The LoRaWAN infrastructure is not built and provided by a single company, but can be set up by anybody without the need for any licenses. While there are a few companies that started building classical pay-per-message LoRaWAN networks (in Switzerland it’s mostly Swisscom and Loriot), there is also a company/project following a different approach: The network provided by The Things Network is entirely built and maintained by volunteers. Anyone can join it with a gateway and use it for free, no strings attached (as long as the fair use rules are followed). The backend is fully open source. While the backend architecture was initially centralized in the Netherlands, it is currently in the process of being decentralized.
At Coredump, we also wanted to become a part of the community and provide coverage for Rapperswil-Jona with a gateway. We internally crowdfunded the hardware needed to build a DIY multi-channel gateway, consisting of an IMST iC880A-SPI LoRaWAN concentrator board and a Raspberry Pi 3. Total cost including enclosure and PoE kit was around 450 CHF. This (pretty long) blogpost tells the story of how we got there. Continue reading