MQTT Gateway Network On Demand

  • I'm looking into solar powering the ESP8266 MQTT gateway. The whole network will consist of sensors only, so no data needs to be sent back to the nodes. To reduce the power consumption of the GW, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to keep the WiFi radio off whenever it is not being used. Could only power it up when we actually need to publish to the broker.

    Does that sound feasible or is there any reason this would not work or would not be a good idea?

  • Mod

    Are you sure your nodes can't reach the gateway where it can get mains power?

  • I'm thinking of a remote beeyard setup. No mains power for couple miles in any direction. I can run individual Arduino Pro mini nodes off solar power + single 18650 cells indefinitely without much issue, I've been doing that for over half a year on a test setup.

    However, now I need to get the Gateway to run on Solar and the individual nodes on batteries only. So far, after trying to run the ESP8266 on a single 2300mAh 18650, it would seem the cell would not last more than couple days at best.

    So it's either cut down the power consumption, or upgrade the battery pack to some 4-6 cells, which in turn means upgrading my small 6W solar panel.

  • Mod

    @thucar wouldn't it be pretty simple to use a pro mini with esp8266 as modem and modify your gsm gateway code to turn on and off the esp8266 whenever something is transmitted?

  • That is the second part of the idea 🙂 To make this also work with my other work-in-progress the GSM Gateway. I was just trying to see if there was any valid reason from MySensors side why I should not be toggling the network connection on and off.

  • Mod

    @thucar From a general point of view, MySensors is designed for both sensors and actuators, and as you've already noted actuators would be uncontrollable when the gateway is disconnected from the controller. Since you're not planning to have any actuators, there won't be a problem in your case.

    Maybe some controllers would go mad if they can't reach the gateway (since gateways up til now have been assumed to be always online), but that would be dependent on each controller implementation.

  • Hero Member

    Why not use LoRa? Sounds perfect for this.

  • @neverdie because beeyards are often located nowhere near your own property. You usually negotiate with a land owner if its ok to have your bees on some corner of his land, or in a forest he owns. The actual location of the yard could be as far as 200-300km from your own house. Of course, an option would be to convince the land owner to house your gateway as well, but that adds unnecessary complications to the delicate process of negotiation 🙂

  • @thucar
    And where your wifi gateway is sending data, when there are not any power and AP miles around?
    I do not understood your setup.

  • It's not going to be a WiFi gateway. It will be a GSM Gateway. I used the ESP8266 example as that's familiar to everyone whereas the GSM Gateway might raise more questions.

    As it is now, I'm thinking a gateway that is semi-responsive. Meaning either when it has data to publish, or if a certain time interval has passed, brings up its network connection, connects to the broker, publishes the data it has and reads the messages it has received while the connection was down. If any messages required an ACK, it would get sent at this point.

  • Mod

    I think if you do some calculations with an appropriate sized solar panel you could run the gateway without too many issues, but I still think the esp8266 would be useless since you can still make the nodes talk over radio even with LoRa. It would make sense if you want to use the GSM connection, but in that case you would still go back to the initial solar panel calculation to make it run for long time.

  • did you actually check if there is a LoRa gateway in the neighboorhood? or is you beeyard so remote?
    I would not use esp8266 as the wifi protocol are current-hungry compared to mysensors protocol.

    Isn't there something about that MQTT broker holds the sensor data values until it have delivered those, so if this is true, then you can connect your GSM gateway in specific time intervals and then make it goto sleep again

  • According to map, the closest lora gateway is about 120km from me 🙂

  • Mod

    if you have line of sight to it, you could technically do it.

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