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LoRa and LoRaWAN: What is the Difference?

4 minute read

LoRa, which stands for Long Range, is a wireless technology widely acknowledged for its ability to send small amount of data over wide distances. LoRa is one of the pillars of low power wide area (LPWA) network technologies that are going to help bolster the adoption of Massive IoT, because they are purpose built for low powered and battery operated devices within a vast ecosystem of IoT – think agriculture where soil sensors are taking quick, semi-infrequent readings of moisture, pH, etc.

LPWA is divided into two classifications. On one side, there is cellular LPWA, which leverages a mobile network – and those include Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and Long Term Machine Type Communications (LTE-M). LoRa is a non-cellular LPWA network that distributes information across different frequency channels and data rates using encoded packets.

What is LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN is the network protocol that links the LoRa signal (sensor data) to the application(s). To put it simply, LoRa is the radio signal that carries the data, and LoRaWAN is the communication protocol that controls and defines how that data is communicated across the network.

The key benefits of LoRaWAN are that it provides low power, wide range, and cost-effective connectivity for devices that don’t require high data transmission rates and it’s a great option when cellular is too expensive or Wi-Fi coverage isn’t available. A few of the best use cases include:

  • Agriculture: With a long range that provides reliability in rural applications for devices that do not have a high data transmission rate, LoRaWAN perfectly supports agricultural use cases.
  • Assets and logistics: Network-based location and tracking abilities at a low cost and optimised battery life make LoRaWAN suitable for assets and logistics.
  • Smart metering: LoRaWAN’s ability to reach sensors monitoring utilities located underground make this a well-suited connectivity choice for smart metering.
  • Smart home: The ability to pass through obstruction, such as walls, and ability to support battery powered, low data -consuming applications that can be used in smart homes make this connectivity option appealing.
  • Healthcare: LoRa technology’s low power, low cost, and reliable performance make it suitable for connected health applications. IoT solutions comprised of LoRa-based hardware can monitor high-risk patients or systems 24/7, ensuring health and medical safety are comprehensively managed.
  • Industrial: Industrial IoT is transforming operations by digitising legacy processes and equipment, driving profits, keeping costs lower, and maximising efficiencies. LoRa-enabled devices and sensors take real-time data to provide key insight into predictive maintenance, machine health, efficiency, reduced downtime, and much more.

Market Value for LoRaWAN

According to the LoRa Alliance, which is the associated that supports the LoRaWAN protocol, as well as the LPWA specification, there are 163 LoRaWAN network operators in 177 countries. With the ability to host large-scale IoT applications at a reasonable cost, LoRaWAN is anticipated to grow steadily in the next few years. According to ABI Research, by 2026, LoRa is anticipated to be the leading non-cellular LPWA network technology and will account for more than a quarter of all LPWA network connections.

KORE is working closely together with Everynet, the world’s largest network operator for national LoRaWAN networks, to expand LoRaWAN into the United States. This expansion is driven from deploying LoRaWAN networks in Brazil, where LoRa is a more widely deployed connectivity option.

Partnering with KORE for Connectivity Success

KORE is a proven solutions and technology provider in the IoT industry, both in platforms, integrations, and connectivity expertise. KORE works with more than 24 leading global carriers to offer independent, carrier-agnostic connectivity that works for each individual customer’s application. Learn more about KORE connectivity and technology offerings.

Check out our recent video to learn more about KORE's LoRa Platform.

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