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What is LoRA and LoRaWAN?

The LoRa physical layer and the LoRaWAN protocol wirelessly connect battery-operated devices and sensors to the Internet in regional, national, or global communication networks.

This article explains LoRa and LoRaWAN, provides applications of the technology, shares why LoRaWAN has become one of the most widely adopted low power wide area networking communication protocols, along with the benefits to users, and gives some examples of instruments.

LoRa, LoRaWAN and the Internet of Things

LoRa and LoRaWAN technology is part of the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is a network of physical devices connected to the Internet that can communicate with each other. There are several wireless technologies capable of connecting devices to the Internet; these include:

  • Short-range wireless communication
  • Cellular communication; and
  • LPWAN (Low-Power Wide-Area Networking communication). Examples of technologies that use LPWAN include; Narrowband IoT, Sigfox, LoRa, and more.

What are LoRa and LoRaWAN?

Owned by Semtech, LoRa is an acronym for Long Range.LoRa is a physical, non-cellular, wireless technology designed for long-range wireless communication. Put very simply, a low powered sender transmits small data packages (0.3 kps to 5.5 kps), using a low transmission power (~20 mW) to a receiver over a long distance. Semtech RF platforms acquired the technology for non-cellular industrial and home automation, unregulated RF applications requiring extended range, lower cost, less power, and less bandwidth.

LoRaWAN, or LoRaWAN wireless IOT wide-area network (WAN) protocols, refer to the open, cloud-based protocoland system architecture for IoT networks that make it possible for LoRa devices to communicate with each other via networks, platforms, and technologies across the Internet.

The LoRaWAN ecosystem includes a wide range of device and sensor chip manufacturers, server and base station vendors, and other service providers that are part of the LoRa Alliance. A non-profit association of more than 500 member companies, the LoRa Alliance is arguably the fastest growing technology alliance. The mission of its members is to promote both LPWAN connectivity and IoT ecosystems worldwide through the development and promotion of the LoRaWAN open standard.

Figure 1 (below) illustrates how LoRa and LoRaWAN interact with each other.


Figure 1 Designed for IoT communications, LoRa devices, and the LoRaWAN protocol enables the connection between remote point-of-use devices and LPWANs.

Why use LoRaWAN in IoT projects

The following list of benefits exemplifies why of LoRa and LoRaWAN is one of the most widely adopted LPWAN protocols.

  1. Energy Consumption: LoRaWAN requires little power, prolonging the battery life of devices.

  2. Impressive Range:The range is with LoRaWAN is almost 5 kilometres in urban settings and up to 15 kilometres in suburban areas. LoRa radio waves also provide good building penetration and can pass through obstacles such as lifts and basements to reach sensors.

  3. Open Source: As an open-source protocol, LoRa covers all the community best practices. LoRa Alliance members do their part to propel LoRa-powered IoT initiatives.

  4. Cost: LoRaWAN is comparatively easy and cost-effective to deploy. LoRaWAN base stations and sensors can be low cost, and when paired with low battery consumption, makes for a cost-efficient IoT solution.

  5. Two-way communication: LoRA enabled units can receive and transmit data. So, for example, they can send data to networks and receive status information in return.

  6. Localisation: If a device is transmitting to three or more gateways, LoRaWAN applications can estimate the approximate location of signal origin using triangulation. This is similar to GPS, but more energy and cost-efficient.

Ideal Applications for LoRa and LoRaWAN

LoRa devices using LoRaWAN protocol are an excellent fit for smart meters, detection devices, smart agricultural, environmental monitoring devices, and far more, including industrial applications.

Examples of LoRa and LoRaWAN Products at Instrument Choice

LoRaWAN Gateway

4G Cellular LoRaWAN Gateway Multichannel Raspberry PI

Product Code: IC-RAK7243

The IC-RAK7243 is a preassembled, fully functional LoRaWAN gateway. It can receive up to 8 LoRa packets simultaneously sent with different spreading factors on different channels. The gateway is developer-friendly and straightforward-to-set-up LoRaWAN system, even for no-so-techy users!

Specifications

LoRa Module: RAK2243 LoRa Concentrator Module with Heat Sink. (1 x Semtech SX1301 transceiver concentrator and 2 x Semtech SX125X highly integrated RF front end I/Q transceivers)

LoRa Frequency: EU433, CN470, EU868, US915, AS923,AU915, KR920, IN865, AS920

LoRaWAN Version: LoRaWAN V1.0.2

Range: Urban: 2~4km, Suburb: 5~10km, Open Area: >15km

Node Numbers: 500 nodes/km2

TX Power: 27dBm (Max), typical 25dBm


 

Sensor and Node (Gateway Required)

Integrated Soil Moisture Monitoring Station 

Product Code: IC-SNiP-315L-SL

The IC-SNiP-315L-SL is a 'Sensor Node Integrated Package' for LoRa and LoRaWAN communication of real-time accurate soil moisture measurements, ideal for continuous soil monitoring.

The kit comes with1 x Acclima TDR-315L Sensor, S-NODE with LoRaWAN communications, 13Ah rechargeable li-ion battery, 10W Solar Panel, and SPLM7 mounting system for node and solar panel.

 

 

 

 

 


Sensor and Node (Gateway Required)

Weather Station with Rain Gauge

Product Code: IC-SNiP-WS24-SL

The IC-SNiP-WS24-SL is a sensor node integrated package for LoRa and LoRaWAN communication of real-time weather parameters for the continuous environmental monitoring of a particular site.

The IC-SNiP-WS24-SL integrates 1x MFR-NODE with1x ATMOS-14 Temperature and Humidity Sensor with a passive radiation shield, 1x ATMOS 22 Sonic Anemometer and 1x PRP-02 Professional Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge with a mounting bracket. The kit also includes a6.5Ah rechargeable li-ion battery, 10W Solar Panel, and SPLM7 mounting system for node and solar panel.

 


Conclusion

LoRa and LoRaWAN have become one of the most widely adopted LPWAN protocols. Instrument Choice offers an extensive range of sensor nodes and gateways, backed by an expert team, to support all your monitoring needs.

For more information on LoRa and LoRaWAN enabled devices, feel free to contact an Instrument Choice scientist. We're here to help! Call 1300 737 871 or email customer-service@instrumentchoice.com.au.