How Does LPWAN Benefit Wireless Networking?

Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) are a specialized category of wireless networks designed to cater specifically to the requirements of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These networks prioritize maximum coverage, reduced costs, and minimal power consumption. LPWANs have emerged as the fastest-growing wireless network technology within the realm of cellular IoT. 

LPWAN Application in IoT 

  • The list is unlimited, and below are just several examples: 

  • Smart metering 

  • Infrastructure monitoring 

  • Security surveillance 

  • Manhole covers 

  • Fire hydrants 

  • Post Services 

LPWAN Types 

  • LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) operates on specific unlicensed frequency bands that vary from country to country. These networks have relatively low bandwidths and limited message allowances per day due to duty cycle regulations. LoRaWANs are commonly employed in scenarios where other networks have inadequate coverage, such as remote locations. While being an open standard, the IP for LoRaWAN-supporting chipsets is held by Semtech. With more than 160 LoRaWAN public network operators globally and numerous private networks, including those deployed by cities and corporations, LoRaWAN has connected over 225 million devices as of early 2022

  • Sigfox is a French company that develops LPWANs using proprietary technology. These networks, known as "ultra narrowband," use small frequency bands. It supports minimal throughput, with short uplink and downlink message sizes and limited message frequency per day. However, Sigfox imposes strict limitations on the number and size of messages that can be transmitted each day. This makes it less suitable for applications requiring frequent or large data transfers 

  • Nb-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) is a cellular network that leverages licensed bands within the radio frequency spectrum. It allows carriers to utilize unused frequency bands or guard bands. Nb-IoT was specifically designed to address power consumption issues associated with traditional cellular connectivity. It offers power-saving modes and extended intervals between signaling updates, enabling devices to operate for extended periods on a single battery charge.  NB-IoT can achieve a longer battery life of up to 10 years, catering to specific applications. 

  • LTE-M (Long-Term Evolution Machine Type Communication), is an extension of LTE-M technology. Similar to Nb-IoT, it incorporates power-saving features but offers higher data rates and faster transmission speeds. This makes LTE-M suitable for firmware updates and applications requiring larger data packages. It benefits from the extensive coverage of 4G networks and is particularly suitable for mobile applications like asset tracking, law enforcement body cams, and analytics-driven devices.