This guide explains the LoRaWAN modules features and functions. These products were designed for Waspmote v12 and Plug & Sense! v12 and continue with no changes for Waspmote v15 and Plug & Sense! v15. There are no great variations in this library for our new product lines Waspmote v15 and Plug & Sense! v15, released on October 2016.

Anyway, if you are using previous versions of our products, please use the corresponding guides, available on our Development website.

The Libelium LoRaWAN module has been integrated into the main sensor lines Waspmote OEM and Plug & Sense!, so now you can create your own Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN).

LoRaWAN is a new, private and spread-spectrum modulation technique which allows sending data at extremely low data-rates to extremely long ranges. The low data-rate (down to few bytes per second) and LoRaWAN modulation lead to very low receiver sensitivity (down to -136 dBm), which combined to an output power of +14 dBm means extremely large link budgets: up to 150 dB, what means more than 22 km (13.6 miles) in LOS links and up to 2 km (1.2 miles) in NLOS links in urban environment (going through buildings).

Libelium’s LoRaWAN EU/433 module works in both 868 and 433 MHz ISM bands and the LoRaWAN US module works in 900 MHz ISM band, which makes them suitable for virtually any country. Those frequency bands are lower than the popular 2.4 GHz band, so path loss attenuation is better in LoRaWAN. In addition, 433, 868 and 900 MHz are bands with much fewer interference than the highly populated 2.4 GHz band. Besides, these low frequencies provide great penetration in possible materials (brick walls, trees, concrete), so these bands get less loss in the presence of obstacles than higher bands.

With the LoRaWAN modules we can send the data directly to any Base Station (BS) that is LoRaWAN compatible. Some companies already offering solutions are: Kerlink, Link-Labs, Multitech, Cisco, Augtek, Manthink, Gupsy, Gemteck, ExpEmb, Embedded Planet, Calao, RFI, etc. In order to visualize the information we will need also a Cloud platform where the data has to be sent. Normally when you acquire a BS you can install your preferred SW packet in order to make it work against the Cloud platform. We tested the LoRaWAN radios with three Cloud platforms: Actility, Orbiwise and Loriot, you can find more information about the configuration in this tutorial.

Libelium currently offers two options of this type of radio technology: LoRa (“raw”) and LoRaWAN:

  • LoRa contains only the link layer protocol and is perfect to be used in P2P communications between nodes. You can set a topology of a maximum of 10 nodes to the same Gateway as LoRa does not make packet management.

  • LoRaWAN can handle hundreds of connections at the same time.

  • LoRaWAN includes the network layer too so it is possible to send the information to any LoRaWAN Base Station already connected to a Cloud platform. LoRaWAN modules may work in the 868/900/433 MHz bands.

  • LoRa is available for the Waspmote OEM v15 platform but not for Plug & Sense! v15.

  • LoRaWAN is available for both Waspmote OEM v15 and Plug & Sense! v15.

  • Plug & Sense! with LoRaWAN radio is certified for Europe (CE), USA (FCC) and Canada (IC), while LoRa is not certified.

As well as the LoRaWAN to Base Station mode, the modules may be used in two different more configurations.

  • P2P Mode - Direct Communication between nodes (LAN Interface)

  • Hybrid Mode - LoRaWAN / P2P (P2P + GW to LoRaWAN Network)

  • In the P2P Mode nodes may connect directly among them and send messages directly at no cost (as they are not using the LoRaWAN Network but just direct radio communication). This is useful as we can create secondary networks at any time as we don’t need to change the firmware but just use specific AT Commands in the current library. This mode works without the need of a Base Station or a Cloud account so in case you don’t want to purchase any license (or renew the license after the initial period) you will be able to keep on using the modules this way. For more info go to the section P2P Mode.

In the Hybrid Mode we use a combination of the LoRaWAN and P2P modes allowing to send just certain messages using the LoRaWAN Network. In this case we use one node as GW of the network (P2P + LoRaWAN mode) and the rest of the nodes in P2P mode. This mode may work using just one LoRaWAN License. For more info go to the section Hybrid Mode.

• All documents and any examples they contain are provided as-is and are subject to change without notice. Except to the extent prohibited by law, Libelium makes no express or implied representation or warranty of any kind with regard to the documents, and specifically disclaims the implied warranties and conditions of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

• The information on Libelium’s websites has been included in good faith for general informational purposes only. It should not be relied upon for any specific purpose and no representation or warranty is given as to its accuracy or completeness.

Technology overview

LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated devices in regional, national or global network. LoRaWAN target key requirements of Internet of things such as secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services. This standard will provide seamless interoperability among smart Things without the need of complex local installations and gives back the freedom to the user, developer, businesses enabling the role out of Internet of Things.

LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the back-end. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways.

Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of “virtual” channels increasing the capacity of the gateway. To maximize both battery life of the enddevices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.

National wide networks targeting Internet of Things such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption:

  • Network Session Key (128-bit key) ensures security on network level

  • Application Session Key (128-bit key) ensures end-to-end security on application level

  • Application Key (128-bit key) ensures end-to-end security on application level (only OTAA procedure)

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