Lora: how does the IoT network work?, Lorawan: All about the Lora network – Operation and advantages

Lora: All about this network widely used in the IoT Universe

In the second, contributors, there are once again big names like La Poste, Gemalto and telephone operators like Swisscom or KT Telecom, based in South Korea. This time the members are 25.

Lora: how does the IoT network work ?

Lora: How does the IoT network work?

Lorawan. Promoted by the Lora alliance, Lorawan networks allow 225 million connected objects to exchange small data packets worldwide.

  • Lora
  • Lorawan
  • Network coverage
  • How to deploy a network
  • Lora vs sigfox
  • Lora alliance
  • Lorawan in home automation

What is Lora ?

LORA is the name given to the radios wave modulation technology on which long range and low speed Lorawan networks are based. This technology was created by French engineers from the Grenoble Start-up Cycleo. The company, founded in 2009, was bought in 2012 for $ 21 million by the American semiconductors Semtech specialist. The Lorawan network was born from this acquisition. “Lorawan is a protocol while Lora refers to the physical layer of the network,” said Rémi Lorrain, director of the Lorawan network at Semtech.

Semtech holds the intellectual property of the Lora chips which must be fixed on connected objects so that they communicate on the network. Their manufacturers pay him royalties.

What is Lorawan ?

Lorawan is a radio telecommunications protocol allowing the communication at low speed of connected objects. He emits in France on the frequency band 868 megahertz. The radio signal is issued on a large spectral width, to limit the risk of interference as much as possible with parasitic signals.

This communication protocol makes it possible to send data indoor (indoor), in the basement (Deep Indoor) and outdoors (outdoor). Lorawan is part of the category of LPWAN networks (Low Power Wide Area Network, or Low Range Long -range Network, in French). Information can thus pass on longer distances than on traditional telecom networks. A connected object in Lorawan can send a message to a terminal located at a distance of approximately 1 kilometer in urban areas and 20 kilometers in a plane rural area.

Unlike conventional mobile networks, such as 4G or 5G, which can transport large amounts of information, Lorawan can only circulate small packets of data, emitted by temperature or humidity sensors for example. It can be transit between 0.3 and 50 kilobits per second (the network flow adapts to each object so as not to snack too much bandwidth).

What is the cover of the Lorawan networks ?

Each Lorawan operator has their own network and therefore their own coverage card. 181 operators worldwide (figure of 2023) offer a Lorawan network in more than 162 countries, for example in the United States (with Senet and Semtech), Belgium (Proximus and Wireless Belgie), Switzerland (Swisscom), or In South Africa (Fastnet).

A Lorawan Open Source network called The Things Network is deployed in 89 countries. In September 2023, he recorded the connection of 1.5 million devices to its infrastructure. “For a network to be defined as having national coverage, it must cover 80% of the country’s population with outdoor quality quality. In Europe, twelve operators have reached this level, “explains Rémi Lorrain, director of the Lorawan network at Semtech, during a webinar organized by Chipselect.

According to the Lora alliance, public networks have increased growth of 66% between 2019 and 2022. Satellite, community and license -free network operators are drivers of this expansion. In France, Orange Business has announced continuing to support the development and deployment of new IoT projects by extending its Lorawan network beyond 2027. Around the world, Orange connects and manages 36.4 million connected objects, including 16.4 million in France.

How to deploy a Lorawan network and what is the role of the antennas ?

Connected objects using Lora technology are connected to the Internet via bridges, or Gateway in English. Concretely, to deploy a Lorawan network, public or private operators install basic stations with antennas manufactured by telecom equipment manufacturers. These devices must be connected to the Internet to send the data on the canvas they receive, so that they can be consulted by companies and individuals who use connected objects in Lora. These objects located near these antennas are equipped with a Lora chip, which allows them to periodically connect to the network to send or receive information. More than a million gateway are deployed worldwide, according to Semtech figures.

Lora vs sigfox: what differences ?

