LoRa Solutions Make Low-Power Wide-Area Networks Possible
LoRa is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) communications technology. It uses the sub-GHz frequency band of frequencies below 1 GHz, and can cover a wide area with low power consumption.
LoRa is based on chirp spread spectrum modulation, and realizes a maximum transmission rate of 11 kbps and a maximum transmission distance of around 20 km. LoRa supports a wider transmission area than Wi-SUN. The LoRaWAN™ specification for networks is an open global standard maintained by the LoRa Alliance™, an open non-profit association.
Applications of LoRa Solutions
LoRa is suitable for wireless data communications that send small amounts of data over long distances at a low data rate periodically or not so frequently.
- Gas meter
- Water flow meter
- Vending machine data collection
- Structural change notification
- Building/parking facility management
- Warehouse inventory management
- Agriculture/livestock management
- Livestock feeding management
- Livestock location monitoring
- Healthcare data management
- People tracking
Low Power LoRa Solutions
One of Renesas’ solutions comprises a low power RL78 Family microcontroller (MCU) and a LoRa transceiver (Semtech SX1261/SX1262) for low power operation. This solution contributes to the realization of IoT sensor end-devices with long battery life.
|Example of connection between Renesas RL78/G14 and Semtech SX1261/2||-|
Software for Ease of Design
Renesas offers software for controlling a LoRa transceiver (Semtech SX1261/SX1262) using a low power RL78/G14 MCU. Two software packages are available. For applications that require interoperability, there is the LoRaWAN protocol stack based on the LoRaWAN specification. Control is performed using AT commands. For applications for which interoperability is not necessary, there is the LoRa radio driver for custom protocol implementation.
Wireless Communication Tools for Ease of Evaluation
Renesas offers tools that make evaluating characteristics easy. Renesas LoRa® Studio can perform continuous CW/Modulation transmission, PER (Packet Error Rate) / BER (Bit Error Rate) measurement, and RSSI measurement. It also has a sniffer function that captures LoRa/GFSK modulation frames over the air and displays analysis results. Renesas also offers a tool that estimates power consumption.
The development of LPWA wireless networks continues to progress with the proliferation of IoT. Various standardization and promotion organizations are making vigorous efforts to create specifications and promote widespread adoption of their specifications to create a global IoT market.
The LoRa Alliance is advancing LoRaWAN standardization and its promotion, and is engaged in efforts to develop low-power wide-area wireless networks that use frequency bands that do not require licensing.
Renesas is a contributor member of the LoRa Alliance, and will continue to contribute to both the standardization and promotion activities of LoRaWAN, which is expected to further expand in the future.
LoRaWAN networks simplify system building. LoRaWAN is a wireless specification that achieves low-power wide-area (LPWA) wireless networks for the Internet of Things (IoT) as an open global standard.