Internet of things has become the driving force behind every smart device/gadget we see at home, office, inside our vehicle, retail store shopping complex, healthcare facilities etc. but the need to minimize implementation costs of any IoT is a pressing issue. Since every IoT device connected to internet is mostly battery powered, the depleting battery life is essentially a major concern for users and IoT developers as it drives the cost upwards and results in a bad IoT experience. Under these circumstances, a low power consuming communication protocol that covers a wider area for wireless communication (like your cellular network) is always desired.
LoRa technology is one such success story in that direction.
What is LoRa Technology?
LoRa is a physical layer protocol that employs spread spectrum modulation to convert radio waves into IP packets/bits. It operates in a license free radio frequency spectrum and offers long range communication at cost of narrow bandwidth. It was patented by Semtech Corporation in 2014.
LoRaWAN specification is based on LoRa technology only.
What is LoRaWAN specification?
LoRa Alliance, the global alliance that promotes and frames global standards for LoRaWAN, defines LoRaWAN specification as, “A Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks, and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localization services”.
LoRaWAN aims to provide carrier grade connectivity to IoT devices, bridging the gap between mobile carriers (wide area network) and local area networks like bluetooth, Zigbee, and WiFi etc.
Key Features of LoRaWAN:
LoRaWAN is a cost effective, long range communication medium that can connect Iot devices to internet and cloud services through gateways.
Here are some of the few features of LoRaWAN:
1. LoRaWAN can be used for up to 10 miles with line of sight communication.
2. The low cost of devices and low maintenance cost felicitate its use in various sectors like agriculture, retail, health etc.
3. Battery life up to 10 years for LoRaWAN devices.
4. Radio frequency spectrum is license free. For Europe 868 (863–870/873 MHz); AU915/AS923-1 (915–928 MHz) in South America; for North America US915 (902–928 MHz) ; IN865 (865–867 MHz) in India; and AS923 (915–928 MHz) in Asia and 2.4 GHz worldwide.
5. Low power, data rate up to 27Kbit/s with 222 maximal payload.
LoRaWAN Network Architecture
LoRaWAN network architecture is deployed in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server.
It uses a LoRaWAN application layer between a device and a gateway and another application layer between network server and application server.
The gateways are connected to device and network servers by a Link layer and act as a transparent bridge, converting RF packets into IP packets and vice versa allowing for a bi-directional communication, which is required for any IoT application.
LoRaWAN IoT applications
Due to its low power wide area network (LPWAN) communication protocol, LoRaWAN is used in many industries. Many mobile network companies are already using LoRaWAN.
Here are some of the key IoT applications of LoRaWAN in various sectors:
1. Agriculture: In agriculture LoRaWAN is enabling smart agriculture. It helps with livestock monitoring, irrigation control, environmental monitoring, soil health etc.
2. Building: LoRaWAN in buildings allows building managers, landlords and tenants, service providers to manage security, pest control, space optimization, remotely.
3. Cities: LoRaWAN is helping in building smart cities. From waste management to street lighting, safety and security, LoRaWAN IoT has been transformative.
4. Industry: LoRaWAN in various industries has been a driving force with Asset visibility, monitoring and security, operation optimization etc.
5. Logistics: LoRaWAN in logistics is enabling inventory management, asset tracking, higher visibility, fleet management, goods management etc.
6. Utilities: In Utility sector, LoRaWAN based IoT is enabling smart electricity, smart gas and water and heating solutions amongst many things.
- Last updated on Mar 14, 2023