The first generation of LoRaWAN 1.1 capable IC (Integrated Circuit) and MCU (Microcontroller Unit) parts is appearing in Q4 2020, so we are finally able to implement the advanced research features most relevant to higher education.

Design of circuits based on these new chips is in progress and revision controlled in source code management. The relevant milestones include:

% Milestone name
Research of contending designs
First generation hardware engineering
Etching and assembly to test production methods
Early testing against existing SDK (Mbed or PlatformIO)

To serve as a backup choice, symbols and footprints of the Microchip ATSAMR34 were created. After discussions with vendors we chose the STM32WLE5 UHF low power microcontroller, and have a design using it. A number of STM32WLE5CCU parts are in transit and will be used on boards in fabrication.

ATSAMR34 64-pin 8x8 BGA MCU
ATSAMR34 is a SAMR21 and SX1276 different dies in one system in package (SiP.)
STM32WLE5 is a new MCU with RF tranceiver in the same die of a system on chip (SoC.)

To offer researchers a flexible platform of connected sensors as well as support its use in existing devices, the standalone radio device boots and executes commands from a connected USB client. The standalone device connects with a optional daughterboard which may include sensors, actuators, and headers for a number of serially connected hosts (Beagleboard, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, FRDM-K64F, and Microbit.)