LoRa is a new solution to low power wide-area wireless network of Internet of Things. LoRa chipsets connect sensors to the Cloud, enabling real-time data and analytics connectivity that can be used to improve efficiency and production. LoRa devices offer smart IoT applications that address some of our planet’s most pressing issues, including energy management, natural resource conservation, pollution control, and infrastructure efficiency. For example, the outdoor industrial parks need large-scale connectivity and will confront the issues of cable layout. With one of the advantage of LoRaWAN technology, it has a large coverage area measured in kilometers, which reduces the density of cables and deployment of IoT devices. LoRaWAN infrastructure is highly low-cost compared to other networks, and end-device radios are also low-cost. LoRaWan can be widely applied in air pollution monitoring, agriculture processing, animal tracking, fire detection, fleet tracking, home security, and industrial temperature monitoring.
The LoRaWAN open specification is a low power, wide area networking (LPWAN) standard based on Semtech’s LoRa devices that takes advantage of unlicensed radio airwaves in the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) band. The LoRa Alliance®, a nonprofit organization and rapidly developing technological alliance, is responsible for the standardization and global harmonization of the LoRaWAN standard. LoRaWAN standards provide an efficient, flexible, and cost-effective solution to real-world problems in rural and indoor use cases where cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) networks are not up to standard. LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN standard enable a wide range of applications in a variety of critical areas, including smart agriculture, buildings, cities, the environment, healthcare, housing, industrial control, supply chain, and logistics, utilities, public safety and others.
What is LPWAN and its Speed?
LoRa™ is a radio frequency modulation technology for LPWAN, but before we discuss what LoRa is, we need to talk about LPWAN. LPWAN (Low-Power Wide-Area Network), also known as LPWA (Low-Power Wide-Area), or LPN (Low-Power Network, low-power network), is a battery-powered sensor IoT wireless network that can communicate over long distances with low bit rates. Low power requirements, low bit rates, and timing of use can be used to differentiate LPWANs from wireless WANs, which are designed to connect businesses or users, and transfer more data but also consume more power. The transmission rate of each channel of LPWAN is relatively slow, slower than Zigbee and NB-IoT, it is between 0.3 kbit/s and 50 kbit/s. LPWAN can be used to build a private wireless sensor network, but it can also be a service or infrastructure provided by a third party, which allows sensor owners to deploy sensors directly without having to invest in gateways device construction.
What is LoRa?
LoRa is an LPWAN protocol developed by Semtech, providing long-range communications: up to 3 miles (5 kilometers) in urban areas and 10 miles (15 kilometers) or more in rural areas (line of sight). Other LPWAN protocols include Sigfox and Weightless. LoRa is based on spread spectrum modulation technology derived from chirp spread spectrum (CSS) technology. It was originally developed by Cycleo in Grenoble, France, and was later acquired by Semtech, a founding member of the LoRa Alliance. Compared to other IoT networks, LoRa has five characteristics, long-range, low data rates, long battery life, low cost, and high capacity. A key feature of LoRa-based solutions is the ultra-low power requirement, which allows the creation of battery-powered devices that can last up to 10 years. Networks based on the open LoRa protocol are deployed in a star topology and are ideal for applications that require long-range or deep indoor communication between many low-power devices and devices that collect small amounts of data.
LoRa’s advantage includes but is not limited to long-range, deep indoor coverage, easy-to-scale star topology design, long battery life, high capacity, low cost, accurate indoor and outdoor positioning, and encrypted security.
Differences Among Three
LPWAN is a wireless wide-area network technology that connects low-bandwidth, battery-powered IoT devices with low bit rates across long distances. There are various possibilities for constructing an LPWAN network, but LoRaWAN and NB-IoT technologies have exhibited the most rapid growth and will have the highest LPWA market share in the future years.
LoRaWAN specifies the network’s communication protocol and system architecture, while the LoRa physical layer allows long-distance communication links. The protocol and network architecture have the most impact on battery life, network capacity, service quality, security, and the range of applications provided by the network.
LoRa is a radio signal transmission technique that uses chirped, multi-symbol data to communicate information. In essence, they are ordinary ISM band radio chips that can convert radio frequency to bits using LoRa (or other modulation types such as FSK) without the need for coding. LoRa technology is a lower-level physical layer technology used in a variety of applications other than wide-area communications.
LoRaWAN Network Architecture
LoRaWAN defines the communication protocol and system architecture. The LoRa physical layer supports long-range communication links. Protocol and network architecture pair to determine the node battery life, network capacity, quality of service, security, as well as various applications of web services.
LoRaWAN spread spectrum modulation method is a variant of the chirp spread spectrum. The LoRaWAN physical layer can be used in conjunction with any MAC layer; however, LoRa is the currently suggested MAC that operates a network in a simple star topology. Windows at predetermined times gateway and beacons are used to synchronize the time of end-devices. End devices with maximum receive slots: Because these nodes are constantly listening, they are inappropriate for battery-powered operation. In some cases, star networks with a powered and powerful gateway device are an option.
A mesh network architecture is used in many existing networks. Individual end-nodes in a mesh network transmit information from other nodes to extend the network’s communication range and cell size. While this improves range, it also adds complexity, limits network capacity, and shortens battery life because nodes receive and forward data from other nodes that are likely unrelated to them. When long-range connectivity is possible, long-range star design makes the most sense for maintaining battery life.
