Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) is a wireless communication type meant for long range communication in Internet of Things (IoT) applications. It requires less power for smaller transmission packets compared to a wireless wide area network (WWAN), like cellular networks, that require more power and can handle larger data packets at a faster rate.
The LoRa Alliance was formed to to create a standard LPWAN for battery operated tracking of IoT and M2M applications. These applications require a solution that is low power, long range, lower cost, secure, and capable of bi-directional communication, all of which has been accomplished with the LoRa protocol, LoRaWAN. LoRaWAN is made capable by LoRa, “the physical layer or the wireless modulation [based on chirp spread sectrum] utilized to create the long range communication link” (Semtech). It is a compliment to traditional cellular M2M tracking.
How it works
LoRaWAN is a star network topology where all sensors embeded with LoRa chips send messages to gateways, not to other sensors. Gateways then pass along the messages with cellular, satellite, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi to a network server. At which time, the network server will delete duplicate messages that were sent by multiple gateways. Messages to update firmware and confirm message receival are sent from the server through the gateway to the sensors.
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