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LoRa Antennas: Long-Range IoT

LoRa: Long Range Wireless for Internet of Things (IOT):  Frequency Bands, Antennas

LoRa (short for long-range) wireless technology for Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M (machine to machine) applications:  

  • Incredibly low power usage, long range and secure data transmission. 
  • 915 MHz band in the US and 868 MHz in Europe
  • LoRa antennas, also called Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) antennas, use advanced signal processing to achieve long-range communications at wavelengths smaller than 1 GHz.

LoRa compared to Bluetooth and ZigBee
LoRa wireless networking biggest advantage over Bluetooth and Zigbee is its incredibly low power usage and long range capacities. Zigbee and Bluetooth don’t come close to LoRa especially when it comes to battery usage. LoRa devices can be equipped with a battery which will last for up to ten years as compared to the average of just one year for Zigbee and Bluetooth devices. LoRa can communicate with a standard gateway wirelessly for a distance of up to 15km as compared to a few feet for its competitors.

LoRa Compared to Using Cellular Data Systems

Most cellular data systems can match the coverage and range of LoRa, though they tend to be more expensive to maintain as compared to LoRa systems. The reason for this is that LoRa demands less from the underlying network, given its significantly lower use of bandwidth. This makes cellular network subscriptions many times more expensive than LoRa.

LoRa Frequency Bands:  LoRa uses unlicensed frequency bands that are to be found worldwide. However, the following are the most common bands/ frequencies for LoRa:

  • 915 MHz in North America: Does not require a license. Same band as GSM (3G).
  • 868 MHz in Europe
  • 433 MHz in Asia

Typical Applications
LoRa has found use in a wide range of applications though it is most preferred in IoT Internet of Things devices that:
1. Have no access to electricity
2. Do not require instant feedback
3. Are too many to get a costly cellular subscription for
4. Are inconvenient or impossible to physical access

Given its long range and low power capacities endpoint devices can be deployed in all manner of outdoor and indoor facilities. Applications include devices in smart cities, smart logistics, supply chain, smart homes, smart metering, and smart agriculture.

LoRa achieves better coverage for its wireless devise and modules by using frequencies lower than those in the 5.8 or 2.4 GHz ISM bands. While it uses sub 1 GHz bands a lot of the time, LoRa tends to be frequency agnostic and will work fine on most frequencies without needing significant modification.

LoRa is made on the chirp spread spectrum modulation technology which makes it efficient for long-range communication.

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