Netduino 3 Wifi Azure Event Hub Field Gateway V1.0

The Netduino 3 Wifi device supports TLS connectivity and looked like it could provide a low power consumption field gateway to an Azure EventHub for my nRF24L01 equipped Netduino, Arduino & devDuino 1.3, 2.0 & 3.0 devices.

Netduino 3 Wifi Azure Event Hub Field Gateway

Netduino 3 Wifi Azure Field Gateway and a selection of arduino & devDuino devices

Bill of materials for field gateway prices as at (Sept 2015)

  • Netduino 3 Wifi USD69.95
  • SeeedStudio Solar Shield USD13.95
  • Lithium Ion 3000mAH battery USD15.00
  • Embedded coolness nRF24L01 shield with high power module USD17.85

The software uses AMQPNetLite which provides a lightweight implementation of the AMQP protocol (on the .Net framework, .Net Compact Framework, .Net Micro Framework, and WindowsPhone platforms) and the Nordic nRF24L01 Net Micro Framework Driver.The first version of the software is a proof of concept and over time I will add functionality and improve the reliability.

On application start up the nRF24L01, Azure Event Hub and network settings are loaded from the built in MicroSD card.

// Write empty template of the configuration settings to the SD card if pin D0 is high
if (!File.Exists(Path.Combine("\\sd", "app.config")))
{
   Debug.Print("Writing template configuration file then stopping");

   ConfigurationFileGenerate();

   Thread.Sleep(Timeout.Infinite);
}
appSettings.Load();

If there is no configuration file on the MicroSD card an empty template is created.

private void ConfigurationFileGenerate()
{
   // Write empty configuration file
   appSettings.SetString(nRF2L01AddressSetting, "Base1");
   appSettings.SetString(nRF2L01ChannelSetting, "10");
   appSettings.SetString(nRF2L01DataRateSetting, "0");

   appSettings.SetString(serviceBusHostSetting, "serviceBusHost");
   appSettings.SetString(serviceBusPortSetting, "5671");
   appSettings.SetString(serviceBusSasKeyNameSetting, "serviceBusSasKeyName");
   appSettings.SetString(serviceBusSasKeySetting, "serviceBusSasKey");
   appSettings.SetString(eventHubNameSetting, "eventHubName");

   appSettings.Save();
}

Once the Wifi connection has been established the device connects to a specified NTP server so any messages have an accurate timestamp and then initiates an AMQP connection.

Debug.Print("Network time");
try
{
   DateTime networkTime = NtpClient.GetNetworkTime(ntpServerHostname);
   Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware.Utility.SetLocalTime(networkTime);
   Debug.Print(networkTime.ToString(" dd-MM-yy HH:mm:ss"));
}
catch (Exception ex)
{
   Debug.Print("ERROR: NtpClient.GetNetworkTime: " + ex.Message);
   Thread.Sleep(Timeout.Infinite);
}
Debug.Print("Network time done");

// Connect to AMQP gateway
Debug.Print("AMQP Establish connection");
try
{
   Address address = new Address(serviceBusHost, serviceBusPort, serviceBusSasKeyName, serviceBusSasKey);
   connection = new Connection(address);
}
catch (Exception ex)
{
   Debug.Print("ERROR: AMQP Establish connection: " + ex.Message);
   Thread.Sleep(Timeout.Infinite);
}
Debug.Print("AMQP Establish connection done");

After the device has network connectivity, downloaded the correct time and connected to AMQP hub the nRF241L01 device is initialised.

The first version of the software starts a new thread to handle each message and handles connectivity failures badly. These issues and features like local queuing of messages will be added in future iterations.

private void OnReceive(byte[] data)
{
   activityLed.Write(!activityLed.Read());

   // Ensure that we have a payload
   if (data.Length < 1 ) { Debug.Print( "ERROR - Message has no payload" ) ; return ; } string message = new String(Encoding.UTF8.GetChars(data)); Debug.Print(DateTime.UtcNow.ToString("HH:mm:ss") + " " + gatewayId + " " + data.Length + " " + message); Thread thread = new Thread(() => EventHubSendMessage(connection, eventHubName, deviceId, gatewayId, data));
   thread.Start();
}



private void EventHubSendMessage(Connection connection, string eventHubName, string deviceId, string gatewayId, byte[] messageBody)
{
   try
   {
      Session session = new Session(connection);
      SenderLink sender = new SenderLink(session, "send-link", eventHubName);

      Message message = new Message()
      {
         BodySection = new Data()
         {
            Binary = messageBody
         },
         ApplicationProperties = new Amqp.Framing.ApplicationProperties(),
      };

      message.ApplicationProperties["UploadedAtUtc"] = DateTime.UtcNow;
      message.ApplicationProperties["GatewayId"] = gatewayId;
      message.ApplicationProperties["DeviceId"] = deviceId;
      message.ApplicationProperties["EventId"] = Guid.NewGuid().ToString();

      sender.Send(message);

      sender.Close();
      session.Close();
      }
   catch (Exception ex)
   {
      Debug.Print("ERROR: Publish failed with error: " + ex.Message);
   }
}

Initially the devices send events with a JSON payload.

ServiceBus Explorer

JSON Event messages displayed in ServiceBus Explorer

The code is available NetduinoNRF24L01AMQPNetLiteAzureEventHubGatewayV1.0 and when I have a spare afternoon I will upload to github.

One thought on “Netduino 3 Wifi Azure Event Hub Field Gateway V1.0

  1. Pingback: Netduino 3 Wifi Azure Event Hub Field Gateway V2.0 | devMobile's blog

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