LPWAN Technology Comparison

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Some buzz/updates from the IoT space:

LoRa :

Where are the large-scale deployments? Having been released over 5 years ago and still not having any single large-scale deployments is worrisome. Being first-to-market has attracted a HUGE ecosystem of makers.  But the limitations of LoRa are becoming more and more apparent.

Rather disappointing as far as spectrum friendliness. When LoRa is deployed, it indeed basically renders all other technologies in the ISM bands useless. This is not something that is going to go over well with any of the LPWAN ISM band technologies or RFID technologies wanting to cooperate in the same spectrum.

 

Sigfox:

They are operators with a vertically integrated technology. Sigfox proposes an end-to-end solution, from the device to the management interface. It’s up to the user to encrypt data within the 12bytes payload.

Sigfox wants to collaborate with giant telecommunication companies and deploy a $/message business model. In my opinion, the IoT space not ready for a $/message plan. VERY few real IoT application actually make sense to adopt this type of payment plan. With that said, all the technologies that survive in the above comparison chart may potentially be offered by Sigfox in the future . With its current technology, it can only continue to tout its theoretical “coverage”.

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Weightless (formerly known as Weightless P): The technology has been renamed simply Weightless. The Weightless Starter Kit has extremely solid performance. We see this as a strong contender moving forward as the IoT community becomes more aware of LoRaWAN limitations.

May 2018 – Weightless becomes the first LPWAN technology to win a serious country-wide tender (Smart Meters)

OnRamp (RPMA): Company Ingenu has made an aggressive marketing push of their technology. They stress “simplicity is key:  one worldwide band (2.4 GHz), no sunsetting (we will commit to never sunsetting the RPMA technology), no burdensome certification process.” Unfortunately, 2.4GHz still requires a certification of the end device in Europe, this has a cost. For those who might not know : Sunsetting, in a business context means to intentionally phase something out or terminate it.

Also, Europe has tightened the 2.4GHz regulation this year, some countries may require licenses for OnRamp outdoor usage. RPMA is 1MHz bandwidth, spread spectrum with large spreading factor. UNB (ultra narrowband) is seemingly the simplest and lowest cost connectivity which covers a few solid cases.

Business Model: Ingenu sells licenses to use their technology in given territories ($300,000-1M USD). After purchasing an expensive license, the purchaser can then buy and deploy Ingenu base stations (said to be over $5000 USD per access point). They are currently struggling to find companies to license their technology.