ChirpStack: Helium IoT Device Management
Helium built its first decentralized network using LoRaWAN protocol. It has evolved now to a network of protocols with HIP 51. Although it might seem everyone in Helium is focused on Helium Mobile and the Mobile sub network, the advantage of the transition is each subnetwork can build and develop simultaneously.
Helium LoRaWAN network is the largest decentralized network with worldwide coverage.
But what about the device usage and management ?
Helium Console is a web-based device management tool hosted by the Helium Foundation that allows developers to register, authenticate, and manage their devices on the Helium network. Helium was developed to keep all the data on the blockchain, but the rapid growth of the network made it unreliable for the network to stay synchronized with all the hotspots. This compounded with the difficult and new process of buying an OUI and running a Console to just manage the LoRaWAN devices on the Helium Network.
With the transition to HIP 70, The large part of the LoRaWAN network Proof of Coverage along with LoRaWAN device management is made off chain with the help of Oracles. This allows the network to be more open and collaborative with existing LoRaWAN Networks, which introduces us to Chirpstack.
ChirpStack is an open-source LoRaWAN Network Server which can be used to set up LoRaWAN networks with open-source components. Together they form a ready-to-use solution for device management and APIs for integration. The modular architecture makes it possible to integrate within existing infrastructures.
- Chirpstack Gateway Bridge - Handles the communication between the gateways and the Network server
- Chirpstack Network Server - Handles the authentication and communication with the Application Server
- Chirpstack Application Server - Handles the encryption and decryption of payload and provides integration with third party applications.
What are the advantages of Helium Console 2.0 ( Chirpstack LNS ) over the previous version ?
- Brings on all LoRaWAN device standards already built into Chirpstack
- Will be compatible with any LNS on the market
- Devices and tenants to setup data integrations with the major cloud providers
- Databases and services commonly used for handling device data.
- gRPC based API that can be used to integrate or extend ChirpStack.
What are some new features to look forward to?
Class B & C devices
- Class A device - Has to Talk before listening to commands.
- Class A is most battery-efficient of the devices ( Sleeping most of the time )
- Will only receive a message or command ( dowlink) as a response to a message it has sent (uplink)
- Examples : Fire alarms, Flood detectors, intrusion detectors, etc
- Class B device - Listen at specific times
- Class B is meant to have average battery life as power consumption is higher that Class A
- Network can initiate communication with the device as it Listens to the network periodically
- Examples: Temperature, Humidity & Moisture metering, etc
- Class C device - Listen Continuously
- High power consumption because always listening to the network for commands (downlinks) therefore no latency on the downlink messages
- Class C is the simplest and is ideal for externally-powered devices
- Example, a smart outlet, traffic monitoring, real time applications.
ParleyLabs has been working closely with the Nova team and Helium foundation on the new Helium Console & Chirpstack migration,being the first to transfer data with a Class C device on the network server with the switching on and off a light switch.
What does it mean for LoRa Hotspot owners ?
- Increased use cases and more device types available to use on the network
- Reliability of the devices on the network
- Increasing data usage with faster growth
- Increased data transfer through their hotspots increasing rewards
What does it mean for Helium console device owners ?
After the migration to Chirpstack ( Console 2.0 ) , Nova Labs does not have plans to operate the console for users and passes that role to builders currently Alpha testing. If you're interested in managing your devices with the new console, Contact us here.