TTN Gateway

Just when I thought I would have to abandon my LoraWan project, The Things Network Gateway was released and a few weeks later appeared on Farnell (Element14), so I took the plunge and bought my own gateway.

It arrived the following day, well packaged, and it is certainly a nice looking unit. My intention was to mount it as high as possible ie in the attic where I have a PoE switch. Unfortunately, the unit isn't PoE but that is understandable when trying to keep costs down.


I unpacked it, screwed in the aerial and then looked at mounting options. Rubber suction pads??? No keyways to hang it on a screw. The suction pads are in keyholes but they are facing opposite directions. This means the only place to fit the unit is on a clean, smooth surface but you cannot mount it on a conductive surface (presumably because that would act as a ground plane) so the other option is glass. As nice as the front of the unit is, I'm not sure I (or my wife!) would want it stuck to a window. I hung it on a mirror temporarily while I got it registered and connected to the network. It was definitely temporarily as it fell off twice and in the end it was sat on the bench while I looked into other mounting options.

The instructions say to connect the power, go to the activation page, and connect WiFi to the Things Gateway. Easy. So I went to the activation page on my desktop PC, registered the name and then it said "Connect to the AP" At this point I realised I should have done the activation on my laptop, tablet or similar. I switched to the laptop and went to the activation page. The gateway was already activated so I clicked on the "Already Activated" link at the bottom of the page and followed the steps. After the first attempt the status LEDs were showing it was still trying to connect to the network. I repeated the procedure and this time got the 4 LEDs indicating success. The activation page was still reporting "Waiting for GW to check in" but the TTN Console showed it was active.

Total time to setup and get connected was around 20 minutes but that wasn't helped because the gateway was in a different room and I initially tried to connect from my desktop without a WiFi connection.

I purchased a PoE splitter so I could power it from the PoE switch. At this point I realised that if your ethernet cable has a boot on it, it is very difficult to remove the cable once it is inserted. I 3D printed a holder for the PoE splitter and mounted it on a board. Removing the rubber suckers allowed me to hang the gateway on 2 screws in the board. It isn't very satisfactory but the gateway is located out of the way so it should be OK. 

Should I have built my own? Probably, as that would have been PoE, suitable for mounting in the roof space and potentially have an external antenna. However, it would still be work in progress and while this took a few weeks to be mounted it was still operational from the day I plugged it in.


Suggestions for a Version2?

Rotate the keyways through 90 degrees so it can be hung on a wall easier

Move the ethernet socket or allow better access to the ethernet latch

PoE support