Project LoRaWAN Network

Summary

Project Synopsis

LoRaWAN is a Long Range Wireless Radio Network protocol which is based on the LoRa physical layer protocol. It’s specially tuned for very long transmissions (more than 10km in rural areas) with low power consumption. LoRa is closed & proprietary protocol and no public documentation is available (though it has been thoroughly analysed see here). In contrast to the proprietary LoRa, the LoRaWAN specification is maintained by the LoRa Alliance and has been published.

LoRaWAN is the media access control protocol (OSI Layer 2) which uses LoRa (OSI Layer 1) the physical layer. It’s mainly used as a network layer protocol for managing the communication between the LoRaWAN gateways and end-nodes devices such as sensors and other IoT devices. In very basic terms, consider LoRaWAN the WiFi for IoT devices across every industry with a focus on low power and long range. LoRaWAN is primarily targeted towards IoT and Smart City applications. It has the potential to drastically improve the existing infrastructure, enhance the cities’ services and reduce cost. This project focus on the creation of the necessary infrastructure to establish the network as well as the services on top of it.

Following a non-inclusive list of a few applications for LoRaWAN which were deployed with customers selected for pilot runs of the new LoRaWAN Network

  • Smart Water Meters to improve leakage detection, prevent lost revenue due to inefficiency and boost productivity by reducing the required time to analyse the data
  • Save energy and improve the sustainability of old building in the cities by optimising the energy management in a building
  • Prevent flooding or drought in parks by continuously monitoring humidity levels

Objectives

IWB as a government-owned utility and telecommunications provider in Basel-Stadt aims to build a neutral LoRaWAN Network and provide a platform to built applications upon. In contrast to typical service providers where the LoRaWAN infrastructure enables the sales of applications and service packages with high margins, the objective here is to provide a network infrastructure with strong signal coverage in the city of Basel-Stadt with reach into every house and basement. The purpose of the network is to provide a neutral platform on which applications can be built on.

Key activities

  • Preparation of LoRaWAN Gateways for Deployment
    • Firmware / OS Installation and Upgrade
    • LoRaWAN Packet-forwarder installation
    • Enable Remote Access for Maintenance and Upgrades
  • Installation of LoRaWAN Gateways on and off premise
  • Configuration and administration of the LoRaWAN Network Server
  • Preparation of LoRaWAN Sensors for Deployment
    • Proper Documentation of the Sensor Configuration and Labelling
    • Configuration of Sensor Parameters (Adaptive Data Rate, Maximum Transmit Power, Transmit Intervall)
  • Development of software architecture to decode and efficiently store sensor data
  • Provide an web-api for customers to access the data directly

Project lifetime

August 2015 to Today – ongoing project

Publications

During the course of the project the following two posts were published in the company’s own magazine (both internally and in an externally published magazine)

  • Smart Sensors (German Title: Smarte Sensoren) from IWB Customer Magazine Issue 04/2018
  • A low-power radio network for Internet of Things (German Title: Ein strahlungsarmes Funknetz für das Internet der Dinge) from IWB Employee magazine ‘mitenand’ Issue 02/2018