The white paper on Low power, wide-area networks (LPWAN). LPWAN is often used when other wireless networks aren’t a good fit—Bluetooth and BLE (and to a lesser extent, WiFi and ZigBee) are often not suited for long-range performance, and cellular M2M networks are costly, consume a lot of power, and expensive as far as hardware and services are concerned.
LPWAN technology is perfectly suited for connecting devices that need to send small amounts of data over a long range, while maintaining long battery life. Some IoT applications only need to transmit tiny amounts of information—a parking garage sensor, for example, which only transmits when a spot is open or when it is taken. The low power consumption of such a device allows that task to be carried out with minimal cost and battery draw.
LPWAN technologies generally operate with about 140-160 decibels (dB) of total path, which can add up to many miles of range in the right circumstances. This is primarily achieved by high receiver sensitivities. Receiver sensitivities of more than -130 dBm are common in LPWAN technologies, compared to -90 to -110 dBm seen in many traditional wireless technologies. Technologies with -130 dBm can detect signals 10,000 times weaker than technologies with -90 dBm, so you can see how this is important for LPWAN.
The end-nodes can be up to >10 kilometers from the gateway, depending on the technology deployed.
Low Data Range
Less than 5,000 bits per second. Often only 20-256 bytes per message sent several times a day.
Low Power Consumption
This makes very long battery life—often between five and 10 years—possible.
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