Impossible to quote Lora without mentioning her main competitor, Sigfox. While the first is an open network (open source), which can be developed and operated by any company as soon as it buys Lora fleas, the second is the owner. It has been developed and is deployed worldwide by the eponymous Toulouse company (bought in 2021 by its operator Unabiz, editor’s note). The Sigfox network is present in 75 countries.

Lora alliance

To promote its technology, Semtech created the Lora Alliance in March 2015 with fifteen partner companies, including IBM, Microchip or Actility. It has more than 500 member companies. The Lora alliance has been chaired since 2018 by Donna Moore, who previously chaired the American company Spirespark, who designs, builds and manages global certification and compliance programs since 2018, who has previously chaired.

The organization certifies the sensors and other connected objects made by its members and boarding Lora. The Lora alliance also develops the standardization of the protocol and studies new versions allowing the update of remote connected objects (FUOTA). At the end of November 2022, the Lora alliance, for example, made available the Lorawan certification for connected objects using SCC, compression technology and fragmentation of IPv6 packets (Static Context Header Compression).

By multiplying the number of operators and users of its technology, Semtech hopes that it will become the main LPWAN network and that it will impose itself as the de facto standard.

Lorawan in home automation

In the smart house sphere, connected objects mainly use WiFi or Bluetooth networks. However, the actors of the Lora alliance are interested in this sector because of the opportunities offered with the development of electric vehicles. More and more applications are developed to communicate the vehicle and the house. The Lorawan network is also appropriate to ensure a rescue network in the house (read our article on this subject).

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Lora: All about this network widely used in the IoT Universe

Lora Alliance

The fourth industrial revolution, IoT needs efficient networks. All telecommunications players are called upon to play a role in the implementation of these new technologies. In France, two networks are particularly highlighted: Sigfox and Lora.

The latter chosen by Bouygues Telecom interests us particularly. In this file we will explain all the ins and outs of Lora: how does he work ? What is it used for ? What are his possibilities ?

Contents

Introduction to the Lora network in Bouygues

Lora logo

Definition of lora

The Lora network means long range or “long range” in French. This is a technology that allows connected objects to exchange low -size data at the bottom. First impact, this reduces the energy consumption of devices, giving them up to 10 years of autonomy.

This technology uses both 868 MHz free radio frequencies and internet. Little delicious in flow and energy, it has the advantage of being very economical for the end user and presents, moreover, an excellent penetration capacity of buildings, cellars and basements.

Lora incorporates the internet of objects (IoT or Ido) by the machine to machine or m2m communication field. Here is the definition of the IoT Olivier Ezratti expert on his blog:

“The“ Machine to Machine ”(M2M) telecommunications networks are networks dedicated to communication between connected objects (IoT for“ Internet of Things ”) and Internet infrastructure (smartphones, servers, data-centers, cloud, etc.) exploit the data they generate or even manage it when it is active ”

In fact, LORA, this is the name given to the modulation technology of the LoRAWAN protocol (long Wide -Area or long -range extensive network). It was created in 2012 following the purchase by the American company Semtech of the startup of Grenoble Cycleo. Semtech exploits it via its Lora Alliance platform.

Lora Alliance

Announced in January and then created in March 2015, the Alliance is responsible for promoting the interoperability of the various telecoms networks and standardizing long-distance radio-technologies called LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Networks).

Lora Alliance includes many players with various activities, from small to large company. Their goal, to promote the adoption of this technology with companies while improving collaboration between the various contributors.

It is divided into three groups of members: sponsors, contributors and members. In the first, we mainly find equipment manufacturers like Cisco, IBM, ST, Sagemcom, Kerlink (Rennes company), but also operators like Actility, Bouygues Telecom or Qowizio. In total, there are 18 sponsor members who mostly sit on the board of directors. Stéphane Allaire, president of Objenious and Olivier Hersent, founder and CTO of Actility are part of it.

In the second, contributors, there are once again big names like La Poste, Gemalto and telephone operators like Swisscom or KT Telecom, based in South Korea. This time the members are 25.

