Waspmote from Libelium – an open and versatile IoT platform

30th October 2013

When your organisation understands that creating new IoT devices is necessary, but you’re not entirely sure about the future of the technology with regards to which platform to settle on – it can be difficult to make an informed decision. The “paradox of choice” can often stall progress, until now. With the Waspmote platform from Libelium, you can use an incredibly wide range of wireless technology and platforms to meet your IoT goals.

Libelium’s Waspmote platform is an open source wireless sensor network platform specifically focussed on the implementation of low-power modes, allowing individual battery-powered nodes (or “motes”) to be completely autonomous and to run for many months or years without maintenance.

Depending on the duty cycle, types of sensors and the radio used, it is possible for a Waspmote node to run for as long as five years on a single battery. The advanced Waspmote “mote” for wireless sensor networks is at the centre of Libelium’s complete ecosystem for Internet-connected wireless sensor networks and Internet-of-Things applications.

Waspmote allows for highly flexible implementation of wireless sensor networks – the connection of almost any type of sensor you can think of to any cloud platform, using many different common wireless networking technologies. Using the waspmote platform is a great way to implement Internet-connected sensor networks for Internet-of-Things and wireless sensor network applications, with a huge range of supported sensor types as well as a range of different options for network and Internet connectivity.

There are many different options for wireless connectivity in a Waspmote system, including 3G, GPRS, 802.15.4/6LoWPAN, 802.11 WiFi and Bluetooth. A combination of multiple different radio interfaces can be chosen if desired. Both 2.4 GHz and 800 MHz ISM 802.15.4/6LoWPAN radio hardware is available for use with Waspmote. With the right choice of radio hardware, radio link distances of up to 12 kilometres are possible.

Waspmote’s hardware architecture has been specifically designed to enable extremely low power consumption. Power to any of the sensor interfaces can be turned on and off under software control, as well as power to the radio transceivers.

Three different sleep modes make Waspmote one of the most power efficient wireless sensor network platforms on the market, with a current consumption claimed as just 70 nanoamps in hibernate mode. There are more than 60 different sensors available to connect to Waspmote – soil moisture, GPS, temperature, humidity, vehicle detection, light, PIR and radiation sensors to name just a few.

The platform also supports over-the-air programming (OTAP), allowing firmware development and update across a network of wireless sensor nodes without the need for physical access to the hardware. It is possible to choose unicast, multicast or broadcast delivery of new firmware updates across the wireless network, controlling which nodes receive the update.

The huge range of different Waspmote sensors available enables a huge spectrum of different application possibilities in industrial monitoring and automation, smart cities, environmental sensing, agriculture and home automation. In a typical network of Waspmote sensors, a number of end nodes are equipped with 802.15.4/6LoWPAN hardware, appropriate sensors for the desired application, and power supplied from a battery or other sources such as solar power.

These nodes send their sensor data over the 802.15.4 mesh network back to the gateway node, which is equipped with an Ethernet interface as well as an 802.15.4 radio. The (IPv4) Ethernet gateway changes the 6LoWPAN IP header to IPv4 while keeping the UDP transport layer, and it sends the data to the IPv4/IPv6 tunnelling machine which changes the header to the proper IPv6 format and sends the information (now using IPv6) to servers on the Internet, and from there to services, and ultimately users, who use the collated sensor data.

The Meshlium gateway reads the sensor frames coming in from the nodes and stores them locally, sending them out to external cloud services on the Internet. The frames coming in from Waspmote nodes are received over the 802.15.4 mesh network and sent out to the Internet via the Ethernet, WiFi or 3G interfaces, if present.

Data is sent from the Internet-connected gateway out to a cloud server on the Internet via HTTPS and/or SSH for security, and the Waspmote ecosystem is compatible with any cloud platform you like.

Libelium Waspmote

Notably, there is no lock-in or closed compatibility with any one particular web service, unlike with some alternative products on the market targeted at Internet-connected embedded applications. You can choose your servers, and choose your cloud software platform.

As well as being based around open hardware, the Waspmote IDE is distributed under an open source license. The Waspmote platform provides professional-grade wireless sensor network infrastructure combined with a strong commitment by Libelium to the philosophy of open-source technology.

Waspmote supports encryption libraries, ensuring the authenticity, security and integrity of the information collected from the wireless sensor network. Different encryption algorithms such as AES-256 and RSA-1024 are implemented.

As well as offering cryptology and security, strong mesh-network scalability, support for 802.15.4/6LoWPAN, support for an open, flexible choice of web services and cloud server infrastructure, the Waspmote platform offers easy and fast deployment, over-the-air programming for easy firmware maintenance and an intuitive graphical programming interface.

The highly power-efficient Waspmote hardware platform also lends itself to flexible power solutions, such as battery power, remote power from solar PV, or potentially other types of energy-harvesting power supplies – as well as use in almost any contemporary application.

Waspmote offers an open, approachable and easy-to-implement platform, which we can integrate with your needs to form a solution in a short time frame and your required budget. Getting started is easy, join us for a confidential discussion about your ideas and how we can help bring them to life – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design. https://lx-group.com.au

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Muhammad AwaisWaspmote from Libelium – an open and versatile IoT platform

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