Filtering Noise

LoRa’s Got Game

NB-IoT is not the only game in town. Another technology that is clearly making a name for itself is LoRa.

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A few months back, I wrote a column titled, Narrowband-IoT Proves its Worth,” explaining how Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) technology is shaping up to be a key player in the Internet of Things (IoT) game. But of course, NB-IoT is not the only game in town. Another technology that is clearly making a name for itself is LoRa.

As I wrote last year, LoRa derives its name from its ability to enable “long-range” communications. It essentially achieves longer range at the expense of lower data rates. In North America, LoRaWAN networks operate in the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) frequency band from 902 to 928 MHz, while Europe uses the frequency band from 867 to 869 MHz.

LoRa, which was developed by Semtech, is based on spread spectrum technology. Currently, Semtech offers the SX127X LoRa transceiver product line, as well as the SX1301 digital baseband chip. More information regarding LoRa can be found on the company’s IoT page.

The LoRa Alliance is an open, non-profit association of members. Its goal is to standardize low-power-wide-area-networks (LPWANs) that are being deployed worldwide. Currently, the Alliance consists of hundreds of member from all across the world.

Narrowband IoT

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Two companies—both of which are LoRa Alliance members—recently made announcements regarding LoRa. For one, Anritsu announced it intends to create new test and measurement solutions for research and development, certification, and manufacturing of LoRa-equipped IoT devices. Some of the company’s general-purpose test instruments can be adapted to meet IoT requirements.

In addition, Ethertronics recently made news by announcing its plug-and-play LoRa module for LPWAN connectivity. It takes advantage of the company’s Active Steering technology to bring long-range performance to IoT/M2M applications.

On a final note, anyone interested in learning more about NB-IoT and LoRa may want to check out the white paper, NB-IoT vs. LoRa Technology: Which Could Take Gold? The paper discusses technical differences between both technologies and reviews how each fits into different IoT applications.

Editor’s Note: On another topic, those in the Long Island, N.Y., area should take note of the Long Island RF/Microwave Symposium & Exhibits on April 6.

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