The last subgroup of Lora Alliance has a large number of Asian companies among its ranks. For our part, we recognize the W6Labs logo, a Rennes startup specializing in smart grids and the German group Bosch. Here, there are 184 registrants, among which we must not forget Schneider Electric and Arm. In total, 33 operators support the Alliance initiative.

Unlike 3G or 4G type networks based on an IP protocol, Lora therefore uses protocol called Lorawan. Uncomperely, it allows you to configure the emission/reception cycle in continuous mode. Lora is a long -range network of flow between 0.3 and 50kbps, it is a lower flow than 2G.

Objective

The displayed objective of Lora Alliance is to ensure that connected objects and M2M applications can operate in perfect harmony within the future connected city.

Launch of the LORA network by Bouygues

Lora Inauguration Angers

After an experiment carried out in Grenoble, Bouygues Télécom made the launch in June 2015 of the first French network dedicated to connected objects based on Lora technology. He announced it during CES (Consumer Electronics Show) of 2015.

Founding member of the Lora alliance, Bouygues Télécom is the first French operator to commercially deploy this technology recognized worldwide as the most successful in the field of theInternet of Things.

Goals

By marketing this network, Bouygues Télécom participates in the deployment of Lora around the world. This network allows the emergence of new services, in particular the intelligent management of resources, predictive maintenance, monitoring of supplies and stocks, the location of objects/pets or the medical monitoring of people.

The expansion of the Lora network

Many companies have already chosen to experience the Lora network for various purposes. Colas, the btp subsidiary of Bouygues specializing in road planning, already uses it for the management of parking spaces using sensors installed on the roadway.

Schneider Electric, a company that manufactures electricity management products, measures energy consumption as part of the Issy Grid project.

For Olivier Roussat, CEO of Bouygues Telecom:

” Lhe Deployment of the Lora network of Bouygues Telecom is advancing at a very good pace based on its know-how of operators and its 15,000 sites. Many customers have already registered to experiment with technology in real conditions. This marks confidence in chosen technology»».

Functioning Bouygues Lora technology

Lora targets

The Lora network in Bouygues aims to link Connected objects. It is actually a modulation technology to reduce the costs and the electrical consumption of the devices connecting to it. Therefore, the latter would have a longer battery life, from three to five years depending on the use case. It is a considerable asset for tracers for example.

Signals

The signals issued by Lora are capable of crossing buildings, but also reaching deep rooms such as cellars and basements. This characteristic is interesting to locate valuables kept in difficult to access areas. Technology is particularly profiled for industrial applications. Maintenance technicians no longer necessarily need to risk their safety to obtain crucial data.

The differences between Lora and other networks

IBM Puce Lora

The Lora network is easier to access than Sigfox

Unlike its Sigfox competitor, Lora is an open network. Any business can therefore create its own network to operate it. To do this, an antenna connected to the Internet (by Wi-Fi, Ethernet cable, 3G connection, etc.) with a base station emitting in France on the 868 MHz band. The network may be private or public depending on the field of application. A company will prefer to protect the data transmitted. Note that the available frequency band changes by country. In the United States, for example, the frequency band used for the Lora network is 915 MHz.

Connected objects must be equipped with a lora chip which allows them to receive the antenna signal. A receiver of this type costs around 7 euros per unit, much less if the order is important. But without a gateway and without compatible antenna, the operation of the network is impossible. Operators act mainly at this level.

The power of the flow

The power of the Lora network flow is much lower than that of 3G. It is about a flow between 0.3 to 50 kbps as needed. This flow automatically adapts to the needs of objects in order to limit the use of bandwidth and therefore consumption.

It is, all the same, amply sufficient to transmit some figures indicating, for example, a consumption of water on a counter. Transmission is not continuously, that is, technology is not suitable for real-time monitoring of data.

His concept

Lora technology plays mainly on energy saving for objects in themselves. It intends to respond to IoT issues by providing bidirectional links between the object and the collection network for several kilometers away with low consumption. This also makes it possible to exchange information with the devices, to not only receive information, but also to give it simple orders: activation at a fixed time, verification of systems, etc.

