I have several raspberry pi zeros connected to agricultural sensors in a large farm(1500+ acres). What is my best solution for getting the agricultural data from them wirelessly? I want to get the data to a central internet connected server which will be approximately 5-8km away from the sensor.


2 Answers 2


I would recommend a LPWAN setup with end node radios on the Pi-Zero's and a gateway (or a few to cover the area) to manage all of these devices.

Check out these.

You can get a cellular or ethernet version of the gateway and adaptors for the Atom radio module to interface with all of the Pi-Zeros in the field. The hardware setup is very fast and all of the device to cloud routing/key management is handled through a nice web dashboard. You can connect to pretty much any cloud endpoint from the web interface and push updates to pretty much anywhere from there.

It would be helpful to know what kind of terrain you are trying to cover since wide area network coverage will be dependant upon the environmental interferance you are dealing with.

  • Hackaday managed to connect two devices by LOWRAWAN using a balloon at 35km height - maybe not for you, but still very interesting to read.
    – Mawg
    Jan 22, 2018 at 7:58

Wow ! 5 to 8 kn is quite a distance.

If you are willing to spend in order of US $500 per sensor, then I can recommend a solution using an inexpensive satellite modem. Although this might sound expensive, think of the cost spread over many years, and be aware that in addition to the sensors, you can program the satellite modems themselves, if need be.

I have had lots of fun with Skywave’s offerings (they have now rebranded as OrbComm), and you might like to look at the IDP_800.

Read the datasheet.

Mass: with batteries: 1.3 Kg (with integrated antenna Dimensions : 43.2 cm x 14.7 cm x 2.5 cm and it runs on 6 AA batteries, which can be bought almost anywhere.

I send only one 50 byte message a day & they tell me that I can except a three year battery life. Their units generally cost US $500 - $1,000 (with discount for bulk purchases), and their airtime rates are competitive.

The device has built in GPDS and is fully programmable in the LUA scripting language.

Obligatory picture follows: enter image description here

If you are looking for something cheaper, then II would recommend Flutter (see also completed Kickstarter page for more info).

It's a US $20 Arduino board with 1kmn wifi range, so you would still need to use repeaters, but you would certainly need fewer than with conventional WiFi. I would suggest a mesh network, which Flutter supports, and would recommend that you mount them on posts, as high above the ground as you can.

Whatever solution you go for, don't accept manufacturers claims as to range - start with one Flutter/whatever, and start adding more, checking as you go how good communication is. DO NOT put hem all in place first & then go for a big bang turn on.

That's about it really, so now for the obligatory graphic

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thanks for your help, but radio seems like a more practical solution because of its cost-effectiveness.
    – user5399
    Jan 12, 2018 at 11:44
  • @HaziqMuhammad It's all radio... Jan 12, 2018 at 15:12
  • @SeanHoulihane Yes of course, I meant LPWAN.
    – user5399
    Jan 12, 2018 at 17:16