You may have heard the term LoRaWAN™ in the context of IoT, but do you know what sets LoRaWAN apart, and how it really works?
As the next few years develop, we’ll see the rise of networks - global, national and regional - connecting billions of wireless devices. There has been a lot of talk about how IoT will change our life. Yet there are certain limitations and difficulties: currently, for example, constraints include high costs, short-range capability, a high consumption of power and various structural difficulties which have to be ironed out for ease of future traffic.
LoRaWAN is a technology that enables the Internet of Things (IoT), whereby devices and services are all connected. In a few years you will be able to monitor and control your public device connected to the internet (IoT) in a secure way. But breaking down the LoRaWAN, what identifies it and what does LoRa really mean?
What Is LoRa?
With LoRaWAN the underlying architecture, LoRA or Long Range is the physical layer for the long -range communication link. It is a modulation technique based on spread-spectrum techniques and a variation of Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS).
LoRa is already a proven technology, deployed in a large number of sensors and actuators.
So what is LoRaWAN?
LoRAWAN (LoRa Wide Area Networks Protocol) characterize communication protocol and underlying system architecture for the network and LoRA the physical layer for the long range communication link.
Despite being an unwieldy acronym, LoRaWAN is very important. It stands for Low Power Wide Area Network and as that name suggests, it refers to the features that support low-cost, low power, mobile communications for the IoT.
LoRaWAN will support large networks with millions of devices and it is being compared to the 3G and 4G coverage for smartphones. It will be applied to all manner of functions. For example, LoRaWAN has made street lighting management far easier and cheaper, with vast reach and minimal capital investment.
The key features expected from LoRaWAN include geo-location as well as low-cost and low-power functionality. At present, bandwidths and energy-hungry servers and devices clog up networks. With LoRaWAN these problems will be designed out, and devices will increasingly run on energy-harvesting technologies – therefore enabling a higher usage of the IoT as well as higher speeds.
What are the identifications of a LoRaWAN?
The main identifications are:
- The Lora Alliance is a non-profit and open association of members with a vision to standardize LoRaWan for LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) to enable IoT
- LoRaWAN is part of LPWAN network
- LoRaWAN utilize the of IoT such as seamless interoperability among IoT, secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services
- The alliance consists of several companies who together build carrier communication networks and sensing solutions, to improve the connected world
- LoRaWAN network architecture use a star topology network similar to WIFI
- The data rates range of LoRaWAN are from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps
Classes A, B and C of end-point devices
LoRaWAN has three classes – known as A, B and C – that operate simultaneously:
- Class A is asynchronous: this means a specific operation begins upon receipt of a signal that the preceding operation has been completed. These end nodes only transmit when they need, and the rest of the time they are on ‘standby’.
- Class B allows messages to be sent down to battery-powered nodes. All LoRaWAN stations are slave to 1PPS (one-pulse-per-second), and they transmit beacon messages at the exact same time. All nodes in class B are assigned a time slot within a 128-second cycle. This means you can tell a node to listen every fifth slot, and allow for a downlink message to be transmitted when the slot comes up.
- Class C nodes can listen constantly and can send a downlink message at any time. This is primarily used for AC-powered applications, as it takes a lot of energy to keep a node actively awake.
LPWAN networks as LoRaWAN are being more spread out due to business need and the ability of easy deployment without the cost in licensed bands.