19 Nov 2014

Is LoRa answer for IoT & M2M wireless communications?

A new technology named LoRa could answer many of the questions facing the Internet of Things, IoT and machine to machine, M2M communications in general.

Many people wonder if LTE with its complex modulation format and the large amount of processing required will be viable for M2M wireless communications for the IoT. LTE is aimed at transferring data very quickly, but it is often thought to be too power hungry when low amounts of data for remote battery powered nodes need to be connected. These nodes require small batteries to reduce size and battery life times measured in months or even years. Even with the introduction of LTE Category 0, this may not be achievable.

Another new wireless system named LoRa has been developed. LoRa stands for Long Range and it is a technology that uses unlicensed spectrum below 1GHz along with a form of direct sequence spread spectrum modulation that provides signal detection below the noise level. As a result this technology is able to use extremely low transmit power levels and can fulfil many of the requirements for long battery life.

The LoRa network consists of the end nodes, gateways / concentrators and network controllers. The networks have a wide range and can either be private networks, or they could be operated on a cellular format.

Analogue and mixed signal semiconductor supplier, Semtech has partnered with IBM research and Microchip with their distribution partners to demonstrate the new technology. Semtech has developed much of the technology for the new system and live networks are being set up. Many cellular network operators are becoming interested as they can use existing towers for the system. They only need to install an antenna for the LoRa communications - some operators are even using joint cellular / LoRa antennas where they rent antenna space rather than own the towers. Additionally they can use the existing backhaul arrangements to feed the data back to their core networks.

To demonstrate the system, Semtech set up a network in Munich over the period of electronica. Using just six base stations, it gave coverage over most of the eastern side of greater Munich, including the electronica exhibition area. Using small demonstration nodes it was possible to send messages over the network - its bidirectional capability was needed for authentication, etc.

It remains to be seen whether LoRa will catch the market, but using existing cellular sites it looks like a very attractive proposition for many network operators.

By Ian Poole

Most popular news in Wireless technology

Complete end-to-end and highly scalable LoRaWAN solution
Berg predicts insurance telematics policy firgures for 2021
Bluetooth module enables easy implementation of Bluetooth functionality
Marvell Announces 802.11ax Wireless Portfolio
GDPR will cause challenges for connected care developers

All news in this channel | All news


Share this page


Want more like this? Register for our newsletter






Let Moore’s law work in your favour Edel Griffith | S3 Semiconductors
Let Moore’s law work in your favour
Consumer preferences drive the silicon industry. Each generation of mobile phones has to be thinner than the last. The same scenario happens with computers, as consumers demand more speed. These market forces have led to further and further shrinkage in silicon geometries, as consumer device manufacturers try to push the boundaries of silicon performance.
Training
Online - Effective Spectrum Analyzer Measurements
Learn how to make spectrum analyzer measurements at RF and microwave frequencies

More training courses










Radio-Electronics.com is operated and owned by Adrio Communications Ltd and edited by Ian Poole. All information is © Adrio Communications Ltd and may not be copied except for individual personal use. This includes copying material in whatever form into website pages. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on Radio-Electronics.com, no liability is accepted for any consequences of using it. This site uses cookies. By using this site, these terms including the use of cookies are accepted. More explanation can be found in our Privacy Policy