What is LoRaWAN and why is it dominating the IoT?

CIO Review Europe | Wednesday, December 09, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) can link billions of devices worldwide. LoRaWAN enables battery-powered sensor nodes with a kilometer-long range in unlicensed bands below 1GHz.

FREMONT, CA: The Internet of Things (IoT) can link billions of devices worldwide. Smart buildings, smart cities, tracking, monitoring, and utilities all benefit from IoT sensor connectivity. It can even predict maintenance reSmart sensors can be connected to gateways over long distances requirements using data.

Statista predicts the presence of 75 billion IoT devices by 2025. But many of them are in rural or remote places without regular access. Low power wide area networking is essential for connecting these devices. Long-distance smart sensor nodes to gateway connections are possible. For worldwide analysis, this gateway may transmit data back to the internet and corporate systems.

With chirp spread spectrum (CSS) modulation, it has low power and an extended range. LoRa provides low-power data transmission up to 50 Kbit/s to conserve battery life. In addition to extending battery life, this protocol allows for the large-scale deployment of smart sensor networks. Smart sensors can be powered by solar panels or even RF radio waves.

LoRaWAN is the top layer of the network. Gateways connect end devices to a central network server. LoRa physical layer enables long-range wireless communication between end-devices and gateways. For tasks such as firmware upgrades, all modes support bi-directional communication and multicast addressing groups.

LoRa enables battery-powered sensor nodes with a kilometer-long range in unlicensed bands below 1GHz, which is great for smart cities. Wireless smart sensors for air quality, traffic density, and transportation can follow a city's activities. As a result of the protocol's durability and low power consumption, local governments should run a low-cost sensor network powered by local power grids, batteries, or solar. Sensors in smart retail monitor employees, keep people safe from COVID-19 and track items from manufacturing to customer. Tracking can reach as far as the smart city network allows it.

It should be used to analyze equipment performance on oil rigs, pipelines, or electricity pylons under harsh environments. Monitoring sensor data and detecting patterns that may indicate a machine's impending failure are both useful. This prevents random equipment failures from being repaired or replaced.

There are 156 LoRa Alliance members in 171 countries that supply LoRa chips, transceiver and sensor boards, and gateways. Thanks to its open ecosystem of network operators and technology vendors, thousands of sensor nodes may be deployed kilometers apart.

Changes ahead

A new protocol improves on LoRa's long-range success. LR-FHSS enables LoRa networks to link directly to satellites. It decreases noise so that low-Earth-orbit satellites can pick up sub-GHz broadcasts (LEO).

These satellites are connected via sensor nodes, which do not need additional network infrastructure. Several gateways or network servers can coexist with both terrestrial and satellite modulation schemes. Satellites carrying LoRa payloads natively handle LPWAN signals using the same modulation methods, providing data in near real-time globally. Satellite operators may use terrestrial gateway technology or build their own SDR. The native solution saves time and energy by eliminating the requirement to collect and translate data into IP packets, proving to be vital for business data volume handling. Smart metering, for example, demands satellite links. The LR-FHSS modulation allows for better indoor penetration for smart meters. Direct connectivity to a satellite network removes the need for gateways

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