The rise of the machines - LoRa and the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been defined as: “A global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies.” (Recommendation ITU-T Y.2060)
According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Semi-annual Internet of Things Spending Guide, global IoT spending will reach $1.29 trillion by 2020, growing from $737 billion in 2016, as organisations invest in the hardware, software, services and connectivity that enable the IoT.
As IoT innovations continue to advance, the race is on to create the ultimate wireless service supporting the inter-networking of connected smart devices. Consequently, members of the LoRa Alliance are collaborating to drive the success of the LoRa physical layer, in combination with the LoRaWAN protocol, as a leading open global standard for secure, carrier-grade IoT connectivity.
Developed and patented by Semtech, LoRa offers a long range, low power and secure wireless platform. Together with the 3GPP NB-IoT, LoRa / LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology that it is becoming a prevailing technology choice for building IoT networks worldwide, and is being integrated into a vast range of devices such as vehicles, street lights, machinery, home appliances and wearables.
According to Semtech, LoRa’s key features are:
Long range– deep indoor coverage, with 15-30 miles outdoors.
Low power– enabling a 10-20 year battery lifetime.
Multi-usage– can be deployed privately or publically, with scalable capacity and multi-tenant capabilities.
Low cost – requires minimal infrastructure, low cost end-notes and uses open source software.
LoRaWAN has been developed by the LoRa Alliance as a protocol specification built on top of the LoRa physical layer technology. By using the unlicensed bands within the radio spectrum, it enables wide area communication between remote, network-connected sensors. This standards-based approach to building a low-power wide-area network means that public or private IoT networks can be quickly and easily deployed, as it provides seamless interoperability without the need for complex local installations.
According to the LoRa Alliance, a LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. These gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections, while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to connect to the gateways, which is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. Due to the used spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other, but instead increase the capacity of the gateway. To optimise end-device battery life and network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server manages the data rate and RF output for each end-device via an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme. Multi-layer encryption addresses the issue of security when using such an open network infrastructure.
The LoRa Alliance’s LoRaWAN protocol specification has several different classes of end-point devices, in order to meet the needs of a wide range of IoT applications:
Bi-directional end-devices (Class A) These enable bi-directional communications whereby each end-device's uplink transmission is followed by two short downlink receive windows. The end-device’s transmission slot is scheduled according to its own communication needs. Class A operation is the lowest power end-device system for applications that only require downlink communication from the server shortly after the end-device has sent an uplink transmission.
Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (Class B) In addition to the Class A receive windows, Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times, receiving a time-synchronised beacon from the gateway. This allows the server to know when the end-device is listening.
Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots (Class C) These devices have nearly continuously open receive windows, which only close when they are transmitting.
LoRaWAN network Source: Semtech, LoRa Alliance
LoRa regulatory requirements Globally, LoRa devices must comply with each territory’s RF regulatory requirements. In North America, LoRa devices must comply with the Federal Communication Commission’s FCC Part 15.247 rules for systems which use digital modulation. Part 15.247 relates to frequency hopping and digitally modulated intentional radiators, operating within the 902-928 MHz band, which must also comply with specific provisions. The FCC requires that devices shall not cause harmful inference, but must accept inference that may be caused by the operation of another FCC authorised radio.
In Europe, regulatory requirements for LoRa are established by the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EU, which is applicable to all electrical and electronic devices that intentionally emit and receive radio waves at frequencies below 3000 GHz. The relevant harmonised standards for LoRa, which define the methods to follow in order to presume the conformity of the equipment to the essential requirements of the directive, include:
EN 60950-1 (Essential requirement of article 3.1(a): Electrical safety)
EN 301 489-1 / -3 (Essential requirement of article 3.1(b): Electromagnetic Compatibility)
EN 300 220-2 (Essential requirement of article 3.2: Effective use and support of efficient use of the radio spectrum)
How can TÜV SÜD help you? TÜV SÜD’s global laboratories have the required accreditation and equipment in place to test LoRa transceiver devices against the European Union’s Radio Equipment Directive and the Federal Communication Commission’s FCC Part 15.247 rules.
TÜV SÜD can also provide access toTÜV SÜD BABT, one of the world’s leading independent certification bodies for telecommunications and certifies wireless products for the European Union, USA, Canada and Japan. As a Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) appointed under the EU-USA Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), TÜV SÜD BABT is authorised by the FCC to issue grants for a wide range of equipment. As an EU Notified Body, TÜV SÜD BABT is authorised to evaluate products for compliance with the requirements of the RED and approve the use of the CE Mark.
TÜV SÜD's extensive network of laboratories and experts, which are located throughout the world, can provide a comprehensive certification and testing service for Europe, USA, Canadian and Japanese applications. TÜV SÜD’s Global Market Access (GMA) service helps you to manage the challenge of product compliance against diverse national requirements. We can deliver one-stop compliance solutions for most wireless communications products, helping you to streamline exports to other markets worldwide, including:
Testing - As TÜV SÜD is accredited for radio and telecommunications testing, we can conduct testing and assessments of radio equipment in our fully accredited laboratories or at your own site.
Documentation - We can review the content of your product documentation and advise of any changes necessary to ensure compliance with country-specific requirements, such as Declarations of Conformity and the application of CE marking to your product for the European RED.
Regulations - TÜV SÜD technical experts keep up-to-date on worldwide regulations and standards applicable to radio and telecommunications equipment, and participate in a number of key industry groups and trade organisations. We can advise which standards and directives are applicable to your product in every country.
Extended support - We can offer support in complying with certification requirements in conjunction with other regulations and standards applicable to radio equipment and devices.