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Sitara-based LoRa gateway launches with serial-to-LoRa adapter node

Oct 13, 2021 — by Eric Brown 280 views

Embux’s “ELA-MG” LoRa gateway runs Linux on TI’s AM335x and offers a Semtech SX1272 LoRa module with -137dBm sensitivity plus GbE, USB, RS232, and RS485 ports. There is also an NB-IoT model and an “ELA-MA” serial-to-LoRa adapter for endpoints.

Nexcom announced a LoRa wireless gateway from its Embux subsidiary, which has previously manufactured products such as its i.MX6-based 3.5-inch EBC3A1-1G Y0 SBC. Like the SBC, the new ELA-MG gateway runs Linux on the aging Cortex-A8 architecture, this time in the form of a Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x SoC.

The ELA-MG incorporates Semtech’s SX1272 LoRa transceiver, which enables the gateway to transmit over 862 ~ 932MHz frequencies with up to 20dBm output power at rates of up to 18.2Kbps. Transmissions can achieve up to a 2 Km range, according to most citations, although the specs also say 2-5 Km.

ELA-MG (left) and ELA-MA
(click images to enlarge)

Embux claims the gateway can achieve 90 percent successful transmission rate when paired with Embux’s optional ELA-MA serial-to-LoRa adapter, which is used for LoRa endpoints. The Cortex-M0 powered ELA-MA adapter, which is similarly equipped with an SX1272 transceiver, is used to convert serial-connected sensor data into LoRa packets. Like the ELA-MG, the ELA-MA can transmit at up to 255 Bytes per packet and offers -137 dBm receiving sensitivity, 2Km range, AES encryption, and a broadcast mode with no pairing required.


The ELA-MG is touted for its fast LoRa response time. No details were listed except that Embux says there is “no need to wait 50-150 seconds.” (Does that mean you must wait 49 seconds?) Embux also promotes its support for Modbus TCP to RTU conversion.

Embux offers an unnamed variant of the ELA-MG equipped with an NB-IoT radio. It is unclear if this replaces the LoRa capability or is an additional option.

NB-IoT is a 180kHz to 200kHz wireless protocol that has much in common with CAT1 and the open protocol LoRaWAN, but instead uses a licensed protocol from 3GPP that is only available through established mobile network operators. There are no details on the NB-IoT model except that it features the MQTT protocol for cloud connections.

The 135 x 96 x 43mm ELA-MG gateway is equipped with 512MB DDR3, 256MB NAND flash, and USB, GbE, RS232 (DB9), and RS485 (terminal block) ports. You also get single DI and DO terminal blocks. The system has a 9-48VDC terminal block input and consumes a maximum of 12W at 12V. The operating range is -10 to 70℃

The Linux stack includes an HTML web control interface and a CGI control interface. There is also a web-based remote firmware image upgrade capability. Other LoRa gateways include ICP Germany’s Node-RED enabled UG65 and Innovelec’s Raspberry Pi CM3+ based Dingo LoRaWAN BACnet, among others.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the ELA-MG gateway or ELA-MA endpoint node. More information may be found in Nexcom’s announcement and Embux’s ELA-MG and ELA-MA product pages.

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