LPWAN Technology Comparison

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Source: http://www.eejournal.com/archives/articles/20150907-lpwa/

Some buzz/updates from the IoT space:

LoRa :

Range in Urban Environment:  actual tests conclude 1.1 to 2.9 miles.

Making quite a lot of noise and has gained the attention of many early developers. Current pilots and trials have been rather disappointing as far as range and spectrum friendliness. The 3-8km range in urban area is “not as advertised” unless using a really low data rate: much lower than 50kbps. When LoRa is deployed, it indeed 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:

Range in urban environment: actual tests conclude 0.6 to 2.9 mile range

Is clearly NOT a technology company. 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.

Their lacking technology  has caused the Sigfox team to pivot their marketing scheme around being just operators. They want 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-N: A flop . Bi-directional communication has proven to be a must

Weightless-P: Humble figures. The only company marketing “real” coverage of 2km in an dense urban environment. We will see. Look forward to testing out there development kit 2016.

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. Why do they stress “no sunsetting”? – I have no clue. It’s not a very strong selling point as all companies can claim to not intend to “intentionally phase out their technology”. Sunsetting is also absolutely beyond Ingenu’s control. Also, Europe has tightened the 2.4GHz regulation this year, some countries may require licenses for OnRamp outdoor usage. Ingenu has no say or influence on these matters. 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. BUT if bidirectional communication, more frequent or larger payloads or paging/addressability are needed, then scheduled approaches like the specs of Weightless-P are required .