LoRaWAN 101: All you need to know Before Getting Started

LoRaWAN Jul 12, 2019

It has being projected that by 2020, about 25 billion devices will be connected to the internet. That is quite a huge number, and you may be wondering how exactly this will be made possible. The simple answer is IoT, LoRa, and LoRaWAN.

LoRa and LoRaWAN

IoT, Internet of things, is changing the face of technology and the internet. This innovation is on everyone's lips and has gained momentum. And there is no plan on stopping any time soon.

In the ecosystem of IoT, LoRa and LoRaWAN are two of the most important aspects. Although it is the part people get confused about most.

LoRa and LoRaWAN are quickly drawing global attention. They are part of a low-power wide area network (LPWAN). Also they can serve as alternatives to technologies like Sigfox and other gateways.


LoRaWAN is a media access control protocol for wide area networks. It is set-up with an innovative design, which allows low-powered devices to communicate with Internet connected applications over long range wireless connections. 
One thing people get wrong is thinking LoRaWAN is the same thing as LoRa. While they may be both similar, there are some big differences between them.
LoRaWAN communication protocol ensures reliable communication, secure communication and adds additional headers to the data packets.


The era of Bluetooth and WiFi connections are fading out, and industries are now looking to the innovative aspects of LoRa.
Although LoRa has its own short ends, it is beneficial in virtually every part of life.
When you hear LoRa, think Long Range. LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) is a long range, low power wireless chipset that is used in a lot of Internet of Things (IoT) networks worldwide.
The technology enables a variety of smart IoT applications aimed at  solving challenges like energy management, natural resource reduction, pollution control, infrastructure efficiency, disaster prevention, and more.
LoRa is a long-range wireless communication protocol that competes against other low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) wireless such as  NB IoT or LTE Cat M1.


LoRa and LoRaWAN are part of the same family. Although there are differences between them, they both need each other to achieve a successful result.
There are two points that describe the relationship between LoRa and LoRaWAN, and they are;
• The physical layer, and,
• Data link
The LoRa modulation is the physical layer (PHY), and LoRaWAN is a data link (MAC) protocol for a high capacity long range and low power star network that the LoRa Alliance is standardizing for Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN).
LoRaWAN acts mainly as a network layer protocol for managing communication between LPWAN gateways and end-node devices as a routing protocol, maintained by the LoRa Alliance.

LoRa Gateway


Some of the many benefits of LoRaWAN includes;
• Low Powered sensors, and wide coverage area measured in kilometers
• Operates on free(unlicensed) frequencies, no upfront licensing cost to use the technology
• Low power means long battery life for devices. Sensor batteries can last for 2–5 years (Class A and Class B)
• Single LoRa Gateway device is designed to take care of thousands of end devices or nodes
• It is easy to deploy due to its simple architecture
• It is widely used for M2M/IoT applications
• Better payload size (100 bytes), compared to SigFox which is 12 bytes
• Open: an open alliance and an open standard. Open technology compared to competitor SigFox
• No restriction in maximum number of daily messages (compared to SigFox limitation of 140/day)
• Long range enables solutions such as smart city applications.
• Low bandwith makes it ideal for practical IoT deployments with less data and/or with data transmissions which aren’t constant.
• Low(er) connectivity costs.
• Wireless, easy to set up and fast deployment.
•Security: a layer of security for the network and one for the application with AES encryption.
•Fully bi-directional communication.


There is a whole different world full of opportunities. This is possible because of IoT and LoRaWAN. With all these information, you can go ahead on the innovative journey.
LoRa and LoRaWAN are applied for a lot of different industrial uses. You can learn more about LoRa and LoRaWAN from this blog.

Remember to drop your comments and suggestions.

Ken Yu

Founder and CEO of RAKwireless. Making Things at #Rakwireless with The #RAKstars

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