Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

STM enhances LoRa software with over-the-air updates

Steve Rogerson
November 19, 2019



Swiss chip company ST Microelectronics has enhanced its I-Cube-LRWAN STM32 LoRaWan software expansion package for developers to support the latest firmware update over-the-air (FUOTA) specifications.
 
FUOTA future-proofs LoRa devices by simplifying applying application-layer updates and RF-stack updates to devices in the field, increasing the value of LoRa as a long-range, low-power technology for connecting IoT devices.
 
The LoRa Alliance has published three FUOTA LoRaWan application specifications that together support and standardise FUOTA: application layer clock synchronisation, remote multicast setup, and fragmented data block transport. They are respectively involved in time synchronisation, sending messages to groups of end devices, and data-file splitting.
 
By supporting the full firmware update as described in the current set of LoRa Alliance specifications, I-Cube-LRWAN now enables STM32 developers to create LoRa endpoint devices that support FUOTA for STM32L4 microcontrollers taking benefits from the X-Cube-SBSFU secure boot and secure firmware update technology with open source crypto library.
 
This allows the update of the STM32L4 built-in programme with more firmware versions, adding features and correcting potential issues. The update process is performed in a secure way to prevent unauthorised updates and access to confidential on-device data.
 
The pack includes the LoRaWan stack with hardware abstraction layers and sample application code for STM32L0, STM32L1 and STM32L4 microcontrollers to ease evaluation and kick-start development. A test application for LoRaWan certification tests is also included.
 
The I-Cube-LRWAN software can be used with LPWAN development boards and sensor expansion boards from the STM32 Nucleo ecosystem, such as the LoRa nodes included in the P-Nucleo-LRWAN2 and P-Nucleo-LRWAN3 developer packs.
 
"With millions of LoRaWAN sensors currently in deployment, it is essential to have a forward-thinking strategy for devices that might spend more than ten years in the field," said Olivier Hersent, CEO of Actility. “ThingPark FUOTA drastically extends the lifecycle of the sensors and Actility is happy to provide fully interoperable servers with STM that will help all STM's customers keep their devices running with latest security and feature updates.”
 
Dave Kjendal, chief technical officer at Senet, added: “Senet’s success in delivering feature-rich platforms for global IoT connectivity is enhanced by partnerships with market-leading technology companies like ST Microelectronics. STM’s support for LoRaWan FUOTA expands our ability to deliver efficient, secure and reliable updates to endpoint devices, providing our customers with the maximum return on investment for IoT applications deployed at mass scale.”
 
Other network servers interoperable with the LoRaWan protocol will be considered for integration as well. ST Microelectronics is also working on improving the performance of this FUOTA technology for future deliveries.