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Thread-optimized IoT gateway adds Ubuntu Core support

Mar 2, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1090 views

Rigado announced that its i.MX6 UL based Vesta IoT Gateway, which offer Ethernet, WiFi, BT, Thread, and optional LTE, LoRa, and PoE, will soon be available with Ubuntu Core and Canonical’s IoT app store.

Starting this summer, Portland, Oregon-based Rigado will offer its Edge Connectivity gateway solutions with Canonical’s IoT-focused, transactional Ubuntu Core distribution. Rigado is referring to its low-cost, Yocto Project powered Vesta IoT Gateway, which launched in Dec. 2016 without the Vesta name. The new Ubuntu Core support will enable “sophisticated control, monitoring and tracking applications,” as well as “connected guest experiences,” says Canonical in its version of the announcement.



Rigado Vesta IoT Gateway with (left) and without enclosure
(click images to enlarge)

The Vesta gateway primarily targets the retail and hospitality industries, but can also be used in smart buildings and other environments that require smart lighting, asset tracking, connected sensors, and monitoring. The gateway is built around a 528MHz, Cortex-A7 based NXP i.MX6 UL SoC, and offers configurable wireless options including 802.15.4 (Thread, ZigBee, etc.), Bluetooth 5.0 with BLE, WiFi, LTE, and LoRa.

It’s unclear if Ubuntu Core will replace the current Yocto Project based Linux stack or simply be available as an alternative. In either case, it appears that Ubuntu Core’s unique approach to IoT and asset management will be integrated with the Rigado software.

The current Rigado stack integrates a suite of IoT management software including asset management, DeviceOps security, and hooks to cloud services. A Node-RED development environment is preloaded, and the platform supports Node.js, Python, Java, and other compiled development tools. It also supports the AllJoyn and Iotivity IoT frameworks, as well as Wirepas Mesh mesh networking software.

Regado will provide access to Canonical’s IoT app store, which offers easy access to Ubuntu Core’s lightweight, remotely updated “snap” applications. As part of this integration, Rigado announced new support for C programming. This will enable customers to “curate a customised suite of IoT applications for their customers,” says Canonical. “System integrators and IoT solution providers can create their own private app stores for industry specific solutions.”

Ubuntu Core (previously “Snappy”) is a minimalist, transactional version of Ubuntu designed for managed IoT devices. The distribution supports Canonical’s highly secure, remotely upgradeable snap app packages, which are “ideal for fast IoT deployments plus the ability to have multiple applications running on a single gateway,” says Canonical.



Vesta IoT Gateway rear views showing (l to r): Ethernet port, reset button, USB port, and 5V jack
(click image to enlarge)

Ubuntu Core and the snap architecture will be integrated with Rigado’s DeviceOps security system, as well as the Vesta gateway’s secure boot function and encrypted file systems. “Each instance of Ubuntu Core on a Rigado gateway is fully supported by the Canonical security and update service with updates and software installations managed through Rigado,” says Canonical.

The 127 x 127 x 30mm Vesta IoT Gateway, which is available in an enclosure or as a board-only product, is a similar, but slightly advanced version of the original product we covered in 2016. The gateway is equipped with a microSD slot, and supports up to 512MB RAM, 64MB NOR flash, and 8GB eMMC. A 10/100 Ethernet port, USB host port, 5V DC jack, LEDs, and user and reset buttons are also available.



R41Z Thread/BLE module (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Like the original, the base Vesta-100 (128MB RAM) configuration provides a choice of Rigado’s two Bluetooth equipped wireless modules: a Nordic nRF52832-based BMD-300 module with Bluetooth BLE 5.0 or an R41Z module that combines BLE 4.2 with a Thread optimized 802.15.4 radio. Rigado has added a 256MB Vesta-200 model with the same wireless options that also adds dual-mode WiFi and a wall-mount AC adapter. The top-of-the-line Vesta-300 provides all the features of the Vesta-200, and adds 32MB NOR flash, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), and an expansion header.


Vesta IoT Gateway models
(click image to enlarge)

Additional options include LoRa and LTE modules, standard or IP67 rated enclosures, and various antennas, adapters, and brackets. Custom branding and enclosures are also available. The Vesta supports 0 to 60°C temperatures.

“The combination of Ubuntu Core with Rigado’s IoT Gateways creates an open architecture for large-scale edge connectivity and computing,” stated Tom Canning, Tom Canning, VP of Devices and IoT at Canonical.

 
Further information

Rigado’s Vesta IoT Gateways will be available with Ubuntu Core by summer 2018. Unit pricing starts as low as $99. More information may be found at Rigado’s Ubuntu Core announcement and the Vesta IoT Gateway product page.

 

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