Introduction to LoRa Technology
LoRa is short for long range, and it is a long range radio spectrum modulation technique used to send small amounts of data over great distances, typically up to 30km depending on environmental factors, between devices. LoRa technology has been accelerated by the growing IoT industry as well as its unique simplicity in deployment and hardware accessibility. Designed by Semtech for applications such as smart cities, smart homes and buildings, smart agriculture, smart metering, smart supply chain and logistics, and more. With 97 million devices connected to networks in 100 countries and growing, LoRa Technology is the DNA of IoT, creating a Smarter Planet.
Well LoRa has many benefits over other wireless methods such as, low power, long range, compliancy, less network infrastructure making it cheaper and quicker to implement. LoRa Alliance was formed to standardise LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks) for IoT and is a non-profit association which features membership from a number of key market shareholders such as CISCO, actility, MicroChip, IBM, STMicro, Semtech, Orange mobile and many more. This alliance is key to providing interoperability amongst multiple nationwide networks.
LoRa typically adopts a master – node model where a single Gateway (master) can manage thousands of nodes, connecting them to the internet. LoRa also features an adaptive data rate algorithm to help maximise the nodes battery life and network capacity. The LoRa protocol includes a number of different layers including encryption at the network, application and device level for secure communications.
Below is a visual representation of how a LoRa model works.
Image from https://www.semtech.com
What is LoRaWAN?
You have probably heard LoRaWAN mentioned a lot when looking at LoRa technology. LoRaWAN is a specification for not only the LoRa hardware devices but also the communications protocol. It is primarily an open standard to uniform interconnecting devices from various manufacturers, something that usually doesn’t occur in IoT devices.
The Things Network
TTN sits on the “Network Server” level and acts as an interface between your Gateway device and the end application, essentially as a packet forwarder whilst providing secure authentication. TTN is a free public network allowing users to not only connect to to their own Gateway but every other open Gateway on the TTN network as mapped here – https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/map
LoRa and Pi Supply
Pi Supply is a member of the LoRa Alliance and is committed to designing certified hardware for the community based on The Thing Network, whilst also supporting other platforms. Currently our product range is based on modules produced by our partner RAK Wireless, whilst also being a RAK Wireless distributor. Below is a list of hardware we manufacture: