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What Is the Real Purpose of LoRa Communication Systems?

LoRa is a low-power wireless communication technology that is intended to operate over long distances. Moreover, it provides low data rate connectivity over long distances. It’s an RF modulation technology. It’s suitable for long-range communications, such as 15 kilometers in rural areas and up to 5 km in urban areas.

The best thing about LoRa-based solutions is their low power requirements. Therefore, these battery-operated devices can easily last for up to 10 years. So, if you want to know about LoRa and its classification, this article is for you.

How Does LoRa Operate?

LoRa devices operate at the sub-gigahertz spectrum. Although the available bands are narrow, and there are some strict rules by the government as well for these bands, they’re still useful for long-range data transfer.

LoRa chips have specific bands, and their frequencies differ from region to region. For example, LoRa radio devices in Asia and South America operate at 915-928 MHz, while in Europe; they operate at 863-870/873 MHz. So, keeping this in mind, you can ask your chip manufacturer to reprogram the chip according to the specific region requirements.

Typical Applications of LoRa

This wireless technology can be used in a variety of applications. Its long-range and low-power capabilities ensure that you can deploy end points in various places. For example, if you deploy the inside the building or outside, it can still communicate with the gateway. Due to these characteristics, they can be used for M2M and IoT applications.

Some common applications of LoRa are:

  • Automotive industry
  • Smart Metering
  • Utility applications
  • Inventory tracking

In fact, anywhere you need data control and reporting, LoRa technology can help. More importantly, it’s easy to deploy and use. Therefore, most people prefer it over other technologies.

LoRa Device Classifications

LoRa Device Classifications

Now, you’re familiar with LoRa technology and how it operates. Let’s explore LoRa device classifications.

Class A – Bidirectional and Lowest Power End Devices

This class is supported by all LoRaWAN end devices. The end device always initiates Class A communication, and it’s fully asynchronous. It gives an opportunity for bidirectional communication by sending one uplink transmission at any time.

Two downlink windows follow this uplink transmission. Class A is an ALOHA type of protocol. Class A ending devices can enter low power sleep mode and remain in this mode for as long as defined by its application.

More importantly, for periodic wake-ups, it doesn’t need any network. It means it’s the lowest power operating mode.

You need to understand one thing. As mentioned earlier, downlink communication is followed by an uplink transmission which is defined by the end-device application. Therefore, downlink communication must buffer at the network server until the next uplink event starts.

Class B – Devices Are Synchronized to the Network

These devices are synchronized to the network by using periodic beacons. They can communicate with an open downlink at scheduled times. Moreover, it enables the network to send downlink communication with deterministic latency. But it can be done at the cost of some extra power consumption.

Don’t worry about extra power consumption because it’s still valid for battery-powered applications. Moreover, the downlink latency is programmable for up to 128 seconds. Therefore, it can suit different applications.

Class C – Bidirectional Lowest Latency End Devices

It keeps the device on all the time, even if the device isn’t transmitting. Class A uplink followed by two downlink windows; this class C further reduces the latency on the downlink. It has the lowest latency because the downlink transmission can get started at any time. It’s mainly because the network server assumes that the end-device receiver is open.

It’s best suited for applications where power supply is continuously available. The end device receiver drains up to 50 mW. Battery-powered devices can switch between class A and C but only for intermittent tasks.

Differences between Class A, Class B, and Class C

LoRa Class A LoRa Class B LoRa Class C
Bidirectional communications Bidirectional communications with scheduled receive slots Bidirectional communications
Small Payloads, long intervals Small Payloads, a periodic beacon from the gateway Small Payloads
Battery powered Low latency No latency
End-device Uplink initiates communication Downlink initiate communication at scheduled times A server can initiate transmission at any time
Unicast messages Unicast and multicast messages Unicast and multicast messages
Lowest power consumption More power consumption than class A Heavy battery drainage

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed how LoRa operates and its applications. Moreover, we have explained LoRa classifications in the simplest way. So, now you can easily differentiate between LoRa classes and find out which one is best for you. So, if you need any help regarding LoRa devices or applications, you can contact Arshon Technology. We’ve been using LoRa technology for a long time and can help you with everything related to LoRa.

Author: Eli(Elnaz) Sadafi, IoT design engineer @ Arshon technology.