in the web interface for the previous 24 hours (per hour), the last 31 days (per day), and the last 12 months (per month).
Next, we have added a new application integration with IFTTT that allows you to integrate ChirpStack with a wide variety of other external services supported by IFTTT. Of course, you will also find all of the other great application integrations that were already included in ChirpStack v3.
Another major change you may notice is that we have updated the ChirpStack Gateway OS. These updates make it really easy to create your own Raspberry Pi-based LoRa® gateway. It comes in two flavors, “base”, intended to be a “gateway only” OS, which can be used to connect your Raspberry Pi to the Semtech Network Server (over MQTT) and “full”, which provides a complete ChirpStack setup right out of the box, including Node-RED support. The only thing that you need to do after flashing these images onto an SD card is select the LoRa concentrator shield that you have connected to your Raspberry Pi. If you are using the “full” version, the gateway will be automatically created for you in ChirpStack. Your next step is to simply add your devices.
Here, we have highlighted the changes in ChirpStack v4 with respect to the Semtech Network Server, however, there are also many new features that will make it significantly easier when you want to set up your self-hosted ChirpStack instance. One of these exciting new features is multi-region support out of the box. Please refer to the ChirpStack website for the complete list of changes.
We hope this will help you get started with your projects with Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard. If you have any feedback that could help make ChirpStack even better, please do reach out to us on the ChirpStack Community Forum.
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