Our clients want to connect to the internet and there are many ways to get there. If your application needs a low cost and short range solution with small amounts of data and the ability to connect to a phone, Bluetooth or BLE might be the right fit. If you have an application that doesn’t have the luxury of connecting via a cell phone and needs to connect directly to the cloud (Internet) and you can support a monthly fee, a cellular connection can be considered for integration into your application.
There are even newer versions of cellular service (CAT-M1 and NB-IoT) that have low cost data plans but these are only appropriate if you are delivering very small amounts of data. LoRa technology is a long range wireless technology that enables connections up to a couple of miles without the need for a data plan. LoRa technology can be used as a long range point-to-point solution or it can utilize a LoRaWAN™ (like Comcast’s MachineQ™ network) if you want to connect to an established LoRa network. The LoRaWAN is the protocol that is used to create a network.
The architecture of a LoRa solution will determine the performance of the system. The part of the system with the most impact on the range is the antenna. The size of the antenna as well as the location of the antenna will have a direct impact on the range you can achieve. The environment will also have an impact on the performance, in addition to antenna. Proximity to the user’s body, battery, display and even ground planes on the PCB can have a direct impact on the performance and range of a LoRa system.
Once your LoRa based system is designed and tested, you will also need to get it certified. In the US, FCC 15.247 is needed, in Europe EU 300 220, and others in different regions of the world. There are pre-certified modules that can be used but it is critical to understand the requirements of the region you plan to deploy in. Keep in mind that the number of transmitters and proximity to humans are just two things to consider for certification.
LoRa solutions are gaining momentum in the market and should be looked at if you have a new application that you want to connect wirelessly.
Give Indesign, LLC a call at 877-561-0274 and we can help you decide which wireless protocol is best for you and your product!
The LoRa Mark and LoRaWAN are a trademark of Semtech Corporation or its subsidiaries.
MachineQ is a trademark or service mark of Comcast Corporation or its affiliates.