LoRa4Makers : opening our LoRaWAN network to makers and academics

At Proximus, we want to make it easy and friction-less for LoRaWAN to support your new bright idea, whether you’re starting a new business from your home or need to include IoT networks in your school or academics project. LoRa4Makers is the answer to your needs.

What is your new big idea?

Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation. [Nick Camen]

It might be a connected hive or chicken coop, a way to measure underground rainwater storage, a new tracking device for UAV or the next pager system for crisis scenarios. Connected devices are everywhere, support more and more scenarios and these scenarios each comes with its own requirements for connectivity. You have narrowed down your needs to a long-range, low energy network such as LoRaWAN. At this point, all you want is to start building your first prototype and include connectivity in it.

Proximus LoRaWAN, a commercial network

For several years now, Proximus has extended its national network coverage to include the LoRaWAN protocol. We deployed LoRaWAN gateways across the territory and cover now most of the territory of Belgium – as you can see on our network coverage map. All of these investments came at a cost and it is therefore not surprising to understand that access to our LoRaWAN network is a commercial offering. The access fees could be summarized as such:

  • a fixed, one-time charge activation fee
  • a very small fixed monthly fee per LoRaWAN device (about 1€) with a daily message allowance (288 messages/device/day)
  • additional optional fees (site survey services, etc)

This LoRaWAN commercial service from Proximus is known as “Proximus MyThings”. Should you already aim for a large roll-out and production use of our network, no need to read further – just reach out to our IoT colleagues at iot@proximus.com and ask to be recontacted about Proximus MyThings.

Proximus LoRa4Makers, temporary free access for makers and academics

As stated in the introduction, we understand that some people might just not need full-fledged commercial access to our LoRaWAN network. What they need is the ability to experiment low scale. With the launch of Proximus LoRa4Makers on the Proximus API Solutions platform – formerly known as Proximus EnCo – we make it possible for anyone to activate up to 5 devices for free for 4 months on our national network. LoRa4Makers can be operated both from a user interface (which we call a microsite) and by REST API.

Let us list below a number of important points:

  • each device will be allowed 288 messages per day. Any further message above this limit will not be delivered
  • LoRa4Makers support ABP (Activation By Personalization). If you need OTAA (Over The Air Activation), you need Proximus MyThings
  • LoRa4Makers supports uplinks (messages sent by your device). If you need downlinks (messages to your device), you need Proximus MyThings
  • LoRa4Makers will not perform any payload decoding, except for AllThingsTalk LoRaWAN RDKs. You can however use the Proximus CloudEngine to develop your own payload decoder
  • Once the 4 months period has ended, messages from your devices will not be delivered anymore. You can always access your device list to get their details or delete them. Deleting them will allow you to reuse their devEUI on our network should you move your usage to Proximus MyThings for instance.
  • Accessing your device’s messages requires the use of Proximus CloudEngine. The good news is that CloudEngine also offers a free usage tier with enough capacity to handle all messages coming from your 5 devices.

Getting started

It’s easy : if you don’t have an account on our API Solutions platform, just register for a new one. It’s free and all you need is a valid email address. Once this is done, register to the LoRa4Makers and to CloudEngine. Our documentation includes starting guides, step by step tutorials and script samples for CloudEngine. You’ll be up in no time !

Author: EnCo Team

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