Lora vs sigfox: the advantages of the Lora network in Bouygues

Lora Bouygues Alliance

Lora technology has specific properties. This makes it one of the most successful technologies in the IoT field, allowing it to be used in a multitude of areas and uses.

Lorawan: a multifunctional protocol

The important energy saving is possible thanks to the Lorawan protocol with its three operating modes.

The first allows an object to send information to an antenna and then receive it immediately after sending. If the server wants to send information to the object, he will have to wait for the next shipping cycle. We think for example of water meters which send the data regularly and spaced in time. It’s the least energy -consuming mode.

The second allows the connected object to receive data at regular intervals and configured in advance.

Finally the last allows the receiver to receive continuous data. The latter turns out to be the most energy -consuming. However, the possibilities of combinations are numerous and network technology does not erase another. Most solutions combine LORA network, Bluetooth and WiFi features with data transmission through cellular network.

What is the difference between Lora and Lorawan ?

The terms Lora and Lorawan are often confused, they however evoke two very distinct things. First of all, as we saw above, Lora is a technology that allows connected objects to exchange, to communicate with each other. Therefore, it is the equivalent of a data transmission signal. However, this must be done while respecting a certain protocol. This protocol can, for example, be Lorawan. It is he who dictates the rules that the Lora network must respect in a defined space or an infrastructure. Lorawan is the fruit of the Lora Alliance which wanted to standardize the use of the Lora signal.

Easier geolocation

Sigfox does not have a precise geolocation, despite the presence in its catalog of the “Spot’it” offer. In fact, this clarification reaches only 1 kilometer of distance in France. This will not be the case for Lora. It will of course depend on the expansion of the network throughout French territory and the methods of triangularization implemented. The higher the density of compatible antennas mesh, the more precise the network used by Bouygues. Objenious wishes to descend below 100 meters.

A goal it achieved and even exceeded at the end of 2017 with its geolocation offer. Using the antennas present in cities, objenious can geolocate an object connected to the nearest 50 meters. The triangularization method is based on the transmission of a signal of a connected object towards several antennas coupled to mathematical solvers which will horror the arrival of the signal and establish a time/space ratio to assess the position of a sensor. The supplier of the operated network obtains a precision of 100 meters in the dense area and 250 meters in rural areas. The offer is available in France from 3 euros per year and per sensor.

The Lora certification program

A few months after announcing the publication of the specifications of its Lorawan R1 protocol.0, the Lora alliance now announces that it opens its certification program, which will be compulsory.

Its objective is to guarantee that the object connected via this certified network through this process obeys the functional constraints of the Lorawan standard and that it successfully passed the tests of the Enddevice Certification Requirements published by the Alliance.

This certification may be obtained on condition of using the accredited test laboratory such as the IMST and Espotel companies which have already been validated by the Lora alliance in this context.

Bouygues Telecom opens at the IoT

objenious

Bouygues is a diversified industrial group structured by a strong corporate culture. It was created in 1952 by the founder Francis Bouygues.

The group’s work is organized around three axes, including:

  • Telecommunication with Bouygues Telecom,
  • Media with TF1,
  • BTP with Colas, Bouygues Immobilier and Bouygues Construction.

The Long -range Lora network therefore enters the services of Bouygues Télécom and the operator wishes to make its customers fully benefit from it.

The company currently covers 99 % of the territory in 2 g and 97 % in 3 g+. It also provides them with a 4G national network today on 71 % of the territory. This concerns 45 million French people distributed in more than 2,700 cities.

Lora cover card

For this M2M network dedicated to the IoT, the group intends to reproduce this scenario. The goal cover 50% of the population from mid-2016, the entire territory at the end of the year. 4000 antennas were to be installed to complete this project. In January 2017, the operator claims to have installed 4020 branches which cover 84 % of the territory and 93 % of the population. Nearly 30,000 municipalities thus benefit from the LORA network in Bouygues. From a technical point of view, those installed in rural areas are 20 km, while in town it is limited to 1 km.

