To take advantage of LoRa and 3G and thus enable new, cost-effective IoT applications even under the earth, Microtronics is developing a module with both LoRa and 3G connectivity.
What is LoRa?
LoRa means “long range” and was developed especially for the needs of the Internet of Things (IoT). LoRa provides a secure bidirectional connection. In addition, locating via LoRa is possible. The LoRa devices connect via LoRa with the gateway. A star topology is used for that. The gateway transmits the data via a standard IP connection to the server. LoRa meets the demands of a battery operation.
Advantages of LoRa
The biggest advantage of LoRa is the rapid transmission of live data without additional costs. With LoRa there are no costs for the data volume added. Furthermore, LoRa offers long-term compatibility. Just consider the impending shutdown of mobile networks. The passive location of the devices can be determined very accurately by time difference of arrival. With the construction of micro networks by providing additional LoRa devices, for example within a department store, the accuracy of the position can be optimized further.
The network protocol LoRaWAN
LoRa uses the connectionless network protocol LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) for a secure bidirectional communication. A data rate of 0.3 kbit/s up to 50 kbit/s can be achieved. To enable a bidirectional communication, the LoRa device (device class A) remains online after sending data for one or two seconds and can thus receive answers. The reach of LoRaWAN extends from 2 to 40 kilometres (town to country). A huge advantage of LoRaWAN is the penetration of walls. Thus, even underground rooms supplied to a certain degree and completely new applications can be realized.
Sensor Network Services
The Sensor Network Services short SENS offer connectivity in the public LoRaWAN Austria as well as support in the rollout and operation of private networks. In addition, SENS supports companies with LoRa-based IoT applications.
SENS is ajoint venture between Kapsch BusinessCom, Microtronics and ors. The partnerscontribute their respective expertise in the development and operation of networksand the development of Internet of Things solutions to the joint venture.A successful, realized project is the digitalisation of water meters from Bernhardt’s Söhne GmbH. The smart meters record data every quarter of an hour and transmitt via LoRa to the central server.
LoRa and 3G modules
To take advantage of LoRa and 3G to the same extent, Microtronics is developing a module with integrated both LoRa and 3G connectivity. Because of limited bandwidth in LoRa firmware updates are unthinkable via LoRa. With the integration of GSM, the firmware updates can be realised over the air via 3G. In addition, the two transmission technologies act as mutual backup. If the LoRa network is not available in certain areas at your product rollout, the application can run via 3G until the LoRa networks is constructed.
LoRa is available on Microtronics server from version 44. If you are interested or if you have further questions about LoRa please contact the Microtronics support team. Call or send an e-mail and learn how to take advantage of LoRa in your application.
The Microtronics team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
This article was first published in May 2016 and revised in October 2018.