When it comes to IoT (Internet of Things), the development of LPWAN (Low-Power Wide-Area Network) is something we need to concern about.

LPWAN is a network that is mainly created for IoT and M2M (Machine to Machine). Yes, it is a network to connect devices. Although it is still not licensed yet, some companies have made a lot of efforts to make it global for IoT.

If you are still not familiar with IoT, feel free to check this article: 5 Things You Need To Know About IoT

As LPWAN is very much related to IoT, we recommend you to read that article first before understanding about LPWAN.

You might think that Wi-Fi and Cellular Networks are enough for connecting devices. But remember that we talk about LPWAN for IoT here, so we need something better than both of them.

LPWAN has many more advantages when we compare it to the common networks we have now.

With Wi-Fi, we can have stable and fast connectivity for devices. However, it doesn’t cover a wide area. Cellular networks, the most common network for our smartphones right now, cover a wider area but it costs a lot.

LPWAN comes with wide-area connectivity that can reach up to 1,000 km area.  It costs lower than the most networks we have now, and it also provides battery efficiency for devices.

Why is it important for IoT?

Pros:
  • Long-Range Connectivity (up to 1,000 km)
  • Low Power Consumption
  • Low Cost
Cons:
  • Low Transmission Speed

Although Wi-Fi has great speed connectivity, it doesn’t cover a wide area. IoT is an ecosystem where “smart” devices connect to each other through the internet.

With Smart Cities up on the horizon, the connection between the devices inside needs something wider and better.

Then, why not using cellular networks?

LPWAN will have a lower cost than any of your cellular networks have now. LPWAN is not a single technology. It is a group of various low power wide area network technologies that take many shapes and forms.

It will also provide us better battery efficiency when applied to smart devices. Do you realize that your smartphone can run up all day when you turn off all the connections you have?

It proofs that connectivity in devices needs a lot of power to run. With LPWAN that can support battery efficiency, all of the smart devices will have a better lifetime for a single charge.

IoT is not only smartphones and laptops. You know that almost all of the things are “smart” now. One of the IoT products is Google Home Voice Controller.

Google Home Voice Controller

We also know that now we have smart cars, smart homes, smart light bulbs, smart doorbells, and else.

With all of the smart devices, we need something that can connect them together to the internet. The power efficiency is also something we need to concern when we talk about IoT.

Smart devices work harder than any common devices. Due to the main function of providing better services to the users, IoT devices will also consume more power.

With long-range connectivity, lower cost, and better power efficiency, LPWAN will be the most suitable network for IoT.

Moreover, it also operates over sub-GHz frequency bands. SIGFOX and LoRa Technology LPWAN frequency are both 868 MHz in Europe, 915 MHz in North America, and 433 MHz in Asia.

According to IoT Analytics, the growth rate for LPWAN connections are 109% over the time frame of 2017-2023. The report shows that LPWAN will be the next big thing for IoT.

LPWAN market size
Data source: IoT Analytics

The downside of LPWAN

Due to its wide coverage, LPWAN has a low transmission speed. It can’t compete with your Wi-Fi or cellular networks.

The transmission speed of LPWAN is only up to 200Kbps based on the technology. Some leading companies that develop LPWAN technology are:

  • SIGFOX
  • LoRa Technology
  • NBT IoT
  • and LTE-M.

However, most IoT devices actually don’t need a lot of data connectivity.

IoT devices will mainly use the data for censoring, collecting, and sharing data. They work together to make our tasks easier. With these tasks, most IoT devices have a small amount of data to be transmitted.

According to James Brehm & Associates, 86% of IoT devices use less than 3MB data per month. The statement shows us that using Wi-Fi and Cellular Networks for IoT will waste a lot of their potency.

With the development of smartphones these days, the connectivity speed is something that we need the most. Streaming youtube, downloading files, listening podcasts, and playing games will suck up the data in your smartphones.

However, we don’t do those things with most of IoT devices. Your smart light bulbs and smart doorbells will do tasks that require much smaller data than your smartphones.

Conclusion

The best thing that LPWAN provides is its efficiency for IoT and M2M. The number of IoT devices in the market are increasing over the year. IoT will also become something huge and common in 2021.

With the upcoming global IoT phenomenon, it will be the most suitable connectivity for smart devices.

The long-range connectivity, affordable cost, and battery efficiency will give us many more advantages for the future development of IoT.

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