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Senet LPWAN: Largest LoRaWAN Managed IoT Network

George Hardesty
6 minute read

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What is the Senet Network?

The Senet network is a US-based public Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) that serves Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) applications. It is the largest LoRaWAN in the US and one of the fastest growing LoRaWAN networks in the world. It uses  LoRa technology to support a growing ecosystem of devices and components that transmit their data wirelessly over long distances to cloud-based servers where it is used for monitoring and control. The Senet network is:

Senet NetworkUnlike Nova Labs (Helium Network)

  • low power
  • capable of bi-directional data transfer
  • able to serve wide geographic areas
  • suitable for battery-powered devices
  • capable of mobility
  • reliable
  • low cost
  • able to secure data streaming
  • able to support remote device management

which uses a modified form of LoRa technology, the Senet network is fully adherent to the open-source LoRa® Alliance global networking standards. It is one of the oldest decentralized IoT networks and was devised in 2009 as a fuel delivery automation solution. Its success led the original company to develop its proprietary networking technology into a public LPWAN that could similarly serve other markets. Senet has been a member of the LoRa® Alliance since 2015 and became the first LoRaWAN network in North America.

Senet frequency bands

In the US, the Senet network uses the 915 MHz, license-free frequency band. Senet uses the US915 channel plan that spans 902MHz to 928MHz. 26 MHz is available for transmission across 9 uplinks and 9 downlink channels.

Senet coverage

Senet has over 115,000 square miles of coverage across the Northeast, Midwest, and California including 56,000 cities. In addition, it provides coverage and connectivity readiness in 170 countries.

The Senet LoRaWAN provides:

Managed network services

The Senet network is a mature LoRaWAN that can deliver wrap-around services for IoT devices and network operators, radio access network stakeholders, and application providers. It provides indoor and outdoor coverage, with billions of transactions processed annually for enterprise and industrial applications. Professional deployment and quality of service mean that clients can confidently use Senet for mission-critical applications.

IoT tools and services

Senet provides comprehensive services for developing IoT applications. The network provides the developer tools and testing gateways to optimize the performance of applications before commercial deployment.

Fast scaling of IoT networks

Senet has the capacity and coverage to manage large numbers of IoT sensors. Activation is simple and secure and can continue for a decade or more without interruption. Applications can also use the network for large-scale over-the-air updates.

Senet LoRaWAN architecture and network components

The Senet LoRaWAN integrates key technologies to support scalable IoT networks. The main components include:

1. The Senet network server

Like all LoRaWAN networks, the Senet network has a network server that is cloud-based and scalable. This server acts as the hub for the network core platform and performs functions that include the monitoring of the network and its applications, end device status, and escalation of problems.

The Senet network server has operations support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) functionality enabling it to maintain its network operations alongside providing the business services required by its users.

2. Application Servers

Application servers provide access to the network and network management for clients. It is capable of application-level control of end devices. End devices will forward their data to the network server which forwards it onto the application server. Data transferred between these two servers is encrypted.

3. Senet gateways

In a LoRaWAN network, gateways are the access point for end devices to exchange data with the network. Senet can bi-directionally traffic data between the end device and the network server using an IP backhaul (either Ethernet, Wi-Fi, cellular, or satellite). Senet gateways routinely add meta-data to transfer messages about the uplink’s reception characteristics.

Senet LoRa gateways vary in their coverage and can be indoor or outdoor units. A wide of LoRa manufacturers produce Senet gateways including:

  • Kerlink
  • LAIRD Connectivity
  • Milesight
  • MultiTech

A new gateway must be on-boarded, so it can join the Senet network. The onboarding process includes registration and approval from Senet and RAN Provider and Operator Base Station handshake. The gateways also require a correctly configured LoRa Packet Forwarder that can communicate securely with the Senet network.

External antennas for Senet gateways

Senet gateways can be fitted with external LoRa antennas to increase their coverage and performance. Many of the leading manufacturers of Senet-compatible LoRa gateways produce indoor and outdoor gateways with connectors that are suitable for the attachment of a LoRa antenna.

You can attach LoRa antennas to Senet gateways via externalized radio frequency connectors. Indoor gateways usually carry an SMA connector for the attachment of an antenna, while outdoor gateways carry a rugged N connector.

Senet network antennas by Data Alliance

We have an extensive range of indoor and outdoor LoRa antennas that are compatible with the Senet network.

4. Security Servers

Security is often a concern for LoRa networking but Senet has fully integrated security servers that act as an access control authority, authenticating end devices and generating keys for network and application sessions. Application session keys provide data privacy and network session keys ensure network security. Senet fully integrates security throughout the network and uses 128-bit AES encryption for communications between end devices, the Senet network server, and application servers. Senet network security can be further augmented by integrating security solutions from third-party providers.

5. End-devices

The IoT end devices that use the Senet network to exchange data are predominantly sensors and actuators that are widely distributed and located in the places where sensing or control takes place. They are likely to be distant from the gateway that serves them. These devices are often battery-powered and benefit from using a low-power network for their data exchanges.

Participating devices can use Activation-by-Personalization (ABP) and Over-The-Air Activation (OTAA) which you can perform for individual devices or at scale. OTAA can be used for the bulk onboarding of end devices which is simple and convenient.

Rounding up:

The Senet network is the leading network for LoRa coverage in the US and is a direct competitor of the Nova Labs (Helium Network)  . Its maturing coverage is secure and its open-source gateways mean that it can easily support IoT network applications at scale. As a LoRaWAN, it has high inter-compatibility with other networks which may aid its future growth and adoption in diverse applications.

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