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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is LoRa?
3.
What is LoRaWAN?
4.
The difference between LoRa and LoRaWAN
5.
LoRaWAN with IoT
6.
Features of LoRaWAN
6.1.
Reach and Resilience
6.2.
Flexible and easy-to-use
6.3.
Secure and Reliable 
7.
Applications of LoRaWAN
7.1.
Smart utility
7.2.
Smart Cities
7.3.
Smart Logistics
7.4.
Smart Agriculture
7.5.
Smart Healthcare
8.
Limitations of LoRaWAN
9.
Alternative for LoRaWAN
10.
Frequently Asked Questions
10.1.
When should you consider LoRaWAN instead of WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Cellular, etc.?
10.2.
What Is LPWAN and How Does It Relate to LoRaWAN?
10.3.
The challenges of building a private network with LoRaWAN.
11.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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LoRa and LoRaWAN for IoT

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Introduction

Choosing the right connectivity technology is critical to the success of your IoT deployment. With a large amount of technology available, it's important to consider the connectivity best suited to your application and business needs. So let's see these technologies in detail.

What is LoRa?

LoRa refers to a wireless technology in which a low-powered sending device transmits small data packages up to 5.5kbps over long distances. LoRa has become an increasingly popular IoT connectivity standard. The LoRa network uses license-free radio frequencies to offer low-power devices long-range connectivity. In addition, LoRa allows for lower costs and more flexible IoT deployments. LoRa is most commonly used for applications not requiring mission-critical network services, such as smart buildings, solar and water monitoring, and smart agriculture.

As LoRa supports single or MESH configurations, you can quickly expand your network.

LoRa end nodes consist of two parts:

  • An antenna is attached to a radio module.
  • A microprocessor processes data.

 

Batteries typically power end nodes. Wireless transceivers are built into LoRa devices (end nodes).  This device functions as a remote sensor if it also has sensors. Remotes like these are called motes, short for remote control devices.

Source: researchgate

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What is LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN is one of many low power wide area networks (LPWAN) technologies. This technology was created by the LoRa Alliance, an international organization whose members manage and develop the LoRaWAN protocol. Based on Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS), LoRa technology is a wireless modulation technique. Radio waves are modulated using chirp pulses to transmit data. A large-scale IoT communication solution that runs on low power can ensure long battery life while enabling massive scale and low deployment and operating costs. It was developed for the large-scale IoT communication problem.

Your business needs insights to compete, and LoRaWAN allows you to easily connect and monitor your assets. LoRaWAN connects objects globally with open, global wireless communication networks that facilitate real-time data collection and asset tracking in ways we never thought possible. A company that uses LoRaWAN-connected sensors can quickly obtain the insights it needs to automate processes and improve efficiency, despite its high costs and technical barriers.

Source: researchgate

The difference between LoRa and LoRaWAN

LoRa

LoRaWAN

LoRaWAN network, LoRa is a modulation method for the physical layer. Based on CSS (Chirp Spread Spectrum) modulation, it can provide different data rates depending on the spread factor. Wireless networks such as LoRaWAN are used as WANs (Wide Area Networks) due to their wide coverage.
To ensure the system is robust, modulation is used. Different data rates can be achieved with it. A wireless system with low data rates, low power requirements, and a long range. It's commonly used in IoT/M2M-based systems.
In a physical system layer, it performs a certain function. It has four layers, viz. RF, PHY, and MAC, are present in the Application layer.

Also see, Difference Between Verilog and Vhdl

LoRaWAN with IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) concepts are increasingly using LoRaWAN communication protocols. Research centers have made a sustained effort to improve the performance of wireless sensor networks, thus addressing the problem of wireless sensor networks. In order to combat today's challenges, such as energy shortages, resource depletion, and pollution, the IoT concept will revolutionize and change the way we do business every day. In a sense, the IoT brings M2M (Machine-to-Machine) technology closer to solving its problems than it has ever come. As a result of the development of Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) wireless networks, IoT applications can fulfill various requirements for traditional wireless and short-range wireless communication technologies. Based on chirp modulations (compressed high-intensity radar pulses), LoRA can offer immunity to interference, great communication link budgets, and low power consumption while resisting fading and the Doppler effect because it does not use carrier frequency modulations. 

Features of LoRaWAN

Reach and Resilience

In terms of LPWAN deployments, LoRaWAN has the most public and private deployments worldwide, which provides coverage around the globe. Communication is not blocked underground or at high elevations by concrete and other obstacles that block network communication. In a dense urban environment, LoRaWAN can communicate with objects as far away as 16 km with a clean line of sight and as close as 5 km.

