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Home > NB-IoT > Why LoRa will be the key technology for IoT

Why LoRa will be the key technology for IoT

Update Time: 2021-07-07 14:32:22

As we enter the connected age, our reliance on the Internet of Things (IoT) will become even more pronounced. The ability to actively transfer vast amounts of data between countless physical devices, vehicles and other items will be a game changer for people and businesses.


Machina Research estimates that by 2025, 27 billion IoT connections will generate $3 trillion in revenue. While short-range wireless technologies will continue to account for approximately 72 percent of all IoT connections in 2025, Machina Research estimates that 11 percent of IoT connections will use low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies, demonstrating a real market opportunity for solutions. Built around long-range and low-power capabilities.


To support this trend, the IoT requires reliable technology that can take full advantage of a variety of connected applications. Data transmission relies on a secure network with wide range and low power consumption. The solution is LoRa radio frequency technology, a long-range, low-power radio frequency (RF) platform. loRa technology is versatile enough to operate in dense urban environments and dispersed rural areas, making it an ideal IoT solution for a wide range of cases.


A LoRa-based IoT solution starts with a LoRa-enabled embedded sensor that sends data through an LPWAN gateway application (Figure 1). It is then sent to a web server and routed to application servers and cloud IoT services. These applications use technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to interpret the data collected from the embedded sensors to securely provide valuable information to the end user.

IoT.png

1. LoRa Network Architecture


Secure IoT


Gartner found that nearly 20 percent of organizations have observed at least one IoT-based attack in the past three years. The firm also predicts that global spending on IoT security will reach $3.1 billion in 2021.


The LoRaWAN specification is a low-power, wide-area network protocol designed to wirelessly connect battery-powered objects to the Internet in a local, national or global network. a key element of the LoRaWAN network protocol is security. For example, its baseline authentication and security framework is based on the AES 128 encryption scheme, which is implemented by IEEE 802.15.4 / 2006 Annex B [IEEE802154]. By using separate keys for user data encryption and authentication/network integrity, LoRaWAN offers a higher level of security compared to a single key implementation.


There are two ways to connect IoT devices or so-called end nodes to a LoRaWAN network. The first is called "personalized activation" (ABP). In this method, the network session key and the application session key are already stored in the IoT device along with a unique 32-bit device address and a unique 24-bit network ID that identifies the specific LoRaWAN network to which the device is to be connected.


The default method for connecting LoRaWAN IoT devices is through a process called Over-the-Air Activation (OOTA). With this method, each IoT device will send a join request message to the web server, which then forwards the message to the server (Figure 2).

IoT-2.png

2. Join request and join acceptance message formats.

The join request MAC command will contain three data fields (Figure 3). 64-bit DevEUI as defined by IEEE (think of it as the "Ethernet MAC" address of the LoRa device) uniquely identifies this particular LoRaWAN/endpoint. It will also send a unique AppEUI that identifies the application server to which this particular end node will connect. The final data is a random 2-byte device token. The join server will store the random device token from the previous join request message from each end node.


IoT-3.png

3. NwkSKey and AppSKey generation (LoRaWAN 1.02 specification)


If the join server receives a future join request from a specific end node with the same device token as the most recently received token, the join server will ignore the join request. This prevents so-called "replay attacks", where a hacker may somehow capture the "join request" radio message from a specific end node and replay (i.e., retransmit) the same message with the purpose of disconnecting the original end device from the network. disconnected from the network.


Only if the join server can verify the combination of DevEUI and AppEUI will it issue a unique 32-bit device address, a unique 24-bit network ID, and a 3-byte application token. The end node will receive these parameters from the web server with a so-called "join response" command. The end node can then generate its own security key. Figure 3 shows which fields are used to generate the application session key (AppSKey) and the network session key (NwkSKey). One of the key fields used to generate these keys is the AppKey. this is a unique 128-bit fixed value that is unique for each end node.


Designed with security in mind, LoRa deployments are the lifeblood of IoT solutions. Now, let's look at some common examples of LoRa-based IoT applications.


Global supply chain tracking


Fleets of vehicles, such as trucks, cars, ships and planes, are the backbone of many businesses with global markets. By leveraging IoT fleet tracking, companies can gain the data necessary to make informed cost-saving decisions. Embedded sensors can assist in effective fuel management through route planning, geographic vehicle tracking, and predictive maintenance updates for scheduled maintenance and reduced downtime. Entire fleets can be outfitted with embedded sensors in less than a day with minimal maintenance, as their low power consumption allows sensor batteries to last up to 20 years.


Embedded sensors can also be used to monitor the cargo that these fleets move through the global supply chain. Freight carriers can monitor and automatically adjust environmental conditions in cold rooms, thereby reducing the risk of severe temperature fluctuations. A feature needed when transporting sensitive perishable foods, such as food, over long distances. In addition, sensors can relay geographic data about shipment locations at regular intervals, providing users with the ability to monitor items and ensure they reach their intended destination.


Smart Agriculture


Only 3% of the earth's water is available as fresh water, and 70% of that is consumed by agriculture. IoT solutions are critical to providing farmers with the information they need to determine how to efficiently use the resources at their disposal. By using LoRa-based smart irrigation, farmers are able to reduce the risk of crop death due to over-irrigation or depletion.


The irrigation zones are equipped with remote sensor platforms and soil moisture sensors at different depths. The LoRa transceivers at the sensor sites periodically send message packets to the LoRa gateway containing data about soil moisture levels. The gateway can support up to 1,000 sensor deployments within a six-mile radius. The soil data is then analyzed by a dedicated or cloud-based server and sent to the end user, who can configure the application for manual or automatic irrigation in dry areas. By integrating sensors with irrigation systems, farmers can save up to 30 percent in water usage while maintaining optimal crop yields, making LoRa technology an ideal IoT solution for the agriculture industry.


Smart Home


As a homeowner, there are many things to keep in mind. Water usage, lighting and temperature, to name a few. In the connected age, IoT solutions can simplify the management of utilities and make them easily accessible no matter where the owner is in his or her network. LoRa-enabled smart home applications can extend to thermostats, sprinklers, doors, locks and electrical outlets. Similar to a smart refrigerator, LoRa-based thermostats can monitor home temperatures and adjust them as needed throughout the day. Smart irrigation apps can monitor when sprinkler heads are enabled. All of these apps are easily accessible from mobile devices, enabling homeowners and property managers to control multiple utilities and save energy.


In addition, smart home IoT solutions can help protect homes and buildings from moisture damage. Mold is a problem that plagues many homeowners, but for mold to grow, ideal conditions must exist. Moisture and humidity are key factors in mold growth, and both can be monitored using LoRa-based embedded sensors. Similar to other smart home utilities, dehumidifiers can be activated through a LoRa network. In addition, low-cost and low-power sensors can be installed in leak-prone areas, such as under sinks, near pipes and windows. By determining humidity and temperature levels throughout the house, homeowners can be notified immediately when leaks occur and remediate as needed to prevent mold growth.


The Future


As the world embraces the connected age, more IoT applications are bound to be developed to meet new challenges. LoRa technology will continue to provide critical support for IoT solutions that deliver remote, low-power networks to end users. As the DNA of the IoT, LoRa technology has a bright future and can provide the tools needed for different industries to join the IoT.


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