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Installing Silvanet Mesh Gateways

The Silvanet Mesh Gateway acts as a range extender to allow widespread deployments of Silvanet Sensors. Consequently, it can be attached to a tree or to a self-standing pole. It is equipped with an LoRaWAN antenna to communicate with the Silvanet sensors and gateways.

Guidelines

The device has a large built-in solar panel to provide for the Mesh Gateway's increase power requirements. However, the solar panel needs an unobstructed area to obtain sufficient sunlight to charge the device.

The Mesh Gateway needs to be oriented towards the direction of the sun (where it would be at 12:00 noon). Use a compass to identify true South (in the northern hemisphere) or true North (in the southern hemisphere). This maximizes the amount of light that hits the solar panel.

If possible, install the Mesh Gateway at least 3 meters above the forest floor, depending on available sunlight in the location. At this height, the device has less interference from human or animal interactions.

Deploying on a Tree

Use the treenail to install the Mesh Gateway to a tree. The Silvanet Mesh Gateway has two loops at the top and two at the bottom for the treenails.

To deploy the Mesh Gateway on a tree:

  1. Lean the ladder safely against the tree, making sure it is stable and cannot fall while climbing the ladder. Have a helper hold the ladder.

  2. Locate the correct height (about 3m above floor level) on the tree and a southerly direction (where the sun would be at 12:00 noon) where to install the Mesh Gateway.

  3. Remove any branches that might interfere with maximum sunlight irradiation.

  4. Carefully removing a small portion of the bark with an axe where the two holes in the tree will be drilled.

    Mesh Gateway remove bark

    Remove small area of bark at the install location
  5. Drill the top holes using the 10mm drill bit approximately 6–7 cm into the tree. The distance between the holes must be 70 mm.

    Drill two holes spaced 7cm apart

    Drill two holes space 7cm apart

    Note

    If you plan on drilling the bottom holes before attaching the Mesh Gateway to the tree, the bottom holes should also be 7 cm apart and 70 mm below the top holes.

    Tip

    When drilling into a hardwood tree, start with a smaller drill bit then drill to the final size with the 10mm drill bit. Also, ensure you are using a drill bit for wood, not for steel or concrete.

  6. Hammer the treenails through the top loops of the Mesh Gateway into the drilled holes. Be careful not to damage the device while doing so. You may need a second worker to support the Mesh Gateway while hammering the treenails into the tree.

  7. With the Mesh Gateway deployed to the tree at the top, drill through the bottom loops of the device approximately 6-7 cm into the tree. Do not damage the Mesh Gateway while drilling through the loops.

    Drill the bottom two holes

    Drill the bottom two holes
  8. Carefully hammer the treenails through the bottom loops into the holes so as not to damage the device.

    Drill the bottom two holes

    Drill the bottom two holes
  9. If not done already, attach the LoRaWAN antenna to the Mesh Gateway.

    Attach antenna

    Attach antenna
  10. To maximize the radio connection of the Mesh Gateway, the antenna should have at least a finger-width distance from the trunk. Pull the Gateway as far as possible away from the trunk until the loops make contact with the square ends of the tree nails.

    Distance away from tree

    Distance away from tree
  11. Check to ensure the Mesh Gateway is securely connected to the tree and does not move.

    Completed deployment

    Completed deployment

Deploying on a Pole

We recommend attaching the Mesh Gateway, if one is available. Use the provided U-clamps to attach the device to the pole. Attaching the Mesh Gateway to a pole with U-clamps securely holds the device and can be tightened accordingly without damaging the device. Also, the device does not interfere with a living tree over the lifetime of the Mesh Gateway.

The maximum diameter of a pole is 60.3 mm. You need a 17 mm wrench to attach the M10-nuts to the U-clamps.

To attach the Mesh Gateway to a pole:

  1. Arrange the U-clamp around the pole and through the predrilled holes of the Mesh Gateway.

    Mesh Gateway arrange U-clamp

    Arrange clamps around pole
  2. Ensure the Gateway is oriented properly (facing the sun at 12:00 noon) with the antenna connector facing upwards. You may need assistance holding the Mesh Gateway while doing this.

    Note

    To maximize the radio contact when deploying the Mesh Gateway on to a pole, ensure the top of the device is at the top of the pole so the antenna reaches above the Pole.

    Mesh Gateway top of pole

    Mesh Gateway antenna is above top of pole
  3. Hand-tighten the nuts on the U-clamp, then use the 17mm wrench to tighten the nuts without excessive force to prevent damage to the Border Gateway.

  4. Continue with the bottom of the Mesh Gateway as done with the top loops.

  5. Attach the LoRaWAN antenna to the Mesh Gateway

    Mesh Gateway deployed on pole

    Mesh Gateway deployed on pole
  6. Check to make sure the Mesh Gateway is securely connected to the pole and cannot move.

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