It also performs well in harsh weather conditions and over noisy communication environments. It is incredible how little energy LoRaWAN uses when communicating with objects. It is possible to install sensors in hard-to-reach places. With a battery life of about 10-15 years, it is extremely energy efficient and has a long-range for minimal bandwidth, but it consumes very little power. You can update Firmware over the air without sending a technician with this service.

Flexible and easy-to-use

Due to its flexibility, LoRaWAN can be used with various business models, including CAPEX and OPEX. In terms of security and operational requirements, it can choose between public and private networks. Thousands of devices can be linked through one LoRaWAN gateway.

Secure and Reliable 

LoRaWAN provides security for mass IoT development through an open and interoperable standard. Starting with a feature set that includes total security, our protocols have always been built with security in mind. You can manage your security keys and keep your data confidential until you receive it with end-to-end encryption using industry-standard AES-128 security.

Applications of LoRaWAN

Smart utility

Companies that use LoRaWAN to reduce costs and improve services for their customers and themselves benefit from these benefits. LoRAWAN sensors are widely used in industrial facilities such as factories and warehouses to monitor energy and machine usage and air quality.

Smart Cities

It makes cities more intelligent, safer, and cleaner. In smart cities, LoRaWAN sensors allow monitoring of public transportation, lighting streets, and enhancing city services at a cost-effective price.

Smart Logistics

The software streamlines asset management and logistical operations. As well as monitoring dock and container conditions, tracking assets, and managing order assembly, LoRaWAN sensors provide fleet maintenance and warehouse operations with functionality and visibility.

Smart Agriculture

The result is an increase in yields while conserving natural resources. Agricultural applications of LoRaWAN technologies increase production while minimizing environmental impact and costs. These sensors can measure livestock health, ground conditions, and surrounding environments to grow crops efficiently.

Smart Healthcare

Even saving lives through preventing accidents and improving patient outcomes is possible with this technology. To ensure safe and efficient patient care, LoRaWAN sensors monitor vital signs, maintain facility environments, and optimize workflow in health care settings.

Limitations of LoRaWAN

  1. Applications that require only low data rates, such as 27 kbps, can be handled by this device.
  2. Due to a parameter referred to as duty cycle, LoRaWAN network size is limited. The channel can be occupied for a percentage of the time. LoRaWAN network traffic is limited by this parameter as a result of regulation.
  3. For real-time applications that require bounded jitter and low latency, it is not an ideal candidate for use.

Alternative for LoRaWAN

A LoRa protocol stack alternative developed by Link Labs is Symphony Link. Our software was built on top of Semtech's chips to overcome LoRaWAN's limitations and provide the sophisticated features many organizations need.

  • You'll know instantly if a message has been successfully transmitted from your device because Symphony Link acknowledges every message.
  • A Symphony Link end device adjusts its transmit power and modulation rate in real-time before every transmission to match the reverse link to the gateway. In this way, there is a balanced link budget among all nodes in the network.
  • The coexistence of multiple gateways is enabled through the use of a dynamic channel mask controlled by the gateway, ensuring the smallest possible collision rate.
  • System reliability and battery efficiency are enhanced with Symphony Link's adaptive acknowledgement encoder, which reduces node transmissions and conserves battery power.
  • There is no performance impact or redundant channels added when up to 48 gateways (and their star networks) operate in the 915-MHz ISM band. As a result, LPWAN systems with gateways really increase their capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you consider LoRaWAN instead of WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Cellular, etc.?

It is tough for 2.4GHz protocols to propagate through objects such as walls and floors. When there is any obstruction in the way, and the WiFi router is in the basement, it is often difficult to get a WiFi connection on the second floor. However, LoRa devices can reach distances of many miles, regardless of obstacles like buildings or equipment.

What Is LPWAN and How Does It Relate to LoRaWAN?

LPWAN, or low power wide area network, limits network interference and reduces battery consumption. The LoRaWAN specifications are among the best LPWAN standards due to their many advantages.

The challenges of building a private network with LoRaWAN.

In terms of customer-deployed (also known as private network) solutions, LoRaWAN is a good fit for some applications, but it's not the best fit for all. Reasons include:

  • Multiple gateways can cause interference when they coexist.
  • Messages are not guaranteed to be received. In most industrial use cases, spray-and-pray message delivery is ineffective. Uplink-focused networks are best suited for LoRaWAN.
  • There is quite a bit of development work to be done. 
  • The 868 MHz band has some inherent limitations in public networks. 

Conclusion

This blog shows LoRa and LoRaWAN with IoT and the difference between them, their features, and applications.

We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge about LoRa and LoRaWAN with IoT and if you would like to learn more, check out our articles on the link. Do upvote our blog to help other ninjas grow. 

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