LoRa Antennas: LoRaWAN | Long-Range IoT
All of our LoRa antennas are compatible with Helium Network miners / devices (US): This includes all antennas in this subcategory.
- See our Helium accessory items directory: Antennas, cables & accessories for range-extension of Helium miners, including Bobcat miner.
The Helium network or Helium is the world's first peer-to-peer wireless network and is supported by LoRa technology.
Helium is also known as The People's Network and has gained prominence for its Low-Power, Long Range, Wide Area Networking delivered via a mesh network of privately deployed hotspots. The participant hotspots or nodes operate as gateways for devices to connect and use the network.
Helium connectivity is primarily used to support Internet of Things (IoT) devices with The People's Network aiming to provide global coverage for IoT.
Because Helium uses LoRa it is a cost-effective and low-energy alternative to cellular or WiFi-based networking.
The Helium Network has been created to facilitate the easy, convenient, and cheap connection of Internet of Things hardware. Networked objects exchange small increments of data and are able to communicate with one another over long distances, hopping from node to node in the mesh network. The hotspots are privately run, sidestepping the availability and cost of cellular networking or WiFi.
The Helium Network operates using the 915 MHz and 868 MHz frequency bands depending on the region where it is being used. Helium is designed to operate on 8 channels within the frequency band.
The mesh network structure of the Helium Network has three key participants:
- End-user devices: These can send and receive encrypted data in line with Heliums proprietary wireless networking protocol, known as WHIP. Devices are typically sensor-based and battery operated and may be used in mobile applications or a remote location.
- Hotspots/Miners: This is the wireless networking equipment that provides the hotspot connectivity that gives Helium its expansive network coverage. They are the backbone of the Helium network. Miners provide a link between end devices and the internet. A single hotspot can support thousands of participating devices, with a coverage area of several square miles, at least 200 times the coverage of WiFi. The Miners are privately owned and can be purchased from Helium by individuals who want to run a hotspot for $400 and upwards. Hotspots are validated through a Proof-of-Coverage (PoC) algorithm. This algorithm verifies the hotspot location and the level of coverage it provides. Verified hotspots are eligible for mining the HNT cryptocurrency. For maintaining continuous Helium coverage that can be accessed and used by devices, hotspot owners are rewarded with payment in cryptocurrency tokens known as HNT. Miners can be installed indoors or outdoors and often use external antennas for boosted coverage and earning potential.
- Routers: Routers are internet applications that acquire data for networked devices from Miners. They are critical to the performance of Helium network applications. In areas of the Helium network where coverage is optimal, routers can use Proof of Location technology, making them able to geolocate devices by using the locations of verified Miners. For Miners to receive their cryptocurrency rewards, routers must also confirm the correct delivery of data from devices.
External LoRa antennas are critical for maximizing the performance and earnings of Helium Miners.
Helium hotspot owners can use outdoor LoRa antennas for enhanced performance of their hotspot. Miners with powerful external antennas are more profitable as they have better coverage and are used more. The boost in earnings is greater in areas with a high density of hotspots.
Outdoor omnidirectional LoRa antennas are sought after for optimizing the range of Miners.
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
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.