LoRa (short for long range) is a spread spectrum modulation technique derived from chirp spread spectrum (CSS) technology. This wireless technology is characterised by low power and long range allowing users to deploy into remote areas with low maintenance. Since its long range, there is no need of installing gateways back to back – one gateway can cover for a large area eg. Cattle tracking in large fields. Also battery needs to be charged only once in years if frequency is less
LoRAWAN is a low power, wide area networking (LPWAN) protocol based on LoRa Technology and uses the unlicensed spectrum. The standard is governed by LoRa Alliance – a group of over 500 members that all support the protocol and make components, products and services related to LoRaWAN. LoRa chips are created by Semtech.
LoRAWAN features that make it popular
- optimises battery life
- optimises quality of service
- fully bi-directional with confirmations
- end-to-end encryption for security and data privacy
- multicast support
There are various components in the LoRAWAN protocol
- End nodes – with LoRA transceivers
- Gateways – that capture LoRA packets and transmits over Ethernet/cellular
- Network server – takes care of over-the-air activation of devices, data deduplication, dynamic frame routing, adaptive rate control, traffic management, and administration
- Application Servers – takes care of payload decryption and does something useful with the data collected from the end devices
Public LoRaWAN networks have been around for years like the things network, loriot etc and have been quite popular. In a public LoRaWAN network, any LoRa device can use any LoRaWAN gateway configured to the network to send data. This data can be recovered from the network’s server. We can have on-premise LoRaWAN servers also like Chirpstack for private data. We can also integrate to a public cloud like AWS which supports private loRaWAN network server endpoints. There are also public network providers in this domain like telecom companies eg. Everynet etc
Recently Helium came into the open community network. Helium introduced blockchain and cryptocurrency into this and has given common man reason to deploy gateways.
When a helium hotspot passes data to the network, it mines HNT. And all of this is recorded in blockchain. HNT can be exchanged for real money like ether or bitcoin in exchanges. As of may 27 2022 it was valued at $7.16. People buy and install a gateway that uses their internet connection. Gateway will pick up lora from nearby devices and pass to helium cloud and for each packet sent and received successfully, the gateway account receives a fraction of HNT. The coverage of helium network can be seen here https://explorer.helium.com/hotspots
With all of this, LoRa has become more ubiquitous. https://lora-alliance.org/
WeMakeIoT is an end-to-end IoT solutions company. We have been involved with this technology for a few years now and have helped many customers onboard into the LoRaWAN domain.
- We provide IoT devices integrated with LoRaWAN modules for communication
- We set up private LoRaWAN network on-premise using open source technology known as Chirpstack
- We help clients integrate LoRaWAN devices into the networks like Things network, Chirpstack etc, help them decode, transfer data to applications
- We build applications for clients to use this data for their businesses
To know more about LoRaWAN, checkout this blog: