What is LoRaWAN® coverage?
LoRaWAN® coverage represents the geographical area in which the LoRaWAN® network provides wireless connectivity for IoT devices. These devices connect to the network and transmit data over long distances.
The LoRa Alliance® is a global association that standardizes and promotes LoRaWAN® technology. It defines different network definitions to identify various types of LoRaWAN® networks, including network operators and open developer communities.
How does LoRaWAN® coverage work?
LoRaWAN® coverage operates through a hierarchical network architecture consisting of three main components: end devices, gateways, and network servers.
- End Devices: IoT devices like sensors or trackers transmit amounts of data to the LoRaWAN® network. They are typically low-power devices designed for efficient energy consumption.
- Gateways: Gateways act as intermediaries between end devices and the network server. They receive signals from nearby end devices and forward them to the network server. Gateways typically have multiple channels and antennas to ensure reliable coverage over a wide area.
- Network Servers: Network servers manage the overall network and handle data routing, encryption, and device authentication. First, they receive data from gateways. Second, they ensure the data transfer to the application servers or databases based on the end device’s unique identifier.
Multiple gateways are strategically placed in suitable locations to ensure extensive coverage. They create a mesh type of network, enabling end devices to communicate with the closest gateway. It provides efficient network connection and reduces power consumption.
What are the challenges of LoRaWAN® coverage?
While LoRaWAN® technology offers many advantages for network traffic, there are some challenges associated with its coverage:
- Interference: As LoRaWAN® operates in unlicensed frequency bands, there may be interference from other wireless devices. This interference can degrade the network’s signal quality and impact the coverage range.
- Physical Obstacles: Physical obstacles like buildings, trees, or weather conditions can affect LoRaWAN® signals. These obstructions can weaken or block the signals, reducing the coverage range.
- Network Capacity: LoRaWAN® networks have limitations on the number of devices they can support effectively. As the number of IoT-connected devices increases, network capacity may become challenging, impacting coverage and data transmission speed.
- Scalability: Scaling LoRaWAN® coverage to support larger deployments can be demanding. It requires careful planning, including adding more gateways and optimizing network infrastructure to maintain consistent coverage.