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Open, Linux-based platform simplifies wireless IoT

May 16, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 1862 views

Sierra Wireless and Element14 unveiled an open-spec Arduino compatible “mangOH Green IoT Platform” based on Sierra’s 3G, GNSS, and WiFi modules running Linux.

Sierra Wireless announced a beta release of its AirPrime WP module and open-source “mangOH” carrier board last June. Now, the company has formally released the products with the help of Element14, which appears to have built the new mangOH Green IoT Platform carrier board.

mangOH Green IoT Platform (left), and in a typical 3U Eurocard enclosure
(click images to enlarge)

The open source mangOH Green IoT Platform platform is designed as an all-in-one hardware, software, and cloud based solution for industrial IoT applications. It’s especially suitable for sensor-driven remote data logging, says Element14. The company is selling the board without the separately available AirPrime WP8548 module for $203. It also offers a Starter Kit with the AirPrime module, a Breakout Board IoT Connector, a power supply, and cables and antennas for $230.

AirPrime WP8548 module

The AirPrime WP8548 computer-on-module runs Sierra’s Yocto Project based Legato Linux on a 550MHz Cortex-A5 core. The 23 x 22mm COM is further equipped with dual 600MHz DSPs and a Qualcomm Gobi baseband chipset.

AirPrime WP module and its socket
(click images to enlarge)

The module ships with 128MB RAM and 256MB flash, and runs on 3.4V to 4.3V power. It supports -40 to 85°C temperatures, although the same claim is apparently not made for the mangOH board. (See our previous AirPrime WP coverage for more details).

A year ago, Sierra Wireless was transitioning from the 3G-ready version of the AirPrime module to the WP8548, which was expected to support 4G LTE in the first quarter of this year. However, the WP8548 module available here ships only with a 3G modem for HSPA, WCDMA, EDGE, and GPRS networks. It also provides built-in GPS/GLONASS GNSS location technology.

mangOH board

The 120 x 100mm mangOH board, which adheres to the Eurocard form factor, includes dual industrial-grade CF3 connectors. These connect either to an AirPrime WP or Sierra’s earlier AirPrime HL modules. The second connector is reserved for future use.

Two views of the mangOH Green IoT Platform
(click images to enlarge)

The board supports other optional wireless modules via the mangOH’s IoT Connector, Sierra’s open standard designed for a variety of wireless and sensor technologies. Wireless options available via the three IoT Connectors include Texas Instruments ZigBee, WiFi, and Bluetooth modules, as well as an NXP Thread module and Linear Technology’s Dust Networks mesh networking modules. The IoT Connectors also support optional wired peripherals, including a general breakout board plus CAN and serial modules.

The mangOH Green is equipped with a 10/100 Ethernet port, USB 2.0 host port, a micro-USB OTG port, and a mini-USB port. The latter is used for interfacing a PC development system to the mangoOH Green’s built-in Atmega32 microcontroller-based Arduino Leonardo compatible subsystem. Standard Arduino shields can be added to the Arduino subsystem by means of a pair of Arduino-compatible headers.

The mangOH is further equipped with an RS232 serial port, an audio jack, a micro-SD slot, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and various LEDs and resets. A battery offers an alternative to micro-USB or DC jack power input.

The mangOH board and its special connectors are all open source, with full specs available, although it’s unlikely that this degree of openness applies to the Sierra Wireless AirPrime module. The mangOH board comes with 3D printing files for building protective face plates.

An optional AirVantage cloud platform handles IoT aggregation via features like:

  • HTTP-based RESTful APIs for integrating IoT data
  • Built in libraries to connect any Arduino shield to the cloud (requires no changes to sketch, just the addition of the AV library)
  • Automatic detection of IoT Connectors to load drivers and applications
  • Big Data storage and analytics with aggregated data APIs for driving trend visualization
  • Operations console with SIM and device management with monitoring dashboards and remote update capabilities for edge applications

The mangOH Green’s Platform’s Sierra Wireless AirPrime WP8548 COM runs Legato Linux, based on Linux LTSI and Yocto Project code. Other available development tools and support include the Platform Legato IDE, the Arduino IDE, and optional Sierra IoT Acceleration Platform and AirVantage cloud platform support.

Other specifications for the full Starter Kit version of the mangOH Green IoT Platform include:

  • Processor (via CF3 connection to AirPrime WP8548 module) — 550MHz Cortex-A5 core; 2x 600MHz DSPs; Qualcomm Gobi 3G baseband chipset; also supports other AirPrime WP and HL modules
  • Memory (via AirPrime WP8548 COM) — 128MB RAM; 256MB flash
  • Memory expansion — micro-SD slot
  • Atmega32 microcontroller-based Arduino Leonardo compatible subsystem, including Arduino shield expansion headers
  • Wireless:
    • 3G (via CFP socket to AirPrime WP8548 COM)
    • GPS/GNSS
    • Second CFP cellular socket for future use
    • 3x SMA/uFL antennas for 3G, GNSS, other wireless
    • Mini-SIM card slot
    • Micro-SIM card slot
    • 3x IoT Connectors for wireless options including:
      • TI WiLink 8 (WiFi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee)
      • Linear Tech Dust Networks
      • NXP Thread
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port with LEDs and cable
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Micro-USB port with cable (power and communications
    • Mini-USB cable for Arduino Leonardo circuitry
    • Peripheral interfaces (UART, SPI, I2C, etc.)
    • RS232 DB-9 console output port with cable
    • Audio jack with cable
    • I/O via 3x IoT Connectors:
      • Breakout Board IoT Connector
      • Optional CAN Bus IoT Connector
      • Optional RS232 IoT Connector
      • Optional RS485 IoT Connector
  • Other features — Accelerometer; gyroscope; CFP module cover and cover removal tool; LEDs; board and Arduino reset switches
  • Power:
    • DC jack and power supply for 10W or higher
    • Supports micro-USB but may need DC for full-speed comm.
    • Li-Ion battery (3V7 nominal); 4.5V to 17V output voltage
  • Dimensions — 120 x 100mm for mangOH; 23 x 22 x 4.35mm for AirPrime module

MangOH Green IoT Platform overview

Further information

The mangOH Green IoT Platform is now available, either in a $203.45 version without the separately available AirPrime WP8548 module, or in a $230.76 Starter Kit version with the AirPrime module, a Breakout Board IoT Connector, a power supply, and cables and antennas. More information may be found at the Element14 mangOH announcement and mangOH product and shopping page, as well as the Sierra Wireless Project mangOH community website. More on the AirPrime WP8548 may be found here.

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