LoRa is a wireless technology developed to create the low-power, wide-area networks (LPWANs) required for machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The technology offers a very compelling mix of long range, low power consumption and secure data transmission and is gaining significant traction in IoT networks being deployed by wireless network operators.
A network based on LoRa wireless technology can provide coverage that is greater in range compared to that of existing cellular networks. In fact, many mobile network operators have chosen to complement their existing cellular/wireless networks with a LPWAN based on LoRa technology because it is easy to plug into their existing infrastructure and also allows them to offer their customers a solution to serve more IoT battery-operated applications.
LoRa technology originally developed by Semtech is now utilized by the over 400 members of the LoRa Alliance, aon-profit organization focused on standardizing LoRa Technology for IoT/M2M and creating a strong ecosystem to scale the technology. To date, the alliance has developed a global LPWAN specification, known as LoRaWAN™, to help standardize LPWANs and foster the adoption of these networks to enable IoT, M2M, smart city, and industrial applications.
How LoRaWAN™ works
LoRaWAN™ is a protocol specification based on the LoRa technology developed by the LoRa Alliance. LoRaWAN targets the basic needs of LoRa usage for IoT by providing Addressing, Routing and Security.
Topology of a LoRaWAN network consists of several elements.
- Devices: End Nodes or Devices are elements such as sensors or actuators, which are usually remotely located and sends or receives modulated messages to/from the gateway.
- Gateway: Gateways are access points for end nodes. It receives messages from devices and forward them to the Network Server via MQTTS connection.
- Network Server: The LoRa Network Server acts to eliminate duplicate packets, manages security and data rates. myDevices operates as a Network Server.
- myDevices Application: myDevices Application responsible for processing messages, manage payload security, normalizes payload and performs analysis to utilize sensor data.
Using a public LoRa network is the easiest way to get started using LoRa. In order to get started using a public LoRa network, you will want to first verify that your sensors will be covered by an appropriate Network Operator. Once you know which network operator you will connect with, you can purchase devices that work on that network. You will then need an account with that operator so that you can add your devices to the network.
myDevices currently supports the following LoRa networks. The list of networks that work with myDevices will keep growing.