What is LoRa & LoRaWAN?
IoT Applications Bring Innovations
IoT (Internet of Things) increases the number and diversity of technologic systems developed in recent years. Different wireless communication technologies are used to transmit the data collected with various sensors to the required distance in the most reliable way. On the other hand, power consumption is one of the biggest challenges to overcome since the bigger data device sends, the more power it consumes. New technologies such as LoRa supports data transmission with low power consumption in wider areas and provides a wide range of uses. LoRa is one of the leading wireless communication technologies that enable low bit rate data to be transmitted over long distances with very low power consumption.
What is LoRa?
LoRa (an abbreviation of Long Range) is a modulation technique. It has some advantages compared to relatively older technologies such as WiFi and wired communication. It allows communication through radio frequencies. LoRa was developed in France in 2012 and acquired by Semtech, the founding member of the LoRaAlliance which is established in 2015.
What is LoRaWAN?
LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) can be defined as a wide area network designed for products that operate wirelessly on a regional or global scale, providing communication with low power consumption.
Up to 15 Kilometers Coverage with LoRaWAN
LoRa has great potential, especially for future IoT applications. Different radio frequency ranges are used for LoRa technology, which is specially defined for each region. LoRa allows connection up to 15 km which is a great advantage compared to other wireless technologies. In indoor environments, a LoRaWAN network can cover an area of 1-kilometer radius depending on the metal density and RF noise in the environment.
LoRa technology provides the perfect solution for applications where the received data size is low or medium. Smart agriculture applications can be given as an example of these fields. With a LoRaWAN network, it is possible to monitor soil pollution, moisture and temperature levels, and sunlight remotely. All these data is gathered from the sensors placed in agricultural areas and being transferred in large distances where it can be tracked easily.
LoRa vs WiFi
One of the main reasons that encourage the development of LoRa technology is that cellular communication (2G, 3G, 4G), Wi-Fi or Bluetooth are not performing well, especially in long-distance data transmission. These technologies can cause interruptions during data transmission when it comes to long-distance communication and also brings astronomical costs when it is desired to extend the coverage area.
Up to 10 years of Battery Life
Cellular communication, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have been in use for a long time and another problem with widespread technologies is high battery consumption. The wireless devices using one of these technologies need to be replaced or recharged frequently, which makes them less practical to use in certain areas, especially in business fields.
LoRaWAN technology, which provides an environment-resistant coverage in wide areas, can provide battery life up to ten years with very low battery consumption. Thus it provides a practical solution for especially business fields.
The LoRaWAN network requires less hardware than the cellular network or other technologies. Since it provides very wide coverage with less hardware, it can be easily installed with a low-cost advantage. For example, a smart city project that covers the whole city can be planned with a very low cost with LoRa based systems compared to Wi-Fi or cellular network.
Scope of Application
LoRaWAN is often preferred in smart city projects because it can easily support different applications. Many different infrastructures in the city such as monitoring of water and energy consumption, monitoring of critical infrastructures, smart lighting systems, parking management, and smart irrigation systems can be monitored through LoRaWAN.
Another example is agricultural land. Soil measurements in agriculture can be done remotely with LoRaWAN and product quality can be improved with LoRa based smart devices.
LoRaWAN also provides a fitting solution for industrial areas. With different sensors, the data obtained from the machines or production area can be measured, work health and safety applications can be made and the status of critical infrastructures can be monitored.
LoRaWAN’s uses are not limited to these and are increasing day by day. With the cost, coverage and battery advantage, LoRaWAN takes a step forward ahead of existing technologies and continues to be used in more areas and projects.