LoRa (short for Long Range) is a spread spectrum technique for modulation derived from the chirp spread spectrum (CSS) technology. It is a long-range, low-power wireless communication platform essential to the Internet of Things (IoT). LoRa devices and networks enable smart IoT applications, solving some of our biggest challenges: natural resource reduction, pollution control, energy management, infrastructure efficiency, and disaster prevention. LoRa wireless technology permits inexpensive, long range connectivity for mobile communication among IoT devices in rural, remote, and offshore industries. It is commonly used in mining, natural resource management, transcontinental logistics, supply chain management, and renewable energy projects.
Using LoRa wireless technology, sensors have been verified as lasting for years on a single button cell battery and, under ideal conditions, reach ranges of 10 miles in rural areas and 3 miles in the city.
One of the primary benefits of LoRa is that for the same power costs, its transmission distance will exceed other series of wireless modules. LoRa solved the long-standing problem of maintaining low power consumption while also maintaining long-distance transmission.
LoRa Modulation Mode has anti-interference solid technology. It has outstanding spread spectrum modulation and forward error correction. It can even distinguish the extra data from noise. Its strong anti-interference makes for more stable and reliable transmitted data.
Finally, the LoRa modulation tech performs a unique spread function on the signal. Under the same data rate conditions, its modulation method can obtain 8 to 10 dBm higher than transfer modulation methods. The longer the transmission distance and communication range, the weaker the signal. The higher sensitivity of LoRa allows the weaker signal to be received over a long transmission distance.
LoRa transmits as far as it does by sacrificing its data transmission rate. The higher the transmission rate, the closer the distance. If a project has high transmission rate requirements, the LoRa module is not a good choice. LoRa is also more expensive than other modules. Unless funds are particularly tight, many IT designers will still recommend LoRa because of its performance.
LoRa devices have transformed the I0T by enabling data communication over a long range at a very low power cost. LoRa has become the go-to technology for the IoT based on its widespread use. It will likely connect the next billion or so IoT devices.
LoRa technology can be used in rural or indoor use cases in smart agriculture, smart cities, industrial IoT (IIoT), smart homes and buildings, smart utilities and meters, smart cities, and smart supply chain and logistics management. It is also ideal for water and gas metering and asset tracking.
An interesting use case example is a hybrid IoT/BMS for on-premises energy management and control. They can integrate legacy systems with new systems by creating a network with LoRa and LoRaWAN. Data points feed into a legacy BMS which uses the data to manage the building more efficiently.
Common cellular alternatives to a LoRaWAN include Long Term Evolution for Machine (LTE-M) and Narrow Band IoT NB-IoT. LTE-M is a low-power wide area network technology developed to enable a wide range of cellular devices and services. SigFoxd uses a slow modulation race to achieve a more extended range. It's excellent for applications where the need is to send small, infrequent data bursts.
RAK Wireless is a crucial supplier of LoRa and other Internet of Things products. It seeks to accelerate time to market for underserved and emerging markets.
Actility, a French company, is an expert in IoT connectivity management platforms.
Rothamsted Research, a UK company, providing science in agriculture since 1843.
The best way to develop and sell your own LaRa end devices is to follow these steps.
When creating a LoRa product, there are several things to consider.
You choose between your own design and a module or modem-based architecture based on:
The antenna is critical in any communicating device, especially where sensitivity is a major issue. There are three typical antenna designs:
Before developing hardware and software, you must take device autonomy requirements into account because both will heavily impact power consumption. For hardware, consider:
For ultimate battery life, five consumption modes must be identified:
You then calculate how much time the device will spend in each mode to calculate power consumption per hour. Most developers recommend using the worst care figures for all of the modes.
The starting entry point for a device maker is a starter kit that comprises a development board with connectors for sensors or other peripherals and the LoRa radio board. The key idea of a starter kit is to add LoRa connectivity to a development kit quickly. The LoRaWAN protocol stack is ready in the starter kit and offers a simple API to send a message.
The software development phase depends on the hardware architecture you choose for your device. The most straightforward case is the LoRa modem architecture: the whole LoRaWAN stack is already implemented inside the modem, and the communication is managed by itself. The developer only needs to implement the initialization of the stack to be able to easily send or receive messages.
The module manufacturer may provide a read-to-use LoRaWAN stack implementation fitting the integrated module MCU with module architectures. In that case, the developer must initialize and manage the API with commands for the LoRaWAN stack.
You must have a test mode inside the app. It is necessary and helpful for various reasons:
Test mode can be activated through a command on a dedicated FPort. The test mode can then check all available MAC commands and communicate with the service to check all message types and integrity.