In order to reliably collect water data from our Lōtik sensors, a strong wireless network is required.
Most people are familiar with WiFi and Bluetooth, but these networks don’t provide the best solution for industrial wireless sensors. WiFi is power hungry, subject to a lot of interference and traditional Bluetooth has a shorter range. These frequencies also operate at 2.4GHz which do not penetrate water.
When searching for a network for Lōtik, we had to consider a number of factors. We needed a reliable, robust, and long-range connectivity solution. Our sensors are battery-operated, installed deep inside of buildings, and don’t have line of site with a gateway. We also didn’t want our customers to be burdened by having to install a lot of infrastructure such as repeaters, gateways, or hubs. With all of this in mind, and after much research, we chose LoRaWAN.
What is LoRaWAN
LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network specification for wireless battery-operated sensors. Already a popular connectivity solution for many devices including residential water meters, home products, and industrial sensors, LoRaWAN provides secure communication that can send data for miles between sensors and a gateway. A LoRaWAN network is typically laid out with sensors sending messages to a gateway, which are then relayed to a central network server in the cloud.
The beauty of LoRaWAN is that communication between sensors and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. Due to this, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of “virtual” channels increasing the capacity of the listening gateway. This means our sensors can reliably send data long distances without interference. For example, we’ve successfully used LoRaWAN to send data 20 floors in a New York City high rise with no repeaters.
What does this mean for the future of Lōtik?
For all our customers, LoRaWAN means reliable connectivity, extended battery life, and faster installation time. Because LoRaWAN has such great range, fewer gateways are required. In the near future, many cities will have public LoRaWAN networks which means that Lōtik could install sensors in an entire building with no gateways.