Nodes in a LoRaWAN network are not linked to a single gateway. Instead, data sent by a node is usually received through a number of gateways. Through some backhaul, each gateway will forward the received packet from the end-node to the cloud-based network server (either cellular, Ethernet, satellite, or Wi-Fi).
The network server receives the intelligence and complexity and maintains the network, filtering redundant received packets, doing security checks, scheduling acknowledgments through the best gateway, and performing adaptive data rate, among other things. There is no requirement for handover from gateway to gateway if a node is mobile or moving, which is a vital characteristic for asset monitoring applications–a significant target application area for IoT.
Battery Efficiency and Power Consumption
The battery life looks very promising on a LoRaWAN network. Its nodes are asynchronous, communicating only when they have data to broadcast, whether event-driven or planned. The Aloha technique is the name given to this sort of communication. The nodes in a mesh network or a synchronous network like cellular must frequently ‘wake up’ to synchronize with the network and check for messages. This synchronization uses a lot of energy and is the leading cause of battery life decrease. In a recent GSMA research and comparison of the different technologies addressing the LPWAN market, LoRaWAN outperformed all other technology alternatives by 3 to 5 times.
The network capacity can be very scalable and flexible on a LoRaWAN network. The gateway must be able to accept messages from a large number of nodes in order for a long-range star network to be feasible. In a LoRaWAN network, high network capacity is accomplished by using adaptive data rates and a multichannel multi-modem transceiver in the gateway, which allows for simultaneous messaging on many channels. The number of concurrent channels, data rate (time on air), payload length, and the frequency with which nodes broadcast include all important elements that influence capacity. Because LoRa® is a spread spectrum modulation, when different spreading factors are used, the signals are nearly orthogonal to one other. The effective data rate varies according on the spreading factor. The gateway utilizes this trait by being able to simultaneously receive numerous data speeds on the same channel. There is no need for a node with a good link and proximity to a gateway to constantly utilize the lowest data rate and use up the available spectrum for longer than necessary. By increasing the data rate, the time spent on the air is reduced, allowing more potential space for other nodes to broadcast. Adaptive data rate also extends the life of a node’s battery. A symmetrical uplink and downlink with appropriate downlink capacity are necessary for adaptive data rate to function. These properties allow a LoRaWAN network to have a high throughput while also making it scalable. A network may be set up with very little equipment, and if capacity is needed, more gateways can be added, pushing data rates higher, minimizing overhearing to other gateways, and increasing capacity by 6-8x. Due to technical trade-offs that limit downlink bandwidth or make the downlink range unequal to the uplink range, other LPWAN options lack the scalability of LoRaWAN.
End devices are used for a variety of purposes and have varying needs. LoRa uses several device classes to optimize a range of end application characteristics. The device classes make a trade-off between network downlink communication latency and battery life. The downlink communication delay is critical in control or actuator-type application.
Bi-directional end-devices (Class A): Class A end-devices provide bi-directional communications, with each end-uplink device’s transmission followed by two downlink transmissions. Downlinks receive windows are brief. The end-device-scheduled transmission slot is based on its own communication requirements, with a little variance depending on a random selection foundation of time (ALOHA-type of protocol). This Class A procedure uses the least amount of electricity. end-device system for applications requiring just downlink communication from immediately after the end-device has made an uplink transmission to the server Downlink. Any other time, messages from the server will have to wait until the next planned uplink.
Bi-directional end-devices with planned receive slots (Class B): In addition to the random receive windows of Class A, Class B devices open additional receive windows at predetermined periods. The end-device gets a time-synchronized signal from the gateway in order to open its receive window at the prescribed time. This informs the server when the end-device is listening.
End-devices with maximum receive slots in both directions (Class C): Class C end-devices feature practically continuously open receive windows that are only closed while sending.
It is critical for any LPWAN to integrate security. LoRaWAN has two security layers: one for the network and one for the application. The network layer of security assures that nodes in the network are legitimate, whereas the application layer of security ensures that the network operator does not have access to the end user’s application data. The key exchange employs AES encryption and a specified identification. Every technology has trade-offs, but the LoRa characteristics in network design, device classes, security, scalability for capacity, and mobility optimization cover the broadest range of possible IoT applications.
LoRa Remains a Powerful Player
Overall, LoRa radios have larger communication ranges than typical IoT radios while being energy efficient. Furthermore, these radios have fascinating characteristics, non-intrusive transmissions, for example. As already stated as seen, LoRa radios may be deployed in a broader network that uses several layouts. As a result, LoRa’s solution is an intriguing choice for constructing common IoT apps. It offers a very competitive solution with many advantages that paved with a promising future.
Minew Will Launch the Product portfolio of LoRaWAN Technology
IoT continues to expand and become more popular. Minew, the leading IoT smart device designer and manufacturer, devotes itself to more creative possibilities in the new area to enrich our product portfolio with different networks. Minew is currently working on a LoRa and Bluetooth products that are in development phase. Technical terms are yet to be confirmed and announced, however, it is most likely to be released in card forms or other. You can expect an announcement from us. With LoRa and Bluetooth both supported, it combines the best of two worlds together, delivering a never-before-seen possibility. The performance is expected to be promising. Stay tuned for more coming soon.