WisGate Connect: Why Did We Do It?

The WisGate Connect is a modular IoT platform for multi-radio access networks and IIoT protocols powered by a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. It offers the advantages of the flexible and rich Raspberry Pi ecosystem with the reliability of an industrial degree product.

In this post I will try to summarize the reasons behind the WisGate Connect.

Compute Module 4

The Raspberry Pi is a great product. It has changed the way people approach computers and beyond that. It is a server, a NAS, a firewall, a prototyping platform and many other things. Over the years the Raspberry Pi has evolved and now you can have a quad core with 8Gb of RAM in a small and inexpensive package that’s so easy to use yet so powerful.

RAKwireless has been doing Raspberry Pi based gateways for a few years now. We have sold more LoRaWAN gateways and Hotspots based on the Pi than anyone in the world. Still, it has some limitations:

  • OS running on the SD card
  • limited working temperature range
  • USB not available on the header
  • PCIe lanes not available anywhere

So, when using it as a host for something slightly more complex than a LoRaWAN gateway you can easily end up designing your own carrier and using USB cables to connect to other peripherals.

Back in 2020, 44% of all Raspberry Pis were sold to industrial customers. The Compute Module 4 is the necessary step to support that market providing a solution that addresses the issues above.

And that’s why we chose CM4 as the core of our new gateway platform.

Multi Radio Access Networks

Supporting different radio stations will quickly become a requirement. It’s not only about the evolution of the existing modulations like LoRa or WiFi, not even about new protocols on the horizon like 5G and all its flavors or Matter. It’s also about “old” protocols still in use in many sectors, like Zigbee for instance.

Dual band LoRaWAN gateway (subGHz and 2.4GHz) with PoE support
Dual band LoRaWAN gateway (subGHz and 2.4GHz) with PoE support

The WisGate Connect wants to be more than a LoRaWAN gateway. It is designed to be a multi radio gateway.

We have been working on putting together examples for many of these radio protocols already: LoRaWAN subGHz, LoRaWAN 2.4GHz, WiFi HaLow, WiFi 6 and 6e client and access point, Zigbee, 4G… And we are working right now in supporting 5G client mode as well as 5G access gateway.

Industrial IoT

Wired protocols are still widely used in industry. ModBUS, 4-20mA, DSI… There are a number of solutions for the Raspberry ecosystem and you can use them with the WisGate Connect.

But we wanted to have a more straightforward way to connect your existing sensors to the WisGate Connect and we already had the perfect modular solution for that: WisBlock.

The WisBlock is a modular solution to develop IoT projects based on a series of different cores and a growing number of modules. These modules are sensors, radios and interfaces.

The WisGate Connect has two slots compatible with WisBlock IO modules like RS485/ModBus, CanBus, LinBUS, ADCs… to make things even easier we have been working on putting together examples on how to use these modules from python or Node-RED. You can use these examples as a starting point for your own industrial solution.

And more

Of course, there is more about it: real time clock, a 2.5GbE port, active PoE support, dying gasp functionality… the WisGate Connect Base Kit offers a very interesting balance of features for its price.

The WisGate Connect is our answer to an easy question: what kind of device do you want to develop your next IoT solution on?