Use Zolertia Firefly nodes

level Level: Easy

duration Duration: 20 minutes

Prerequisites: Configure SSH Access, Experiment CLI client, Node CLI client

Description: This document shows how to use the Experiment CLI Tool utility from the SSH frontend to interact with the Zolertia Firefly nodes available on IoT-LAB. You will learn how to list available Fireflies, start an experiment, and interact with the nodes. This tutorial uses the Firefly nodes available on the Lille site.



Initialize your environment

Connect to the SSH frontend and get some help :

my_computer$ ssh <login>

If you have not authenticated yet using iotlab-auth, do it now:

<login>@lille:~$ iotlab-auth -u <login>

List available custom nodes

Available Zolertia Firefly nodes can be listed using the iotlab-experiment command with the archi and site option

<login>@<site>:~$ iotlab-experiment info -l --archi firefly --site lille
    "items": [
            "archi": "firefly", 
            "mobile": 0, 
            "mobility_type": " ", 
            "network_address": "", 
            "site": "lille", 
            "state": "Alive", 
            "uid": "uuuu", 
            "x": "14.89", 
            "y": "26.835", 
            "z": "2.6"

The firmwares are based on Contiki, you can get them here:

Compiling the firmwares for the Firefly

<login>@lille:~$ git clone

The Zolertia Firefly is supported through BOARD=firefly and TARGET=zoul.

Build the firmwares

<login>@lille:~$ make BOARD=firefly TARGET=zoul -C contiki/examples/rime example-broadcast
<login>@lille:~$ cp contiki/examples/rime/example-broadcast.elf firefly.elf
<login>@lille:~$ make BOARD=firefly TARGET=zoul  -C contiki/examples/zolertia/zoul/cc1200-demo
<login>@lille:~$ cp contiki/examples/zolertia/zoul/cc1200-demo/cc1200-demo.elf firefly-long-range.elf


Submit an experiment on Firefly nodes

From the information about the Firefly nodes, we can see that firefly-1 and firefly-2 are about 26m apart, through some walls, offices, etc.One can submit an experiment on Lille site nodes listed above.

To reserve the Firefly nodes, use iotlab-experiment:

  • Using the nodes id list, here it’s firefly,1-2:
    <login>@lille:~$ iotlab-experiment submit -d 60 -l lille,firefly,1-2,firefly.elf
        "id": 109649
  • Now wait until the experiment is ready, e.g nodes are reserved and flashed with the given firmware.
    <login>@lille:~$ iotlab-experiment wait
    Waiting that experiment 109649 gets in state Running

Interact with the Firefly nodes

Similarly to the IoT-LAB M3 nodes, use nc on port 20000 to interact with any reserved node:

You should see broadcast messages sent by the nodes:

<login>@lille:~$ nc 20000
broadcast message sent
broadcast message sent
broadcast message sent
<login>@lille:~$ nc 20000
broadcast message sent
broadcast message sent

The firefly.elf firmware uses the 802.15.4 2.4GHz radio, and the two nodes don’t receive each other broadcast messages.

Update the firmware with the long-range communication using the sub-1GHz transceiver :

<login>@lille:~$ iotlab-node --update firefly-long-range -e lille,firefly,1-2

Then query the serial port of a reserved node:

<login>@lille:~<login>@lille:~$ nc firefly-2 20000
Broadcast --> 32
*** Received 2 bytes from 77:153: '0x0032' -76 - 3
Broadcast --> 33
*** Received 2 bytes from 77:153: '0x0033' -76 - 3
Broadcast --> 34
*** Received 2 bytes from 77:153: '0x0034' -76 - 4
Broadcast --> 35
*** Received 2 bytes from 77:153: '0x0035' -75 - 4

This time, the broadcasts are received by the other node.