Free Communication: Beyond Free Hardware and Free Software

As you already know Free software available Open source software that provides a set of freedoms too. Later, this trend spread to hardware. with free hardware included There are many open hardware designs where all the details can be known. But did you know that this also reaches communications for IoT? Yes, there is such a thing as free communication.

We will adhere to these in another article. So that you can get to know them closely and how you can use them. Free and open telecommunications channels for everyone..


Introduction: Role model

he free softwareIt is known for its non-proprietary and royalty-free nature, originating as a response to software privatization in the 1980s. Notable examples include OpenOffice, Mozilla Firefox, and the Linux kernel itself, which may be the software used. most widely It influences the expansion of this type of software. Its distinctive feature is that the code is public. It allows anyone with sufficient knowledge to modify the software according to their needs. This method is also known as open source or “free source,” although free software is not the same as open source software. Although they are generally used as synonyms and there is no difference. But the difference is that free focuses on ethics. While open source is only practical.

Later, the idea of free hardwareIt is an example from projects such as Arduino, where the user can access the device’s plans and code. It promotes a “do it yourself” or DIY (do it yourself) approach. Both concepts are based on the sharing of knowledge and progress for the development of technology and society. Recently, the need for a new dimension in this area has been recognized: communication. free Which is what we will discuss in this article…

What is free communication?

As you know, the world of telecommunications is full of closed communicationThat is a proprietary technology or communication system that you have to pay for using. We have well-known examples of this type of communication in the services we use every day, such as LTE wireless data connections such as 4G or 5GH today, or voice calls from companies such as Movistar, Vodafone, Orange, etc. over fiber. ADSL or WiMAX optics that we have in our homes and offices to connect to the internet, for example.

All of this is technology that requires expensive infrastructure. And companies “rent” you by paying a monthly fee for this. To be able to use their communication channels, in turn, we have a communication system against these communication systems. free communicationThat is something you can use for free without having to pay to use it. Of course, these systems require infrastructure to function. But they are generally not as expensive as previous systems. And it is the people in the community who are responsible for assembling the antennas, wires, and other equipment needed to do the job. This is a completely altruistic way. In this way, they expand the coverage of these networks at the local, regional, and local levels. may reach national networks and even European level roaming in some cases.

That way, we won’t have free telecom operators. But we will be our own teleoperator to be able to use this communication network completely free. You only have to pay for it. Necessary equipment To create these connections, such as antennas, receivers, and transmitters, etc., once the initial investment has been made. You will be able to use as many communications as you want without paying any fees or subscriptions. Subscriptions etc. are all free. with no one controlling its use You will give it away without any restrictions. Beyond the physical limits of the network

TTN (Things Network)

Although there are many other projects, the so-called free communication project is one of the most promising. TTN (Things Network)It is a network system that uses the well-known LORA connection. We have talked about this type of wireless connection in another article. And the truth is that it is quite interesting. Although there are technical limitations.

In this case, by using the LORA infrastructure and the TTN operator, we can achieve free communication. There is no cost. And it’s completely free for many applications and many projects. And all of this has protection that can spread throughout EuropeThis is very interesting for international projects. If you want, you can use this map from the official TTN website to check if the network has coverage in your area. Or you can check our coverage here. As you can see In Spain there is good coverage. This is especially true in areas such as Madrid and surrounding areas. Barcelona and surrounding area Malaga and surrounding areas, etc.

Other examples One of the free communication networks could be SigFox, which, similar to LoRa, is a low-power wide area network, or LPWAN, that allows communication between low-power or battery-operated IoT devices. If you want to use You just need the hardware. And there are no fees to pay. Something similar happens with Bluetooth, although in this case it’s a short-range wireless connection. But it was only a few meters away. We also have ZigBee for home automation or personal area networks (PAN), which operate in an unlicensed and free frequency band for home and industrial applications. Z-Wave is another example similar to ZigBee. It focuses on home and unlicensed frequencies. WiFi is also an open standard. Although you have to pay for internet connection. But you do not need to pay for WiFi communication between nearby devices within the coverage range. Another case is NB-IoT or Narrowband IoT, that is, infrastructure that uses mobile networks and uses specific frequencies of low-power, long-range connections for the Internet of Things…

This network began to be established there. by 2015, with the first nodes and antennas installed in Amsterdam.Young people use their imagination to create a free, open, decentralized, and free communications network in just a few weeks. They have more than a dozen antennas. and gradually grew until it covered all Dutch cities. and later expanded beyond this city and across the border as well The initial idea was to use it for geo-locating the city’s many bike and boat rentals. Although later it was used for many other applications such as measuring water consumption, temperature, lighting, IoT, etc.

As mentioned above, TTN uses the technology of LORA wireless connectionwhich provides a wide range of protection Each antenna in this network works as a Gateway and can reach up to 15 km, covering a large area with just a few antennas. Of course the LORA network is not fiber or 5G, I mean it has limited bandwidth. Therefore, it may not work for some applications such as streaming, uploading, or downloading large amounts of data, etc. It is designed to be used very rarely. and for simpler data exchange, such as messages or commands.

LoRa (remote) connectivity is a wireless technology designed to provide long-range, low-power communications for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. LoRa uses unlicensed spectrum. Makes it possible to use all over the world. Notable specs include a transmission range of several kilometers in urban environments. and reach hundreds of kilometers in rural areas. All this while maintaining power efficiency, which helps ensure long battery life in IoT devices. Additionally, LoRa facilitates the connectivity of many devices. This makes it suitable for large-scale deployment in applications such as smart city management. remote farming and distributed asset verification

Later it expanded to other cities. and used in areas of Belgium and the Netherlands It covers almost 100% of the inhabited territory. It was quite successful and from here it will start to spread to other countries. by other volunteers Many more people are starting to install theirs. own gateway or antennaIn 2018, coverage began to be seen in Spain. Mainly in Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Zaragoza, Malaga, Granada, etc. The areas have gradually grown to cover almost all of Europe.

But a network does not only consist of receiving and transmitting antennas. But you still need a server. which is also a technology base that provides services That’s where it comes into the picture. TTN builds the entire backend. It is necessary for this network to support all gateways spread across the world. Thank you for this server. You can send and receive messages. Manage integrations with other platforms

Thanks to all this, there is today. Lots of projects that take advantage of the excellent coverage and low power consumption that LORA provides. For example, we have remote sensors that report measurements over long distances, all sorts of IoT projects to automate. Livestock monitoring via GPS signals, car location and much more. And you can create your own projects as a creator because TTN and LORA are specially designed for DIY, so your imagination is the limit. … And all this for free. While using other payment networks will be expensive for use in industry, agriculture, livestock, housing projects, etc.

More information about TTN and purchasing the necessary equipment.

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