When should the LoraWAN specification be used

By: Segiy Sergienko, 3 Oct 2017
2   min read
Reading Time: 2 minutes

LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network. It’s a new player in IoT solution field, it has a powerful researching group and provides possibility to make changes, to apply solutions to modern standards in any country on the go. Nowadays, LoRaWAN wireless specification has been developed by LoRa Alliance based on provided main specification from IBM Research and Semtech Corporation, which describes main communication protocol.

When it should be used

There are two main features of the LoRa protocol, which select field of using:

  • Network has absolutely asynchronous mode. For instance: when gateway is switched to transmit mode and transmits packet, all rx packets for it will be ignored and lost. So as you see at least one gateway should be always switched to “receiver mode” because nodes cannot detect “gateway mode”.
  • All channels have fixed frequencies and they work with more than one gateway on the same channel in visible zone because other gateways can cause many troubles. Signal interference between gateways deals with signal quality, packet integrity and system reliability in general.

And some conditions to use LoRaWAN in your project. If they are true, you should use it:

  • If you want to connect to existing LoRaWAN network provider, connecting to LoRaWAN network requires the use of LoRaWAN protocol.
  • You want to use sensors which rarely transmit to a gateway and have low-density data stream.
  • Also, lack of downlink traffic and acknowledgments will be large advantages to use LoRaWAN.

When you don’t need LoRaWAN

Cases when you should not use LoRaWAN specification protocol:

  • If you require high reliability. Using fully asynchronous network architecture, LoRaWAN becomes highly loosely and unreliable network. Also, signals from closely situated gateways could cause RF interference between them and reduce total system efficiency because of the use of fixed channels and frequencies.
  • If you want to have the ability to update firmware OTA (Over-the-air). It is caused by gateway construction: gateway provides powerful and multi-threading receiving uplink from nodes, on the other hand it’s impossible to create powerful multithreading downlink for transmitting unique firmware files to each node. So you must have physical access to each node to update firmware.
  • If you want to use repeater  in your network. LoRaWAN specification has no option for translators. One more disadvantage of fully asynchronous architecture. You can’t use it because it creates some troubles as in closely situated gateways.
  • If you want to have only group end-nodes management. LoRaWAN takes possibility to manage each end-nodes separately by using unique set of keys programmed by node chip manufacturer. And after connecting node to network, gateway save it’s key and will use it for communication with node next time.

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