In January 2018, the operator had 4,300 antennas that will be supported by Arteria. This RTE telecom subsidiary will take advantage of the pylons managed by its parent company to install 1000 additional antennas. This coverage can be improved thanks to a “Coverage on Demand” offer which consists in offering mini gateways combining 4G and Lora. Each gateway lengthens the range of two kilometers.

For the moment, Lora is offered to B2B customers, from professionals to special needs. On this occasion, the operator created the Objenious subsidiary. This is entirely devoted to the development of IoT in France and in the world.

One of the first objectives for the operator, the United States. Objenious now covers 225 cities in 23 American states. In Europe, Germany will soon be served thanks to the partnership with the operator Digimondo.

To fill its offer, the group provides for a “cloud based” platform in order to process, storing en masse, and visualizing the data produced by objects and sensors.

The French startup Wistiki will use this technology in its next range of connected trackers. But many other applications are possible. Indeed, the bouygues subsidiary evokes around thirty main customers.

At the end of 2017, the Objenious subsidiary announced that it had achieved a turnover of 2 million euros, four times more than the previous year.

Lora and her areas of application

Lora Wistiki Connected tracer

Due to its technical features, the LORA network can be used in many fields. Here are some examples distributed by large section.

Environment

  • Smart Environment : This is about prevention of accidents and natural disasters. One can imagine the possibility of detecting fires, measuring air pollution, or for example the level of snow. It can be used for avalanches, floods and drought. The detection of earthquakes is also a possibility.
  • Smart Metering/ Smart Grid : This category corresponds to intelligent electric/water/gas meters, monitoring installations. This allows you to monitor water flow, calculate stock in silos, etc.
  • Smart Water : This sub -section of smart metering is dedicated to monitoring drinking water, detection of chemical contaminations, monitoring of swimming pools, to measure the level of pollution of the seas and oceans, to detect leaks, to follow floods. On this subject, partnerships are intensifying. The community of communes of the country of Apt Luberon is working on a remote succession service for its 10.000 water meters thanks to the Lora network.

Everyday life

  • Tracking : this network can be used to draw vehicles, bicycle to the car, values ​​of values, animals, people, etc.
  • Security and help : Thanks to geolocation, it is possible to do presence analysis in dangerous/prohibited areas, detect presence of dangerous liquids, the level of radiation, or even to identify explosive substances ..
  • Trade : Stores can control the supply chain, develop intelligent payment and shopping, manage the rotation of products on the shelves, etc.
  • Home automation and intelligent buildings : By adapting this technology to buildings, it promotes centralized control of electricity and water consumption, and associated with the appropriate boxes, it makes it possible to detect intrusions, smoke, to communicate with alarm systems.
  • esanté : In the hospital and pharmaceutical sector, it can accommodate a drug storage system, patient monitoring/radiation/ultraviolet,
  • Smart Cities : smart car park, sound monitoring, detection of people, traffic management, public lighting, household waste, public display require a network like this.

Some possible applications in the professional environment

  • Smart Agriculture : Vine follow -up, greenhouse monitoring, field irrigation control, weather station, compost follow -up, animal tracking ..
  • Intelligent animal farms : Traceability of cattle, monitoring of toxic gas level, monitoring of animal development, monitoring of hydroponic crops, etc.
  • Logistics : Monitoring of transport conditions, parcel location, detection of storage incompatibility, fleet traceability, etc.
  • Industrial control : Machine monitoring, equipment status, indoor air quality, temperature monitoring, ozone level detection, equipment location, vehicle diagnosis, etc.

Competition is already on the alert

Orange launches its IoT network thanks to Lora

If Bouygues is the first French operator to deploy a Lora network dedicated to connected objects, it is closely followed by its direct competitor.

While the implementation is already operational in the Paris region, in Grenoble and Angers, Orange has already confirmed its desire to return to this market.

He already announced at the end of November 2015 his desire to deploy this technology in 17 cities in France during the year 2016. The country’s first operator will end the coverage of the territory in 2017.

He wishes to extend this system to other countries where it is already present, in Europe and Africa. The competition is launched, but it is also necessary to note the strength of the Sigfox network already installed for 1 year on a large part of French territory and eleven other countries. There is therefore a lot to deal with a well -established network, therefore mainly used by companies.

