A low power wireless sensor network based on LoRaWAN protocol was designed with a focus on the IoT low-cost Precision Agriculture applications, such as greenhouse sensing and actuation. All subsystems used in this research are designed by using commercial components and free or open-source software libraries. The whole system was implemented to demonstrate the feasibility of a modular system built with cheap off-the-shelf components, including sensors. The experimental outputs were collected and stored in a database managed by a virtual machine running in a cloud service. The collected data can be visualized in real time by the user with a graphical interface. The reliability of the whole system was proven during a continued experiment with two natural soils, Loamy Sand and Silty Loam. Regarding soil parameters, the system performance has been compared with that of a reference sensor from Sentek. Measurements highlighted a good agreement for the temperature within the supposed accuracy of the adopted sensors and a non-constant sensitivity for the low-cost volumetric water contents (VWC) sensor. Finally, for the low-cost VWC sensor we implemented a novel procedure to optimize the parameters of the non-linear fitting equation correlating its analog voltage output with the reference VWC.
Keywords: IoT measurements; LoRa; LoRaWAN™; Precision Agriculture; distributed sensing; moisture sensor; sensor networks; soil water content; wireless communication.