LoRa and LoRaWAN

August 18, 2023 by
JoTio Tech s.r.o., Andrea Jonášová

Are you looking for a solution to connect dozens to hundreds of sensors with a data transmission range of several kilometers? Introducing LoRa and LoRaWAN IoT technology.

In 2012, the LoRa (Long Range) and LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) technologies were created. These are freely available technologies using radio communication. Today, there are over a hundred operators around the world, with Česká radiokomunikace a.s. being the provider in the Czech Republic.

How does it work?

LoRa is a technology that modulates data into electromagnetic waves at the physical layer to enable two-way radio communication. The communication protocol and architecture of the entire network is LoRaWAN technology, which enables mutual communication between individual sensors equipped with a radio unit and base stations, the so-called Gateway.

This technology is designed to transmit smaller amounts of data over long distances.

For communication with the management server, it is necessary that each Gateway has a dedicated connection. An alternative option is to connect through a secure tunnel to the Internet.

The structure of LoRaWAN technology is star-shaped, with the Gateway in the centre. In the case of a redundant connection, it is a dual star or even multiple stars. This feature is widely used in practice to increase the reliability of communication. The technology does not assume the use of wireless repeaters.

​The key element is the network server (Network server), which provides communication with individual Gateways, and manages and dynamically changes the radio parameters of communication to achieve the best possible efficiency of data transmission. The task of the network server is to monitor the state of the entire network and ensure that data is routed to a predefined application server, based on which the data reaches only the intended recipient.

The LoRa physical layer uses Chirp Spread Spectrum Modulation (CSS). Within such modulation, a so-called chirp signal is generated which increases its frequency linearly with time from the lower to the upper boundary of the band, the so-called chirp-up. In the case of the opposite direction, we speak of chirp-down. These processes are constantly repeated. The transmitted data is modulated to such a signal via chirp.

The benefits of LoRaWAN

Long battery life

Thanks to its low battery consumption, it can last up to 10 years.

Wide data transmission range

Data is transmitted over a distance of up to 15 km.

Reliable communication

The device also communicates with mobile devices.

Multi-transmitter reception

Gateway communicates with several devices at the same time.

Where is LoRaWAN used?

LoRaWAN technology is ideal for areas where up to hundreds of thousands of battery-powered sensors need to be deployed, or sensor units located in harsh terrain and miles away from the nearest Gateway location, i.e. a location with sufficient power or Internet connectivity.

Currently, LoRaWAN is used in various areas such as logistics, agriculture or industry, especially for tracking objects or transmitting telemetry data from industrial machines, buildings or rooms.

PECH, Jiří. IOT TECHNOLOGIE: LORA A LORAWAN. Eman [online]. 2019 [cit. 2023-08-03]. Dostupné z: https://www.eman.cz/blog/iot-technologie-lora-a-lorawan-3-5/

Architektura a popis jednotlivých funkčních bloků. PRIPOJME [online]. 2017 [cit. 2023-08-03]. Dostupné z: https://pripoj.me/technicke-aspekty-technologie-lora/

What is LoRaWAN® Specification. LoRa Alliance [online]. 2015 [cit. 2023-08-03]. Dostupné z: https://lora-alliance.org/about-lorawan/