What's LoRa again? And why is that relevant in terms of monitoring?

 Originally published on December 18, 2019 by Patrick Gebhardt
Last updated on March 29, 2022 • 3 minute read

While 5G and NB-IoT are on everyone's minds, networked things can alternatively be addressed via license-free frequency bands. LoRa - or LoRaWAN - provide a cost-effective approach. This article deals with the basic concept of LoRa and examines the question why LoRa, and LPWA technologies in general, are so relevant for the monitoring market.

What Is LoRa?

LoRa is derived from "Long Range" and describes how IoT devices are connected on the physical communication layer. It uses license-free bands on which data is modulated by chirp spread spectrum (CSS). The methods used are patented and were developed by the French company Cycleo, which has since been taken over by the chip manufacturer Semtech. The power transmission balance of LoRa on the frequencies permitted in Europe is 155 dB. In Europe, LoRa uses frequencies between 867 MHz and 869 MHz and is therefore limited to a duty cycle of a maximum of one percent.

What Is LoRaWAN?

In addition to LoRa's physical data transmission, LoRaWAN defines the communication protocol and the system architecture. The definitions based on the MAC layer have been optimized for IoT scenarios - i.e. long range and battery life. First developed by Semtech together with Actility and IBM Research in Zurich as LoRaMAC from 2014 onwards, LoRaWAN finally received its current name and is now under the supervision of the LoRa Alliance which was founded in 2015.

Where Does Monitoring Come into Play?

The potential of a technology such as LPWAN is enhanced by good monitoring.

It should be possible to measure typical sensor data coming from LPWAN devices. It should also be possible to monitor a factor such as geolocation, i.e. the geographical information of a device. Finally, additional information about an LPWAN device should be available with a typical cloud solution and REST API.

We have already published a lot about LoRa and the monitoring of LoRa devices on our blog and our "IoT World". Check it out:

👉 Getting Physical With PRTG - Part 1

👉 What Is LoRa? A Beginner's Guide #1

👉 What is LPWAN?