How LoRaWAN Technology Improves IoT Solutions
Written by: Mehdi Parvizi, Chief Technology Officer at Edgecom Energy
The Internet of Thing (IoT) are “things” that are embedded with sensors, actuators, software and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other “things” over the internet.
The connectivity of IoT solutions is a critical issue which can slow down or speed up the proliferation of this powerful technology. Wi-fi, Bluetooth or wired Ethernet play an important role in providing the connectivity and exchange of data. However, these connections have limited range, consume greater amounts of power and limit the life of remote applications. Many enterprises require IoT solutions that work over long ranges (up to 3 kilometers) in urban areas and through the walls and floors of buildings. Due to limited physical accessibility, these applications usually require batteries that can last months to years, therefore optimizing for low-power consumption is imperative. To address these issues, low power wide area networks (LPWAN), such as LoRaWAN allow enterprises to connect their devices over long distances with batteries that last a very long time.
To reduce onboarding friction, LoRaWAN devices transmit data up to three kilometers away through barriers and up-to ten kilometers with line of sight. These devices use low powered small batteries (i.e., 10 uW per measurement) with a battery life of up to ten years.
LoRaWAN Devices and Gateways
LoRaWAN devices and gateways in IoT platforms connect and interact with cloud applications supporting MQTT, HTTP, HTTPS, COAP, SOAP and websocket protocols allowing developers to integrate easily with wireless connectivity.
IoT core for LoRaWAN enables enterprises to connect LoRaWAN devices and gateways to the cloud with a few simple steps, thus, speeding up network setup time. Furthermore, network engineers can easily connect off-the-shelf LoRaWAN devices without the need to modify embedded software for a plug-and-play experience. LoRaWAN integrated into an IoT platform allows enterprises to connect, scale, and manage application devices such as industrial predictive maintenance, asset tracking, smart metering and building automation.
What are the use cases for low power LoraWAN IoT?
Case 1: Critical Infrastructure
Through real-time access to measurements, operators can quickly identify operational deficiencies and prevent disasters before they occur in a chemical processing plant. The low cost, high efficiency and ease-of-connectivity allow the installation of sensors in locations that would normally not have any data measurement.
Case 2: Remote Sites
Low power and long-range connectivity of LoRaWAN devices allows the installation of sensors and actuators in remote areas, such as storage yards or facility parking lots, without power and ethernet cable.
Case 3: Agriculture
Full coverage measurements in agriculture and industrial automation, require multiple sensors, sometimes in the thousands! LoRaWAN supports up to 10,000 sensors/actuators in one ‘facility’.
In summary, reducing the cost of batteries and including plug-and-play concepts in IoT platforms make LoRaWAN technologies a popular and cost-effective choice in various applications. The availability of a powerful, reliable and low-power solution which enables IoT devices to scale will unlock a world of data and improve our lives by reducing downtime, improving efficiency and increasing safety.