LoRaWAN standard for IoT can already be considered mature

LoRa aplicado à agricultura
Sheila Zabeu -

February 22, 2023

The LoRaWAN low-power open standard for Internet of Things (IoT) wide area networks (LPWANs) can now be considered mature. The conclusion was highlighted in the report by the LoRa Alliance, a global association of companies supporting the standard, which also listed other advances in the fields of technology, adoption, and certification achieved by 2022.

By the end of 2021, LoRaWAN had been formally recognized as a standard by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). According to the LoRa Alliance, the LoRaWAN standard has the largest number of networks worldwide and is the only LPWAN with options for public, private, satellite, community, and hybrid networks. “LoRaWAN technology has revolutionized the IoT market by enabling the creation of different business models across the entire data exchange process, from private network deployment to connectivity subscriptions. And the collaborative nature of LoRaWAN has fostered the emergence of open global developer communities,” the alliance highlights on its website.

By 2022, the LoRa Alliance has noticed a shift in demands from focusing on education about ‘what’ LoRaWAN is to now being focused on ‘how’ to deploy it. “As more end users are moving from exploratory and proof-of-concept stages to mass adoption of LoRaWAN, integrators and solution providers across multiple industries have stepped up their sales efforts, which is driving LoRaWAN deployments exponentially,” says Donna Moore, CEO, and president of the LoRa Alliance.

In addition, the LoRa Alliance saw tremendous growth in association member initiatives, with cross-enterprise collaboration driving more projects than ever before. The year 2022 was also important for advancing the LoRaWAN standard from a technology perspective, with results such as:

  • IPv6 compatibility to accelerate the integration of IP-based applications;
  • New relay feature that extends LoRaWAN coverage beyond the hitherto feasible physical limits. Enables the LoRaWAN standard to have excellent coverage in use cases indoors or deep underground, or to relay data to nearby satellite-connected LoRaWAN devices;
  • API for payload codec that makes it much easier and faster to deploy LoRaWAN devices on a large scale;
  • More extensive self-testing and user-friendly tool speeds up the certification process.

In 2022, the LoRaWAN World Expo, the LoRa Alliance’s largest event, was also held, with 1,200 attendees, nearly 70 presentations, and over 120 speakers covering topics ranging from how to build LoRaWAN networks quickly to how the standard can contribute to ESG (Environmental Social and Governmental) initiatives and increase ROI (Return on Investment).

Last year, members of the LoRa Alliance also decided to produce marketing and content production initiatives to address concerns and present solutions for some particular sectors.

For Farmers, for example, connectivities in remote and challenging environments were addressed and how the LoRaWAN standard offers numerous possibilities to monitor and manage farming operations more efficiently and maximize yield.

Other segments addressed by LoRa Alliance members were Buildings, focusing on three end-user groups (facility managers, building operators, and system integrators), Cities, Industries, Utilities, and Smart Logistics.

The future is bright for the LoRaWAN standard. According to the LoRa Alliance, projections indicate that 75% of the IoT market will use LoRaWAN and the other 25%, cellular technologies. LoRaWAN’s strengths meet most IoT requirements, which include battery-operated devices, long-distance transmissions, low data rates, reduced cost, and high signal penetration. The remaining 25% of IoT applications require higher bandwidth and ultra-low latency, situations for which LoRaWAN is not recommended.

The LoRa Alliance claims to have the largest and most diverse IoT ecosystem, with participants across the value chain.