All about LoRaWAN

Semtech created LoRaWAN, a proprietary LPWAN connectivity protocol. It is well-known for its low power consumption and long transmission range (even when compared to other LPWANs). It also has excellent resistance to interference because its wireless modulation is based on military and space sector technologies. These distinguishing features make it the ideal communication protocol for many IoT application cases. In 2017, a LoRaWAN packet was sent 702 kilometers, exceeding previous records.

The difference between LoRa and LoRaWAN

LoRa and LoRaWAN are sometimes mistaken; while both must be used to profit from their distinct connection solution, the names should not be used interchangeably.

LoRa, on the other hand, is based on a modulation known as CSS (chirp spread spectrum), which was developed by the military and space sector to establish an LPWAN that is highly long-range and resistant to interference. While both CSS and FSK have low power consumption, CSS significantly improves the communication range capabilities of their devices.

LoRa is a unique derivation of CSS that allows an IoT network operator to swap data rates for other ranges or power to optimize their network’s performance, dependent on their needs.

How LoRaWAN works

A mesh network architecture is usually used to deploy networks. End nodes (in IoT: sensors, actors, etc.) transmit information to other nodes (gateways) in this architecture type, extending the communication range.

Because LoRaWAN employs a “star”-shaped architecture, gateways are not necessarily assigned to individual nodes. Numerous gateways instead receive data broadcast by a node. Each gateway will forward the data packet to the network server without modifying it. In other words, all of the complexity of eliminating duplicate data packets, validating data integrity, and conducting security checks is transferred to the network server (often not power limited). Furthermore, nodes in the star architecture do not need to listen for messages from other nodes continuously and can remain in sleep mode most of the time, lowering their energy consumption.

Public networks

Phone operators/communication providers are often the ones who deploy public LoRaWAN. These service providers will use their current infrastructure and customer base to launch their LoRaWAN network and sell network access on a subscription basis, similar to how they do with other communication protocols. Users can access the network nationwide, and IoT enterprises may choose to subscribe to the service if it is judged viable. In Switzerland, for example, Swisscom deployed a national LoRaWAN network to support the development of low-power smart products.

Community-based networks

Individuals, hobbyists, non-profit groups, and small enterprises support community networks. The entire gateway infrastructure is organically supported by network users, who install individual gateways when improved coverage in a specific area is required. The Things Network, which provides a LoRaWAN network server architecture for a global community of users, is a prominent example.

Private networks

Loriot is a private LoRaWAN server network example used by numerous enterprises worldwide to build enterprise-grade LoRaWAN installations. Rather than serving several users, these private networks are intended to service a single entity. The network can be tailored to the user’s fleet of IoT-end devices. Companies can connect their internal network to the IoT ecosystem without relying on the internet by using the private LoRaWAN network.


The connectivity-as-a-service offering of cutting-edge IoT platforms is the quickest and easiest method to get started with an IoT project based on LoRaWAN. It allows for the creation of proof-of-concept initiatives without a long-term contractual commitment, with monthly paying based on connectivity usage (number of devices connected to the cloud). No separate connectivity contract with any network operator is required in this instance. Instead, the connectivity and network of choice can be used directly in the IoT platform.

LoRaWAN Gateway- Meaning

LoRa Gateways are physical devices that house hardware and firmware to connect IoT end devices to the cloud. This important function serves as the foundation of any LoRaWAN-based IoT network. The Lora gateway is a centralized hub where IoT sensors can deliver data to be sent to the network server. The Lora gateway receives RF signals from these end devices and converts them to a sign that the network server can understand.

How secure is LoRaWAN?

Keeping an IoT deployment secure and safe requires safeguarding each component of the IoT stack. It is also about embracing industry best practices and standards.

LoRaWAN is highly secure by design. Authentication and encryption are required. However, network and device security is broken when security keys are not randomized between devices, are handled carelessly, or cryptographic numbers are reused. As a result, hunting for LoRaWAN-certified devices is vital to ensure they function correctly.

The LoRaWAN specification was designed from the start with security in mind. It has cutting-edge security features that meet the requirements of highly scalable low-power IoT networks. Unlike other IoT technologies, the LoRaWAN protocol offers dedicated end-to-end encryption to its suppliers.

Use cases

Numerous LoRa alliance members have already invested in a wide range of businesses that have a solid potential to profit from a LoRa-powered IoT network, including:

  • Intelligent Homes
  • Logistics & Transportation
  • Intelligent Utilities
  • Intelligent Environment and Agriculture
  • IoT in Industry
  • Facility Management/ Smart Buildings

In summary,

LoRa is a wireless modulation method based on Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS). It uses chirp pulses to encode information on radio waves, similar to how dolphins and bats communicate! LoRa-modulated transmission is resistant to interference and can be received over long distances.

LoRaWAN is a MAC layer protocol constructed on top of LoRa modulation. A software layer defines how devices use LoRa hardware, such as when they transmit and the message structure.

The possibilities for connecting our planet are endless. It comes down to awareness, cost, and complexity. Akenza can accelerate IoT adoption in the market by considerably reducing the work and complexity organizations encounter while designing IoT solutions. Contact Akenza today for more information on how your firm can maximize the value of an IoT implementation.

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