What is it?

LoRaWAN® is a Media Access Control (MAC) layer protocol on top of the LoRa modulation technique. It is developed and maintained by the LoRa Alliance.

How does it work?

The LoRa modulation technique is derived from the Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS) and lies in encoding information on radio waves due to chirps, linear frequency-modulated signals. Basically, LoRaWAN® is a software layer that determines the way devices utilize LoRa hardware and the format of messages.

LoRaWAN® benefits

Some of LoRaWAN® advantages include the following:

  • low power mode
  • battery life up to 10 years
  • deep indoor penetration
  • license-free spectrum
  • GPS-free location determination
  • high capacity (millions of messages)
  • public and private deployments
  • end-to-end security (AES-128 encryption)
  • remote firmware updates
  • roaming possibility
  • cost-efficiency

LoRaWAN® challenges

Major issues associated with the LoRaWAN® protocol are listed below:

  • Possibility to transmit small and medium data only.
  • Inability to make phone calls through the network.
  • No opportunity to transfer photos and videos.
  • Incompatibility with real-time apps that need data.
  • Varying range width depending on the area’s conditions.

Where is it used?

The most common use for LoRaWAN® embraces smart cities, smart buildings, logistics and transportation management, smart healthcare, public safety, space utilization, smart environment, and smart agriculture.

Application example

An exemplary application of LoRaWAN® technology is robbery prevention. For instance, LoRaWAN® can be employed to complete a security system notifying homeowners when it detects a housebreaker entering the building.

As soon as any movement is recognized, a motion sensor sends alerts to the owner and security agents. Therefore, the owner is instantly informed about the potential robbery over their smartphone.

Future of LoRaWAN®

Research suggests that LoRaWAN® is going to become a globally dominant non-cellular LPWAN technology by 2026. It is expected to cover more than 50% of all non-cellular LPWA connections.

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