Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA)

What is it?

A low-power wide area network (LPWAN) is a connectivity technology that transfers data between low-bandwidth, battery-operated devices over long distances. Compared to common mobile networks, LPWANs stand out with a lower cost, higher power efficiency (a battery’s ability to power a device for a long time), and a larger number of connected devices. In terms of numbers, LPWANs support packet sizes from 10 to 1,000 bytes, reach uplink speeds up to 2,000 Kbps, and cover 2 to 1,000 km.

LPWANs can employ both licensed and unlicensed frequency bands. They also range from proprietary options (Sigfox, RPMA, LoRaWAN) to open standard ones (NB-IoT, Weightless, DASH7).

How does it work?

Most LPWANs feature a star topology, so each of the remote, distributed endpoints connects to the central access point. The way to encode and transmit data varies between different types of networks. However, all types of LPWANs utilize a modulation technique to transfer data over long ranges with minimum interference. This can be done by using error-correcting codes, spreading a signal over a wide frequency band, and reducing the data rate. 

Where is it applied?

LPWANs are typically employed in smart cities, including smart street lighting, traffic lights, and parking. Their other applications embrace agriculture (soil monitoring, livestock control), healthcare (remote patient monitoring), asset tracking, energy management, and industrial IoT.

To be informed about our latest news subscribe to our newsletter