During Cisco Live 2024 edition, Axians Italia presented the integration of its Xsona IoT platform with a Cisco LoRaWAN network server running as an IOx application on a Cisco device. Axians’ experts, who are behind this innovative and agile solution, introduced the setup of an all-in-one LoRaWAN network, using a Cisco IR1101 as the gateway.

Xsona LoRaWAN in a box is an innovative solution based on the integration of the Xsona IoT platform developed by Axians Italy with a LoRaWAN network server that runs inside a Cisco IR1101. This solution is unique and innovative, as it offers functionality that no other device does. Currently, to set up a LoRaWAN network using a Cisco device, one needs to rely on a commercial network server deployed either in the cloud or on the customer’s premises. Typically, one would have to purchase a LoRa gateway, a LoRaWAN network server, deploy it on the cloud or on-site, and select an IoT platform.

LoRaWAN in a Box is a convenient solution for customers with a few devices or those testing LoRaWAN networks in both small and large spaces. The box consists of Cisco devices equipped with a LoRaWAN PIM (Pluggable Interface Module), a Common Packet Forwarder developed by Cisco, and a LoRaWAN network server developed by Axians Italia that runs on the same hardware. It offers a self-contained and cost-effective solution, eliminating the need for oversized infrastructure.

“While an IoT platform is still necessary in this case, Xsona LoRaWAN in a box eliminates the need to buy a commercial LoRaWAN network server or to invest in cloud resources, as everything is included in the box itself. I believe that every IoT system should possess four key capabilities: connectivity, security, data processing, and scalability. In terms of connectivity, LoRaWAN in a Box accommodates various types, including wired, wireless, LTE, or 5G. This flexibility allows customers to choose the connectivity option that best suits their needs”, explains Alessandro Veneziano, Software architect and engineer who is behind this solution.


Different deployment scenarios for Xsona IoT Platform

The different deployment scenarios for the Xsona (pronounced “Persona”) IoT Platform depend on the use of Xsona LoRaWAN in a Box. The box is simply a router. In the distributed deployment scenario, both the Xsona IoT platform and the LoRaWAN network server are positioned either in the cloud or on the customer’s premises, adhering to a traditional setup with an external gateway.

With Xsona LoRaWAN in a box, both the LoRaWAN gateway and LoRaWAN network server are on the same device, within the same box. The fact that this technology is in a box also means that it is transportable and allows for the deployment of a LoRaWAN Network in a simple manner, considering that the device can operate in extreme conditions.

Alessandro Veneziano explains that the box (Cisco IR1101) is an industrial-grade router designed to operate in challenging environments: “The box can withstand dust, vibration, and water. It is heavy and belongs to a specific family of devices, known for their industrial resilience, surpassing other types of Cisco devices in terms of robustness”.

But how is data collected?

Let’s consider the example of Xsona LoRaWAN in a Box installed on a farm: the box could cover a range of five to ten kilometers, connecting directly to a small data center located on the farm using a wired connection. Thanks to sensors installed all over the land, the farmer will be able to track the state of humidity, irrigation cycles, water consumption, detect leaks, and consult other environmental parameters.

Despite the distinction between collecting and organizing data, Xsona LoRaWAN in a box seamlessly integrates both processes. Alessandro Veneziano elaborates on the system’s capabilities, stating, “The system efficiently organizes data, allowing for troubleshooting by inspecting received data and discerning its contents within the packet. The codec feature inside the Xsona LoRaWAN Network Server enables the utilization of the live framing feature, providing a human-readable format for observed data after decoding.”

By centralizing activity, Xsona LoRaWAN in a box reduces the consumption of electricity, opting for a more sustainable solution but also a cheaper one for customers. Furthermore, there is a reduction in maintenance costs; if the box is lost or broken, the simple solution is to purchase a new one, ensuring that all data remains safe and secure on the external application.