LoRaWAN Field Tester User Guide

The LoRaWAN Field Tester is a tool for measuring, analyzing and mapping LoRaWAN coverage and reception strength in the field. This 10 minute guide will give you step-by-step instructions on how you can work with the app to create tests, collect data, and analyze your results.

Step 1 – Get Registered

In order to use the LoRaWAN Field Tester, you need to register an account first.

LFT Registration Page

 

On this page, enter you first and last name, your email address, and your country and select a secure password to use for logging into the app later on.

After registration you will be forwarded to the home screen of the app. In addition you will receive a welcome email.

Bonus: Click on the link in the email and join our slack.

Step 2 – Create a New Field Test

The home screen of the app lists all of your tests. As you did not create a test, yet, this table is empty.

Before you can start creating a test, however, you need to check that a number of requisites are fulfilled:

  1. You will need a LoRaWAN-capable device in order to receive data.
  2. You will need an account on The Things Network (TTN, https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/).
  3. If you want to be able to see the values of your receptions on a map your device needs to have a GPS receiver, and you will need to be able to decode the payloads that your device sends.
  4. Your device is connected to TTN and you confirmed that you receive data on the Device Payload screen in the TTN console.

To create your first test, click on the button labeled “Create Test” at the top right of the home page.

LFT List of Tests

 

This opens a wizard which will guide you through the necessary steps for creating a new test.

Enter Test Details

On the first page of the wizard, enter a name and optionally a description for the test.

LFT First Field Test

 

Select and Configure a Data Provider

Currently, only The Things Network is supported as a data provider for the field tester. Therefore, click on the TTN logo to select this provider.

The page now asks for an Application ID and an Application Access Token:

LFT LoRaWAN Data Provider

 

To get this data from TTN, open the Application screen in the TTN console (https://console.thethingsnetwork.org/applications) and copy the field Application ID from the section Application Overview into the field Application ID in wizard of the LoRaWAN Field Tester.

LFT TTN App ID

 

Then copy an access key of your choice from the section Access Keys in the TTN console to the field Application Access Token in the field tester’s wizard.

LFT TTN Access Key

 

Once you press Next, the provided Application ID and Application Access Token will be validated against the TTN server. If the application does not exists or the token is invalid, both fields will be underlined in red. If the provided information is valid, the wizard will move on to the next page.

Select Device and Payload Decoder

The last step in creating a field test is to select a device. This list of devices is provided by The Things Network. You should also selecting an appropriate decoder.

LFT LoRaWAN Device and Decoder

 

A decoder for the Adeunis Field Tester Device is already built-in, but you can just as easily provide your own javascript decoder via TTN’s Payload Decoder feature.
The LoRaWAN Field Tester will look for the fields ‘latitude’ and ‘longitude’ in the decoded payload. Both fields are expected to be numbers and all other fields will be ignored. For example,

{ ‘latitude’:48.934609, ‘longitude’:8.438880 }

is a valid payload containing the coordinates of the SmartMakers headquarters.
Select the option N/A to use the TTN decoder and click on “Create Test” to create the test.

You will be redirected back to the home screen, which now contains a table of tests including your newly created test:

LFT First Test

 

Click on the test you just created to see more information about it:

LFT LoRaWAN Test Details

 

When you come back to this test later on, the screen will also contain a preview of the last 100 received uplinks, as well as a map showing the coordinates encoded in the uplinks’ payloads. If you have already collected data, you can click the button Show All Results to directly analyze this data.

Step 3 – Collect Data

A newly created field test will not run automatically, but has to be started manually. It can then be stopped and restarted any number of times. This makes it easy to take a break, e.g. for lunch, and not have any messages mess up your test results.

Starting a test

To start a test, click on its list entry on your home screen and then click the “Start Test” button in the top right corner. A new screen will be shown with a table of received uplinks:

LFT How to start a LoRaWAN Coverage Test

 

Initially, the table is empty, but while the test is running, all uplinks sent by the test device will appear at the top of this screen as soon as they have been received by the server. If you have run this test before, the table will not be empty, but the last 20 messages will be shown instead.

If you have decoded the GPS data from your device, you can also show the device’s position when sending an uplink on a map. For this, click on the Map tab at the bottom of the screen. This will hide the Uplinks table and show a map instead. Note that on this map, older receptions will fade away over time as new receptions arrive.

LFT Map Display

 

Structur test data with tags

Adding a tag is as simple as writing it and pressing “Add Tag” at the top of your Uplinks table.

At any time during a ongoing test you can add tags to it. Once a Tag is created

  1. it will mark the time you created it and
  2. it will be attached to any dataset that is received afterwards.

As soon as you create a new tag, the old one will not be used any more.

Tags can be used for any metadata that will support you during the analysis of your data. It could consist of information about the location (e.g. floor of a building), weather information (e.g. a rainstorm that suddenly came up) or if you modified or moved your LoRaWAN device.

Tips and Tricks

When you want to measure your reception strength at a particular spot, you should set a tag to mark the beginning of your measuring sequence. Then place your test device as close to the spot as possible. After the device has sent out a sufficient number of uplinks, pick up the device and set another tag to mark the end of the test. You can later on use these tags to filter for the uplinks received at this particular spot and e.g. calculate an average reception strength. As uplinks can be filtered by the last created tag, it is always good practice to create a tag at the very start of a test, so that these receptions match a tag filter, too.

Stop the test

Press the button Stop Test at the top-right of the screen to stop the test. All uplinks sent by the test device after this point of time will not be added to the test. You can restart the test at any point of time later on.

ATTENTION: There is no such thing as autostop for a test. If you do not stop your test by yourself it will run until the meltdown of the internet – including the internet of things 😉

Step 4 – Analyze the Results

Now that you finished collecting  your data, it is time to analyze the collected data. If your test is still running click Stop Test at the top-right of your screen. If you already stopped your test, click Show All Results on the table of uplinks instead.

LFT List of uplinks

 

This screen shows the average, best, and worst RSSI values received during your test as well as the total number of uplinks received. Note, that missed uplinks due to packet loss are not counted into this total.

The Uplinks table allows closer inspection of the individual uplinks, including details such as the RSSI and precise gateway time for each gateway that received an uplink. Note, that the gateway reception time is provided by the gateway and uses the time as set on the gateway. If the gateway’s clock is not synchronized with the server’s clock these time’s might not make any much sense.

Working with tags

At the center of the tool bar at the top of the screen you can find a tag filter, which can be used to filter uplinks by tag. The table will then only show those uplinks which were received after the selected tag was created and before the next tag was created. Note, that this filter affects both the statistics as well as the Uplinks table.

Working with pages

Because the number of uplinks received during a single test can be quite large, the table is split up into pages and only shows a subset of the uplinks on a single page. Select the Button < and > to navigate the pages. You can also select how many items to show on each page in the drop-down box on the bottom right. In contrast to the tag filter, pagination does not have an effect on the statistics.

Working with the map

Like the screen for running tests, the results screen provides a map with the uplinks’ positions. Note that the set of uplinks shown on the map matches the set of uplinks shown in the table. This means the map takes into account the tag filter as well as the table’s pagination.

LFT Map Display

 

Step 5 – Celebrate

Congratulations, you successfully completed your first field test!

You learned

  • to create a field test,
  • to collect data,
  • and to analyze your results.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us at https://lorawantester.com/support/.

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