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LoRaWANTM is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) specification intended for wirelessly, remotely located, often battery operated, Things in local, regional, national or global networks.

LoRaWAN provides secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services and promises to provide seamless interoperability among smart things without the need of complex local installations. Better yet, thanks to its low power consumption, cost of pennies on the dollar compared to alternative technologies, and the ability for enterprises to deploy their own private networks for added security, LoRaWAN has an opportunity to launch the IoT space into the long-predicted huge growth well before 3GPP can even begin to roll out their first IoT-considered network for 5G, beginning in 2020.

LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which distributed intelligence to the edge in the form of a local decision making, data manipulation and a network server in the gateway enables secure connectivity to end-devices. Or, gateways can act as a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server on the backend ideal for public nationwide deployments, where gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections. In either deployment, end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.

Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread-spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of "virtual" channels increasing the capacity and reach of the gateway. LoRaWAN data rates range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.

Nation-wide networks targeting Internet of Things, such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption:

  • Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level
  • Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end to end security on application level
  • Device specific key (EUI128).

The LoRa technology allows public or private multi-tenant networks to connect multiple applications in the same space – coexisting to enable new IoT, M2M, smart-city, sensor-network and industrial-automation applications. Device manufacturers and developers are proposing LoRa technology-based solutions at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) with longer battery lifetime that often do not need a powerful cellular connection. The LoRa Alliance, with its highly efficient LoRaWAN protocol, enables new business models and makes the IoT more attractive to both developers and end users. The projected IoT volumes can only be reached with a global approach to driving TCO lower. LoRaWAN technology satisfies the requirements of many applications that need to go beyond the reach of cell-phone towers and Wi-Fi networks.

LEARN MORE: "LPWA: Unlocking the Future of the Internet of Things" White Paper