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STM development kit aids LoRa prototyping

Steve Rogerson
September 22, 2016



Swiss chip company ST Microelectronics has introduced a low-cost development kit that leverages its STM32 microcontroller ecosystem for prototyping IoT devices with LoRa LPWAN connectivity.
 
Priced at $40, the P-Nucleo-LRWAN1 kit combines the STM32L073 Nucleo microcontroller board with an RF expansion board based on the SX1272 LoRa transceiver from Semtech. The STM32L073 MCU, with its ARM Cortex-M0+ core and proprietary low-power features, provides a host for devices such as utility meters, alarm systems, positioning devices, trackers and remote sensors. Users can further extend functionality by adding extra expansion boards, such as the X-Nucleo-IKS01A1 sensor board for motion, humidity and temperature sensing.
 
LoRa enables long-range communications with several advantages over conventional cellular connections, including lower power and cost. Features include multiple communications modes, accurate indoor and outdoor location awareness, and native AES-128 security.
 
The kit contains everything needed to build bi-directional end devices that comply with LoRaWan version 1.0.1 and support classes A and C protocols. Devices can be activated using over-the-air activation or activation-by-personalisation. An application for LoRaWan certification tests is included in the kit, and the I-Cube-LRWAN LoRaWan stack is available.
 
Access to the STM32 ecosystem provides development resources, including STM32 Cube tools and software packages containing sample code and hardware abstraction layers. These allow porting to any of the almost 700 STM32 MCU variants that cover a range of performance, power, packages and price points. Developers are also free to use familiar IDEs and ARM Mbed online tools.
 
The low purchase price allows a wide variety of engineers including independent designers, universities and hobbyists to have a high-end LoRa development experience.