Today, in a rapidly changing industrial ecosystem, there is a pressing need for efficient and scalable connectivity solutions for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications. It is where LoRaWAN and LoRa-based IoT services assume great significance.
Isn’t it great to use a network dedicated to connecting several devices, facilitating real-time monitoring and orderly management of resources?
Indeed, LoRaWAN, designed specifically for IIoT, opens several opportunities for industries looking to streamline their operations, improve productivity and enhance ways to improve efficiency.
In this article, we will explore the potential of LoRaWAN, its functioning, advantages and many more.
Before we dig deep into the above elements, let’s clearly understand LoRaWAN and LoRa and its utilities. Let’s go!
The advancements in LoRa (Long Range) and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) have transformed how production systems implement and integrate smart technology. Using LoRa, IIoT devices can endlessly connect and transmit data across vast distances.
Additionally, it facilitates the optimization of production systems and real-time monitoring. Such connectivity enhances operational efficiency, helps with predictive maintenance, and makes decisions based on the data. The LoRa-enabled IIoT solutions in production systems have revived the connectivity and automation aspects and thus helped businesses ensure improved productivity and cost savings.
As we know, LoRaWAN is the short form for Long Range Wide Area Network, which is a wireless communication protocol ideally suited for low-power, long-range Internet of Things (IoT) devices and systems. It efficiently transmits small amounts of data over long distances, making it suitable for applications that need long battery life and extended coverage to Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things.
LoRaWAN has three key elements: end devices, gateways and network servers. End devices communicate with nearby gateways, and a gateway is connected to the network server.
End devices are otherwise called sensors or nodes. These sensors collect data from the physical environment.
Gateways work as connecting links between end devices and the network server. Using Ethernet or cellular networks, Gateways send the data transmitted by the end devices to the Network server.
The third component, the Network server, manages the LoRaWAN network and authenticates and authorizes end devices.
LoRaWAN uses a star-of-stars topology, a star architecture with several nodes connected to a central node. The gateways transmit messages between end devices and the central network server.
Each end device establishes a connection with one or more gateways in its range, and the gateways transmit the data received to the network server. It then translates the raw data into a readable and structured format and sends it to the application server. As per LoRa-Alliance, a non-profit organization that created the specifications for LoRaWAN, it facilitates conserving battery life and coverage across long distances.
Due to its ability to achieve long-range communication without consuming much energy, LoRaWAN is highly suitable for several IoT applications in agriculture, smart cities, asset tracking, and environmental monitoring.
The Industrial Internet of Things requires uninterrupted connectivity and quick data transmission. Both LoRaWAN and LoRa (Long Range) technologies support these requirements. Since they provide low-power, long-range connectivity, it is ideal for several IIoT applications.
LoRaWAN offers scalability for connecting sensors, systems, and devices in industrial scenarios. Long-range connectivity helps data transfer over large distances. In industries with factory floors sprawling over large areas, LoRaWAN is considered highly suitable.
The low energy consumption makes it more advantageous as battery-powered IoT devices need to function for extended periods. As a result, there is a need for energy efficiency. LoRaWAN allows IoT devices to connect wirelessly without using much power and thus augmenting the battery life of connected devices.
Also, the right networking technology assumes great significance in the success of IIoT. LoRa is fundamentally a wireless modulation technology which assists in the long-range capabilities of LoRaWAN. With the help of spread spectrum modulation, it facilitates long-range communication, particularly in unlicensed frequency bands. Using unlicensed bands offers low-cost access, making LoRaWAN an affordable industry option.
Above all, LoRa’s low data rate and improved resilience against interference facilitate it to go with other wireless systems. Thus, it reduces any disruptions in a crowded environment. LoRa technology gains great significance for industries requiring the least interference-resistant communication.
Using LoRaWAN and LoRa enhance the application of IIoT in several businesses. Today, industries use these two smart technologies to monitor environmental changes, track inventory, streamline transport and logistics operations, and improve overall efficiency in operations.
With their numerous advantages, LoRaWAN and LoRa are revolutionizing the industrial ecosystem, all geared up for adopting IIoT. Both technologies offer endless connectivity, enhanced data transmission, and cost-effectiveness in deployment. With many benefits, such as low energy consumption, interference resilience, and long-range capabilities, they bring scalability and reliability into the IIoT landscape. Top of all, both LoRa and LoRaWAN technologies allow industries to focus on innovation and efficiency.
Based on the functionalities and scope, LoRa and LoRaWAN technologies differ. LoRa is the wireless technology enabling long-range communication, while LoRaWAN helps devices connect and communicate wirelessly with LoRa.
The network topology used in LoRa IoT services is point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication technology; in LoRaWAN, it is a star-of-stars network topology. In LoRa technology, it does not need a centralized network infrastructure.
On the other hand, LoRaWAN uses hierarchical architecture. Both technologies provide security features even though LoRaWAN-based IoT services have additional security for Low Power Wide Area (LPWAN) networks.
Both Lora and LoraWAN feature low power consumption for battery-powered IoT devices. They allow IoT devices to send data without consuming much energy. In the case of IIoT, applications are often placed in remote areas where it is difficult to replace batteries. With LoRa, IoT devices get extended battery life and thus reduce operational expenses.
LoRa facilitates long-range wireless communication helping IIoT devices send data across distances without additional infrastructure. Such connectivity is ideal for industries where devices are spread all over the factory area as it ensures seamless long-range connectivity. As per the LoRa Development Portal, the range provided by LoRa can be up to 4.8 km in urban areas and up to 16 km or more in rural areas.
Industries never have to face the drawbacks of traditional wireless protocols, which fail to provide long-range connectivity.
Since the technologies rely on unlicensed frequency bands, it eliminates the need for buying proprietary infrastructure. Also, the long-range capabilities and low energy consumption reduce the infrastructure cost. Fewer gateways are needed to cover large areas, thus making it a suitable choice for deploying IIoT.
LoRaWAN features scalable network architecture facilitating the use of a wide range of devices in the IIoT landscape. Indeed, it helps industrial enterprises to connect and handle several IoT systems and devices. Businesses can use the scalability feature in LoRaWAN to expand IoT installation as and when needed.
Smart control in Industrial IoT services and applications includes tracking and monitoring factors such as temperature, humidity, pressure, power consumption, and so forth. With the help of LoRa and LoRaWAN technologies, monitoring and controlling these factors in real-time is easy. For instance, in a smart factory, the LoRa-enabled sensors keep tabs on machinery performance, identify deviations from standards, and send notifications to avoid breakdown.
How is LoRa different from LoRaWAN?
In simple terms, LoRa is the radio signal carrying the data, while LoRaWAN is the communication protocol controlling data communication across the network.
What is the role of LoRaWAN in IoT?
The LoRaWAN protocol uses the LoRa radio modulation method. It manages communication between IoT devices and network gateways while connecting devices to the internet through wireless connections.
Long story short, LoRa and LoRaWAN-based industrial IoT services offer several benefits for industries. The long-range capabilities combined with efficient, seamless connectivity with low energy consumption make both technologies suitable for IIoT applications. With the help of both technologies, industries can track, control, and automate operations to reduce operational costs and improve overall efficiency.
At ThinkPalm, we provide smart IoT services to help business enterprises to establish an efficient, scalable, secure connection with devices. Our services are easy-to-integrate and cost-effective! No matter the size of your business, be it medium or large, explore the unending possibilities of IIoT for enhancing productivity and innovation.