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E-magazine RFID & Wireless IoT Global Issue 02/2022

Low-Power-Wide-Area-Network (LPWAN) Technology

There is no single low-power wide area network technology. Behind the abbreviation LPWAN are different power-saving WAN technologies. What all LPWAN technologies have in common is that they cover a large range of distances while consuming significantly less power than cellular-based WAN technologies. LPWAN can be based on licensed or unlicensed frequencies and communicate with both proprietary and open standards.

LPWAN includes, for example, Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN), Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or Massive IoT applications (Mioty). The diversity of available technologies on the market raises the question of which technology represents the best compromise between performance, network coverage and cost. The answer is that it depends on the use case.

With low power consumption, uncomplicated terminal equipment, low costs for terminal equipment and comprehensive reception coverage at the same time, LPWAN is also suitable for locations that are difficult to reach. These can be building basements, for example. LPWAN is ideally suited when real-time communications are not necessary. Established applications include smart metering solutions as well as smart city solutions such as parking management systems, networking of environmental sensors, machinery and equipment condition monitoring, and smart lighting control for street lighting. Large applications can be found in the transmission of meter readings or "like buttons". Measuring stations for CO2 or temperature are classic sensor applications.

For many applications, there is overlap and several technologies handle the requirements in a comparable way. However, if special requirements are on the agenda, such as high robustness of communication or the ability to perform over-the-air updates, then specific LPWANs are particularly suitable for meeting them.

LoRaWAN is the MAC layer protocol that controls the communication between LoRa devices and gateways. LoRaWAN applications operate in globally and regionally different frequency ranges of the ISM band and the SRD band. In Europe, the frequency band from 433.05 to 434.79 MHz (ISM band region 1) and from 863 to 870 MHz (SRD band Europe) is released for LoRaWAN communication. In North America, the frequency band from 902 to 928 MHz (ISM band region 2) is available for use.

Frequency spreading based on chirp spread spectrum modulation enables high data transfer efficiency and low power consumption. At the same time, the modulation used minimizes interference. Communication from the end device to the network server and to the application server in a LoRaWAN is encrypted twice with 128-bit AES keys.


Lisbon is paving the way to the smart city: Research by Nuno Cruz, Nuno Cota and João Tremoceiro has enabled the deployment of a city-wide LoRa-network that universally integrates all individual public service networks.
RFID & Wireless IoT Global

Lecture videos of the Think WIOT Day "WIOT Technologies" are available! Simply register free of charge* and be fully informed.

Sensor technology and tracking solutions with long ranges, low energy consumption, based on open standards and with numerous advantages for a wide range of economic sectors – made possible by LoRa networks.
Think Wireless IoT

The Smart City project 'SMARTinfeld' in Martinfeld, Thuringia, comprises IoT applications in the fields of street lighting, waste container level measurement, soil and water quality.
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