What is it?

RNode is an integrated, long-range data-radio interface, that connects to a host via USB and uses raw LoRa modulation in a variety of frequency bands. Or in short: A very flexible LoRa-based communication device.

RNode can functions as a:

  • Network adapter for RNS
  • LoRa interface for your computer (or any device with a USB or serial port)
  • Packet sniffer for LoRa networks
  • LoRa development board
  • A LoRa-based KISS-compatible TNC
  • A flexible platform for experiementing with LoRa technology

RNode is controlled by a powerful ATmega1284p MCU, and is fully Arduino compatible. You can use this firmware, or it can be programmed any way you like, either from the Arduino IDE, or using any of the available tools for AVR development. This firmware can also be edited and compiled directly from the Arduino IDE.

For adding RNode to your Arduino environment, please see this post.

For configuring an RNode with this firmware, please have a look at the RNode Config Utility.

Specifications

  • High-quality LoRa module with genuine Semtech SX1276 chip
  • Powered by an ATmega1284p MCU clocked at 16 MHz
  • 128 kilobytes of flash
  • 16 kilobytes of RAM
  • Up to 17 dBm continuous TX output
  • Sensitivity down to -139 dBm
  • Mini-USB connector
  • SMA antenna connector
  • Fully programmable
  • Arduino compatible

Frequency Bands

RNode can operate in the following two frequency bands:

  • 410 – 525 MHz
  • 820 – 1020 MHz

Operating Modes

RNode can operate in two modes, host-controlled (default) and TNC mode:

  • When RNode is in host-controlled mode, it will stay in standby when powered on, until the host specifies frequency, bandwidth, transmit power and other required parameters. This mode can be enabled by using the -N option of this utility. In host-controlled mode, promiscuous mode can be activated to sniff any LoRa frames.
  • When RNode is in TNC mode, it will configure itself on powerup and enable the radio immediately. This mode can be enabled by using the -T option of this utility (the utility will guide you through the settings if you don’t specify them directly).

USB and Serial Protocol

You can communicate with RNode either via the on-board USB connector, or using the serial pins on the board (labeled RX0 and TX0). RNode uses a standard FTDI USB chip, so it works out of the box without additional drivers in most operating systems.

All communications to and from the board uses KISS framing with a custom command set. RNode also does not use HDLC ports in the command byte, and as such uses the full 8 bits of the command byte is available for the actual command. Please see table below for supported commands.

Command Byte Description
Data frame 0x00 A data packet to or from the device
Frequency 0x01 Sets or queries the frequency
Bandwidth 0x02 Sets or queries the bandwidth
TX Power 0x03 Sets or queries the TX power
Spreading Factor 0x04 Sets or queries the spreading factor
Coding Rate 0x05 Sets or queries the coding rate
Radio State 0x06 Sets or queries radio state
Radio Lock 0x07 Sets or queries the radio lock
Device Detect 0x08 Probe command for device detection
Promiscuous 0x0E Sets or queries promiscuous mode
Ready 0x0F Flow control command indicating ready for TX
RX Stats 0x21 Queries received bytes
TX Stats 0x22 Queries transmitted bytes
Last RSSI 0x23 Indicates RSSI of last packet received
Blink 0x30 Blinks LEDs
Random 0x40 Queries for a random number
Firmware Version 0x50 Queries for installed firmware version
ROM Read 0x51 Read EEPROM byte
ROM Write 0x52 Write EEPROM byte
TNC Mode 0x53 Enables TNC mode
Normal Mode 0x54 Enables host-controlled mode
ROM Erase 0x59 Completely erases EEPROM
Error 0x90 Indicates an error

A few notes on the EEPROM

As a completely open device, RNode does not block you from modifying the EEPROM contents, which specifies things like radio parameters, serial number, manufacture date and similar. But please be aware that doing so might render the device inoperable or burn out the radio. Before making any modifications, please make sure to create a backup of the EEPROM. RNode includes a cryptographic signature of the EEPROM contents, which validates all the information stored within it. You will not be able to re-create a valid signature if you erase it! Without this signature, the board will still function, but warranty will be void.

When can I get one?

Both the open source design files and the prebuilt radio will be available in July 2018.

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