According to The Things Network, as of November 2020, there are over 15,000 LoRa gateways up and running in 150 countries around the world.

The Things Network Map

The Things Network supports over a 125,000 developers in building industrial grade LoRaWAN solutions. They provide a set of open tools and a global, open network to build your next IoT application at low cost, featuring maximum security and ready to scale. Through robust end-to-end encryption, a secure and collaborative Internet of Things network is built that spans across many countries around the globe. Now operating thousands of gateways providing coverage to millions of people.

But what is LoRAWAN?

The LoRaWAN® specification is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks, and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localization services.

LoRaWAN® network architecture is deployed in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways relay messages between end-devices and a central network server. The gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections and act as a transparent bridge, simply converting RF packets to IP packets and vice versa.

The wireless communication takes advantage of the LOng RAnge characteristics of the LoRa physical layer, allowing a single-hop link between the end-device and one or many gateways. All modes are capable of bi-directional communication, and there is support for multicast addressing groups to make efficient use of spectrum during tasks such as Firmware Over-The-Air (FOTA) upgrades or other mass distribution messages.

But Why LoRaWAN if we already have WiFi and BTLE and M2M networks?

One technology cannot serve all of the projected applications and volumes for IoT. WiFi and BTLE are widely adopted standards and serve the applications related to communicating personal devices quite well. Cellular technology is a great fit for applications that need high data throughput and have a power source. LPWAN offers multi-year battery lifetime and is designed for sensors and applications that need to send small amounts of data over long distances a few times per hour from varying environments.

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