Why do IoT deployments need Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs)?

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. Appeared in 2013, the technology belongs to a class of wireless technologies that meet the needs of machine-to-machine communication and IoT devices.

LPWAN stands for Low Power Wide Area Network. Appeared in 2013, the technology belongs to a class of wireless technologies that meet the needs of machine-to-machine communication and IoT devices.

LPWAN (Low-Power Wide-Area Network), also known as LPWA (Low-Power Wide-Area) or LPN (Low-Power Network, low-power network), is a battery-powered sensors), wireless networks that can communicate over long distances at low bit rates. Low power requirements, low bit rates, and timing of use can be used to differentiate LPWANs from wireless wide area networks, which are designed to connect businesses or users and can transmit more data but also consume more power. The transmission rate of each channel of LPWAN is between 0.3 kbit/s to 50 kbit/s.

LPWAN can be used to build a private wireless sensor network, but it can also be a service or infrastructure provided by a third party, which allows sensor owners to deploy sensors directly without having to invest in gateways construction.

However, the technology started to gain traction around 2015, when the GSMA Wireless Industry Association defined a set of standards to help network providers and operators meet their power consumption, network coverage, and specific costs for IoT devices. These standards include LTE-M and NB-IoT. The standard is designed to add connectivity options for low-bandwidth and low-latency IoT devices. LPWAN has become the connectivity option for most IoT devices and its adoption in the IoT domain is increasing. LPWAN technology has huge advantages over traditional connectivity options, some of which are discussed below.

Why do IoT deployments need Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs)?

Wide area coverage

LPWAN enables the communication distance between IoT devices to reach 3-20 kms. This proves to be beneficial given the low power requirements of LPWANs. Using low-power LPWANs, data can be transmitted over long distances in smart cities. LPWAN can be used for devices in services, such as smart cities and public transportation in surveillance domains, where data from devices in these industries typically tends to travel over long distances.

Low power consumption

The data transmitted by an IoT device affects the power consumption of the device. One of the main advantages of using LPWAN is low power consumption. With LPWAN, IoT devices can automatically go into sleep mode when not in use. This helps save power because the device draws very little current when not in use. Due to the low power requirements and low usage, one can expect 5-10 years of battery life for these IoT devices using LPWAN.

lower the cost

The use of LPWAN helps reduce costs associated with IoT devices. Due to the low power requirements, IoT devices can run on low-cost batteries, reducing the cost of IoT devices. Batteries also last five to 10 years, reducing maintenance costs for these devices. Additionally, a small number of gateways are required to transmit data over the LPWAN, which results in a reduction in infrastructure costs. For example, the entire city of Amsterdam, despite its high density of buildings, requires only 24 gateways.

LPWAN is expected to be an integral part of IoT connectivity standards. The question now arises about which LPWAN technology to adopt. There is no definitive answer to this, but before deciding on a factor, we can consider factors such as the amount of data transferred, the degree of autonomy required, and the location of the IoT device.

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