It’s no wonder the Internet of Things(IoT) needs flawless network solutions to keep devices and sensors connected to the Internet. It is where Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) technology comes in to facilitate IoT services. LPWANs intend to cater to the needs of machine-to-machine and IoT networks.
As we know, traditional networks offer low efficiency and attract more cost. On the other hand, LPWANs offer high efficiency at low costs. Furthermore, they can support a large number of connected devices.
In this article, we shall discuss what exactly LPWANs cover, their attributes, types and many more. Before we get to the core of LPWANs, let’s briefly discuss IoT Communications Protocol. Here we go!
Even though the final IoT standards are not yet defined, the protocols have been finalized. LPWAN is identified as one of the fundamental wireless data transport protocols for implementing IoT. It is considered a valid transport protocol for meeting a few IoT requirements.
Low-power wide-area connectivity is a must-have for wireless sensor networks. Therefore, it is ideal for all IoT applications in which small amounts of data get exchanged occasionally.
Do you know what exactly an IoT communications protocol refers to? The communication protocols in IoT are the rules used to transfer data between sensors, physical devices and gateways. They allow the exchange of data in an orderly manner.
Apart from these, it should ensure smooth real-time data transmission with a minimal delay while having the ability to connect with several different systems.
Let’s discuss the most common types of IoT communication protocols:
i) Data Distribution Service(DDS)
iv) Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)
Data Distribution Service(DDS) is an IoT standard that helps with scalable machine-to-machine interaction in real-time. The two main layers in DDS are Data-Centric Publish-Subscribe (DCPS) and Data-Local Reconstruction Layer (DLRL)
Zigbee is a low-power wireless network most commonly used for industrial purposes.
As you know, Bluetooth is a scalable and flexible technology, adaptable to all innovations. Additionally, it reduces power consumption.
Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) helps interoperable communication between applications and enterprises.
Needless to say, Wi-Fi technology helps process large amounts of data, and data transfer is fast.
Now, moving to LoRaWAN, it is a wide-area network protocol that supports huge networks and is used in industrial settings.
Do you know wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi exchange data packets in shorter distances while LPWANs send less data over large areas?
Typically, LPWANs are classified into two:
Cellular LPWANs consist of NB-IoT and LTE-M and use licensed frequencies.
Non-cellular LPWANs use unlicensed frequencies such as LoRa and Sigfox.
The most popular cellular network-based LPWAN is Long-Term Evolution Machine Type Communication or otherwise known as LTE-M. Another type is Narrowband-IoT technology (NB-IoT).
Let’s dive further into cellular network-based LPWANs.
It uses LTE smartphone infrastructure. LTE-M features high data communication rates compared to other types, such as NB-IoT and LoRA. But at the same time, it is less energy efficient.
However, it is useful for moving devices. With the help of LTE-M, devices can react quickly, helping with a fast response whenever needed. It is particularly important during human-machine communication.
It helps several IoT devices and systems by enhancing power usage, capacity and efficiency. It helps connect devices that require low bandwidth and long battery life.
Furthermore, NB-IoT does not need a gateway; devices can send data directly to the server. Above all, it requires low power compared to LTE-M.
The two most common types of non-cellular network-based LPWANs include
SigFox is a less expensive, trustworthy, low-power technology solution for connecting devices and sensors. Using its dedicated radio-based network, Sigfox ensures low energy consumption and long battery life. Further, it is easy to configure.
LoRa consumes much less power, and its long-range connectivity helps data transfer over large distances. As we know, it is highly useful in industrial IoT applications.
LPWAN possesses three great features that make it ideal for IoT services. Top of all, it consumes less energy and devices’ batteries last for years. It is ideal for wireless data transport between faraway devices.
LPWAN technology transports small amounts of data over long distances periodically. With the help of LPWAN, many devices and sensors work together to automate tasks, minimize cost and enhance productivity across several industries and firms.
Companies need an inexpensive solution that helps them to connect sensors and devices to the Internet.
The advent of IoT and the need for uninterrupted connectivity push the demand for LPWAN technology. Since LPWAN helps connect several devices simultaneously over a large distance, it becomes suitable for IoT services and applications.
As LPWAN technology continues to evolve, it is expected to witness further growth and innovations in the coming years. Also, with new protocols, there is every chance to improve its strengths and enhance the use cases.
Another important aspect is that the emergence of 5G assumes great significance in LPWAN. Hence, with their long-range connectivity features and high-speed data transfer, these smart technology duos will bring new opportunities for enterprises.
Today, there are several use cases for IoT sensor applications, for instance, in smart lighting and traffic management.
With the help of LPWAN technology, smart homes with LPWAN-based wireless sensors help their residents implement maintenance in advance. Similarly, IoT sensors placed in large buildings help regulate temperature. For example, sensors in the AC system will notify the need to turn on the AC when it identifies several people in a room.
In this way, wireless sensors on LPWANs help smart farming to a great extent.
The sensors transmit information to help manage water usage. Also, LPWANs for supply chain management support asset tracking as the sensors can share the location and status of goods in real time.
What are the applications of LPWAN technology?
LPWANs are usually used for smart metering, asset tracking, smart lighting, precision farming, smart cities, energy management, manufacturing, industrial IoT deployments, supply chain, and logistics.
What are the common features of LPWAN?
LPWAN technology consumes less energy with long-range connectivity and transmits limited data. Enterprises aiming to minimize the operational costs of IoT devices opt for LPWAN.
What is the major benefit of using LPWAN?
LPWAN networks are inexpensive compared to other types of wireless communication. This is because it uses less power and can connect multiple devices and sensors.
The possibilities of LPWANs are plenty. At ThinkPalm, we help you enable IoT services in numerous industrial and home environments. Therefore, we cater to the needs of offering extreme security for homes and smart cities and also help with industrial automation.
So what are you waiting for? Get ready to use the best LPWAN and IoT solutions for your home and enterprise!