Long Range (LoRa)
LoRa or Long Range is a spread spectrum modulation technique. Semtech is a leading supplier and manufacturer of LoRa devices. The LoRa devices and Wireless Radio Frequency technology by Semtech provide a long-range low-power wireless platform for IoT networks. Today’s smart IoT applications are mainly enabled through LoRa devices and the open LoRaWAN® protocol. LoRa enables us to connect things or devices to the cloud creating a Smarter Planet.
Figure: LoRa devices Connecting remote point of devices to the cloud
LoRa technology enables IoT applications. It enables devices or sensors in remote locations to be connected to the cloud transferring data in real-time. The collected data in the cloud can be used for analytics to enhance productivity and efficiency.
Why LoRa is used
LoRa devices are used in IoT applications because of features like long-range, low power consumption, and secure data transmission. LoRa devices enable low-cost battery-operated IoT applications. It can also be easily incorporated into existing infrastructure. This technology provides a greater range than the cellular network and can be utilized by public, private, or hybrid networks.
LoRa has a connectivity range of 30 miles in rural areas and can penetrate dense urban or deep indoor environments. It has minimal energy requirements and hence longer battery life of up to 10 years. This also implies a lower battery replacement cost. It is a standardized technology offering interoperability of devices and global availability ensuring speedy deployment of IoT applications around the globe.
Figure: Advantages of LoRa and LoRaWAN
The LoRaWAN specification is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect ‘things’ to the Internet and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility, and localization services.
LoRaWAN utilizes two layers of security: one for the network and one for the application. The network security ensures the authenticity of the node in the network while the application layer of security ensures the network operator does not have access to the end user’s application data
At WeMakeIoT, we provide the following services for implementing LoRaWAN infrastructure:
Use Cases with LoRa
Our client had multiple LoRa devices like leak detector sensors and PIR sensors which they wanted to integrate with the ThingsBoard IoT platform.
The first phase of this project was to set up the backend which included the ThingsBoard IoT platform and Chirpstack servers.
We set up ThingsBoard on the client’s cloud server. Chirpstack is an open-source LoRaWAN technology stack. It has different components like a network server, application server, and gateway bridge, and we had set up these components on the cloud. Devices and device profiles were added to the LoRa application server along with the code to decode the sensor messages. Corresponding devices were created in ThingsBoard and linked to Chirpstack devices. Now, data from Chirpstack gets automatically pushed to ThingsBoard.
The second phase of the project was to use a dedicated LoRaWAN gateway to send data to ThingsBoard. Initially, the client had used a temporary LoRaWAN gateway using a Raspberry Pi to pass data from sensors to the cloud. We modified the firmware of an openwrt-based LoRa gateway and customized it for the client’s use. This firmware is used in the router and gateway to automatically send data to the client’s cloud servers.