Questions about LPWAN

What is LPWAN

Low power wide access networks provide long-range communication between devices and gateways (up to 40 kilometers). A major benefit of LPWAN technology is that one LPWAN sensor can transmit data up to 10 years on a single battery charge.

Pieces of the Network
A complete network contains sensors, gateways and a server to manage and make sense of the incoming flow of data. For example, a farmer might have a sensor in a field to measure soil moisture. This sensor then:

  1. transmits this data to the gateway
  2. the gateway sends it to a local or remote server
  3. the receiving server will use the data to trigger the irrigation system when necessary

Why should I use an LPWAN instead of 4G?

People vs devices
4G is a network built to transmit large amounts of data, and in doing so requires a considerable amount of power. In contrast, a single LPWAN gateway uses very little power and LPWAN sensors use even less. Because an LPWAN uses so little power, it is possible for a single sensor to transmit up to 10 years without changing or charging the battery.

Rapid growth
During peak hours, 4G slows down considerably. This happens because so many people are trying to use it. When considering that IHS Markit projected that in 2030 more there will be more than 125 billion connected devices, it is easy to see why having a network dedicated to devices is an excellent idea.

A network for devices
Most smart devices only send small amounts of data, easily managed by an LPWAN network. So in this case, LPWAN is a network for devices, whereas LTE is a network for people.