Lora range question


#1

Hi,
I could easily setup a system with a
RAK831 Pilot Gateway SX1301+Raspberry Pi3+GPS
thanks to the awesome work of brocaar! Thanks for that, great work!

I do have one question though and I’m not really sure if there is a problem and if there is a problem how it could be solved. So I’m a little bit disappointed about the range of LoraWan. And I know the range depends on numerous factors. My first setup was maybe a little strange, putting the gateway in the cellar, which gave me really a small range (50m) for the devices.
So I put the gateway in the second floor and put my devices in several locations. In the same building everything works but I put one device outside the building. The distance to the gateway is less than 100m (I guess 75m). I cannot receive any messages (inside the building there is no problem) which surprises me. I’m sure that even inside the building the distance is higher if I put the device in the farest corner of the building.
So my question, is this a hardware problem (from the device, from the gateway)?
Is this a question of the configuration of the lora server (especially the lora gateway etc)? Are there any possibilities to tune?
What are the possibilities to check (logs etc.) that?
Or is that something related to the conditions of the area/buildings.
Appreciate any help.
Thanks i.a.
Martin


#2

What is the building made of? Also when you said you moved the gateway to the second floor, where in comparison to the exterior walls is it? For example, is it in the center of the second floor, equidistant from the exterior walls or is it close to an exterior wall? The building material will affect how far the signal can go but even 75m seems low even for a relatively enclosed space.


#3

Thanks Geof for the reply.
The building is made of concrete and glass.
The distance to the exterior wall is more or less equidistant but there is a concrete wall close to the gateway in the direction to device pos 2.
See attached picture. As you can see there is a warehouse (with metal construction!) in between. I will move the second device a little bit up so that the warehouse won’t be in between.
Messages from the device in the cellar of Annex II (dev pos 1) could be received - bad rssi values though.
The distance is about the same from device pos 1 and device pos 2
Thanks Martin


#4

Hi Martin,

I would agree with you that the metal on that warehouse might be doing something with your signal but at the same time I’m happily surprised that you’re getting signal to a device in the cellar even if the RSSI values are not the greatest. I’d also assume as you alluded to above if you move that second device you’ll be fine, my tests with some cheaper single channel gateways sitting on the windowsill of a second floor in our building has allowed me to easily get 2,5 km LOS easily even with some variable lines of trees in between. So hopefully you’ll get a signal and see some good RSSI values for your second node. Best of luck.

Geof


#5

Thanks Geof.
And yes, it works if I move the device at pos 2 into LOS.

So it looks like the setup cannot handle a 60m diameter. Some kind of disappointing.

And we still need to figure out what we can improve - if there is anything at all.

Thanks
Martin