Season 2 - Episode #4 - LoRa and LPWAN in IoT

12th February 2021
Joe Bush

In this latest podcast from Electronic Specifier Insights we wil be discussing all things LoRa, the de facto technology for Internet of Things (IoT) networks. LoRa enables the smart IoT applications that help solve some of the biggest challenges facing our society today, from infrastructure efficiency to smart agriculture. We talk to Alistair Fulton, Vice President and General Manager of Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group about the evolution of LoRa technology and the LoRaWAN protocol, and some of its potential applications.

Topics covered in this podcast will include the COVID-19 recovery, which will see a working from home, smart home transformation/revolution with more professionals working from home post-COVID driving a need for more smart devices. LPWAN enables simple configuration and control of WiFi devices with a common interface - and other developments will make this freely available and seamless. 

COVID-19 is also placing increasing pressure on city planners and business leaders to accelerate the adoption of critical sensor-based applications and solutions, capable of monitoring and analysing people’s movements as well as the contacts that they have had. Fulton believes the need for data transmission and analysis in this altered environment is driving greater adoption of long-range (LoRa), low-powered sensor-based technology that is capable of gathering and communicating in real-time, accurate and powerful information across the most robust of wide area networks (WANs). Smart cities and communities which take advantage of the technology will be more efficient, safe and commercially successful.

Throughout 2021 the shift to 5G will continue so operators can offer 10,000s of users an enhanced cellular experience via a single standard, however the billions of connected devices facilitating the expansion of IoT for smart communities will require operators to standardise on LoRaWAN-based network solutions, which will both complement and compete with 5G networks. LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol provide businesses and individuals looking to implement and leverage the IoT with long range, low power capabilities that offer greater network control which are flexible, scalable and easy to implement. The biggest factors driving the use of the LoRaWAN protocol are its cost effective network architecture and last mile expansion, with no need to own a licensed spectrum. As a result, in 2021 LoRaWAN will become a de facto standard for long range, low power wireless applications across multiple markets, from multiple suppliers without the costs and complexity of regulated cellular wireless.

In addition, Amazon Sidewalk extends LoRa networks across the smart city, opening up new models for Industry 4.0 on tracking equipment across the factory floor, through delivery and to the home.

And, finally, centralised networks such as NB-IoT struggle to scale, which is why there is a boom in private 5G networks. De facto standards for long range low power networks in the unlicensed bands provide a wide range of low cost equipment with large area coverage and scalability and are based on proven technology.

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