The Best Choice is LoRaWAN

07/12/2021

When you’re thinking about building an IoT network for your facility, the choices can seem endless and complex: BTLE, ZigBee, Z-Wave, LoRaWAN, Wi-Fi, Cellular (3G, 4G, LTE, 5G, etc.)…

Understanding how they differ and what the benefits and tradeoffs are can be confusing and making the right decision can seem challenging. Similarly, when Vutility set out to build an innovative IoT solution for commercial and industrial energy monitoring we had to weigh the options and determine which communication protocol will best meet the needs of our product and our customers.

LoRaWAN is the best long-range, inexpensive, and secure network modulation technique. LoRaWAN is low power and wide-area networking protocol that wirelessly connects battery operated things to the internet in regional, national, or global networks. It’s ranked more beneficial than Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee in three categories. LoRaWAN targets key IoT requirements, unlike its competitors. The bi-directional communication, end to end security, mobility, and localization services are what make it stand out with security, reach, and range. 

SECURITY

LoRaWAN security uses two keys and algorithms to provide advanced security and authorization. One unique 128-bit Network Session Key shares information between the end device and network server, and the other 12-bit Application Session Key shares end-to-end at the application level. The algorithms used provide authentication and end-to-end encryption to the application server, as well as make it possible to implement multi-tenant networks. This gives the operator visibility of the user’s payload data. Unlike LoRaWAN, security for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee use basic and low encryptions for security. This leaves a bigger risk for hackers to infiltrate data. LoRaWAN has the fastest real-time data with the safest security to monitor company assets.

RANGE

LoRaWAN has an extremely long range with worldwide coverage. In open land, the range is up to 9.9 miles and up to 3.1 miles in dense urban environments. LoRaWAN has the most public and private deployments across the globe. Wi-Fi range is extremely limited to the home or environment it covers. Wi-Fi range is limited by frequency, transmission power, antenna type, and location, and it can traditionally only reach up to 150ft indoors and 300ft outdoors. Bluetooth range is approximately 30ft. The maximum range varies based on environment and obstacles such as walls, concrete, floors, etc. Zigbee has the closest comparison to the LoRaWAN range but only manages to range 98ft to 328ft. It’s a line-of-sight distance for the range of Zigbee. LoRaWAN ranges hundreds of feet further than its competitors.

REACH

LoRaWAN can reach through merely any environmental obstacles. Unlike LoRaWAN, Zigbee is a short-range protocol, Wi-Fi can only reach the home it is covering, and Bluetooth reaches any device close enough to pair. Unfortunately, all these alternatives can’t provide a successful protocol that can penetrate through surfaces without blocking data. LoRaWAN can penetrate through concrete, walls, floors, and other surfaces that typically block data communication. There is no limit to data communication at high elevations points, or low points underground. 

LoRaWAN is the most secure, reliable, long-range network protocol for all your business monitoring needs. Its unique security measures protect more than just basic coverage, the reach can pierce through data-blocking surfaces, and the range is immensely larger than any of the competitors. Any company can obtain the data they need to optimize and improve internal processes and efficiency.

To learn more about LoRaWAN protocol visit https://www.semtech.com/lora/lorawan-standard.