The Lorawan network in homelessness available in more than 25 countries

With the Connectu initiative, the Lora Alliance counts accelerate the roaming of its network across Europe. These are all members of the Lorawan Alliance interested in this option that collaborate. This in order to guarantee an active commitment to the participants and actors of the network. It is also above all a means of make Lorawan accessible and simple to use in a large number of different countries.

However, to reach global coverage, it is necessary that the networks will interfere. This then allows the devices to move in a fluid way and without catchphrase through the territories where Lorawan is present. This is a major asset for the transport, monitoring and logistics sectors.

Lorawan is sorely lacking in safety

In 2020, a group of safety experts published an alarming security report on Lorawan, radio technology operating in addition to the LORA owner protocol. This technology is a target of choice for cyber attacks. In addition, configuration errors are frequent. Even though it happens to be booming and particularly popular in connected devices developers, data dissemination at Lorawan is vulnerable in terms of its security.

To fill the configuration and flaw errors of this technology, the expert group recommends that users to audit brand devices and networks. In addition, deploying additional security would be useful and even necessary for effective data processing.

Lorawan as an alternative to 5G for the IoT

5G will revolutionize the universe of the Internet of Things, allowing in particular real -time responsiveness. This technology offers Unprecedented speed and signal quality, to speed up data exchanges between connected objects of 50%. This mobile network could therefore become a new standard in terms of connectivity.

However, it will take several years for this technology to cover the whole planet. Thus, Ericsson believes that we will have to wait 2025 so that 5G is accessible to two thirds world’s population.

Even In Europe, the introduction of 5G in each city is an operation at the cost estimated at 500 billion euros by the European Commission. In addition, the public is generally not very enthusiastic and rather suspicious of this new network. According to a survey conducted by GSMA, only 11 to 23% Europeans plan to acquire a 5G smartphone as soon as possible.

Pending the democratization of 5G, Lorawan could serve as a temporary solution. Often neglected, this technology available for 5 years, however, presents itself as a solid alternative.

Less fast than 5G, but less greedy in infrastructure

Lora/Lorawan technology allows most of the tasks authorized by 5G. The only difference is that it is slower, but also cheaper.

Its speed goes from 0.3kbps to 27kbps. It therefore takes several hours to transmit an image … and several decades for the streaming of a film.

That said, this technology initially developed For industrial industrial sensors offers many advantages. It is particularly suitable for data transmission such as temperature, humidity, vibrations or brightness.

The Lora protocol and the Lorawan network are based on LPWAN technology, which allows the devices to communicate over long distances and even through separate buildings. In addition, these devices enjoy better autonomy than those operating 4G or 5G. A LORA device can operate up to 10 years between two battery recharges, against only a few hours for a 5G device.

LPWAN’s other major advantage is that it does not require vast infrastructure, unlike 5G. This technology works on compact and affordable devices, even less expensive than 4G. A Lora sensor costs between $ 0.2 and $ 0.5 against minimum $ 30 for a 5G sensor.

There Lora’s scope is also much higher than 5G. A Lora station generally costs $ 40 and can support thousands of connections over a radius of 15 kilometers. In comparison, a 5G station would cost $ 60,000 and could only support 1,000 connections over a range of 2 kilometers.

Since its creation in 2015, Lorawan has evolved a lot. This technology is deployed in more than 100 countries, and 80 million devices are connected to Lorawan. Almost 75% of IoT applications use LPWAN. The Lora Alliance now has more than 500 members.

Due to these many advantages, Lora technology is undoubtedly Excellent temporary alternative to 5G. Subsequently, these two networks should cohabit without difficulty ..

Objenious and Lorawan, it’s soon over

At the beginning of 2022, Objenious taught its customers the upcoming stop of its offers using the Lorawan protocol. Indeed, from December 2024 the French operator will no longer offer the Lora network. Indeed, after having set up national coverage for NB-IoT and LTE-M networks, Bouygues Telecom intends to focus on these protocols. They are considering the future of the IoT.