What is LoRaWAN? - AWS IoT Wireless

What is LoRaWAN?

The LoRa Alliance describes LoRaWAN as, "a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery operated ‘things’ to the internet in regional, national or global networks, and targets key Internet of Things (IoT) requirements such as bi-directional communication, end-to-end security, mobility and localization services.".

LoRa and LoRaWAN

The LoRaWAN protocol is a Low Power Wide Area Networking (LPWAN) communication protocol that functions on LoRa.

LoRaWAN has been recognized as an international standard for low power wide area networking. For more information, see LoRAWAN formally recognized as ITU internationl standard. The LoRaWAN specification is open so anyone can set up and operate a LoRa network.

LoRa is a wireless audio frequency technology that operates in a license-free radio frequency spectrum. LoRa is a physical layer protocol that uses spread spectrum modulation and supports long-range communication at the cost of a narrow bandwidth. It uses a narrow band waveform with a central frequency to send data, which makes it robust to interference.

Characteristics of LoRaWAN technology

  • Long range communication up to 10 miles in line of sight.

  • Long battery duration of up to 10 years. For enhanced battery life, you can operate your devices in class A or class B mode, which requires increased downlink latency.

  • Low cost for devices and maintenance.

  • License-free radio spectrum but region-specific regulations apply.

  • Low power but has a limited payload size of 51 bytes to 241 bytes depending on the data rate. The data rate can be 0,3 Kbit/s – 27 Kbit/s data rate with a 222 maximal payload size.

LoRaWAN protocol versions

LoRa Alliance specifies the LoRaWAN protocol using LoRaWAN specification documents. To account for the region-specific regulations, the LoRa Alliance also publishes regional parameter documents. For more information, see LoRaWAN regional parameters and specifications.

The initial release of LoRaWAN is version 1.0. Additional versions released are 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3, 1.0.4, and 1.1. Versions 1.0.1-1.0.4 are commonly referred to as 1.0.x.

Learn more about LoRaWAN

The following links contain helpful information about the LoRaWAN technology and about LoRa Basics Station, which is the software that runs on your LoRaWAN gateways for connecting end devices to AWS IoT Core for LoRaWAN.

  • LoRaWAN recognized as ITU International Standard

    LoRaWAN has been formally documented as an international standard by ITU for low power wide area networking. The standard is titled Recommendation ITU-T Y.4480 “Low power protocol for wide area wireless networks”.

  • The Things Fundamentals on LoRaWAN

    The Things Fundamentals on LoRaWAN contains an introductory video that covers the fundamentals of LoRaWAN and a series of chapters that'll help you learn about LoRa and LoRaWAN.

  • What is LoRaWAN

    LoRa Alliance provides a technical overview of LoRa and LoRaWAN, including a summary of the LoRaWAN specifications in different Regions.

  • LoRa Basics Station

    Semtech Corporation provides helpful concepts about LoRa basics for gateways and end nodes. LoRa Basics Station, an open source software that runs on your LoRaWAN gateway, is maintained and distributed through Semtech Corporation's GitHub repository. You can also learn about the LNS and CUPS protocols that describe how to exchange LoRaWAN data and perform configuration updates.

  • LoRaWAN regional parameters and specifications

    RP002-1.0.2 document includes support for all versions of the LoRaWAN Layer 2 specification.It includes information about the LoRaWAN specifications and regional parameters, and the different LoRaWAN versions.