IoT applications have been around for decades. However, the recent market expansion over the last half decade can be attributed to drastic reductions in device power consumption coupled with RF connectivity enhancements. Without these two trends, the IoT would remain a boutique, rarely useful concept. There is no better example than the consequential benefits delivered by narrow band radio links such as LPWA technology, including LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and Sigfox. Narrow band RF transmission reduces both the output power required to transmit and the receiver noise floor. The penalty is that narrow band transmission severely limits the data rate by several orders of magnitude – from multiple megabits to hundreds of hundreds of bits per second. Latency also increases.
Increased latency and reduced bit rate limit the applications that the radio can handle. However, in the IoT world, long battery life and connectivity range are far more necessary than high data rate. Sensors, monitors, actuators and switches that operate on a scale of minutes, hours, days or months produce extremely small amounts of data – on the order of kilobits per year. These devices can take advantage of lower power consumption and long range to survive useful deployment in remote areas. The longer the range, the more remote and the more useful some IoT devices can be.
Take the example application of weather monitoring devices, particularly those used to measure the stratosphere. The range and operational life of those devices have a direct impact on the obtainable results. LPWA protocols, like LoRaWAN, have made it possible for citizen volunteers such as those working on the Servet project supported by Ibercivis, to accomplish their objective. The Servet team’s goal of surveying the stratosphere using balloons across thousands of square kilometer is within reach thanks to LoRaWAN’s long range connectivity. Their recent record-breaking LoRaWAN link delivered data over an incredible 766 km range.
Abracon, The Heartbeat of the IoT®, supports a broad set of antennas for LPWA applications. Although ultra-long range links are possible, most applications only require 10 km or less of range. With the Servet project proving how far the technology can go, LoRaWAN and other LPWA protocols are likely to remain a dominant solution for IoT applications.
Read the article about the Servet team's record-breaking LoRaWAN distance:
Learn more about Abracon's LPWA antennas:
About Abracon, LLC | The Heartbeat of the IoT™
Abracon is a leading global manufacturer of passive and electromechanical timing, synchronization, power, connectivity and RF solutions. With a broad portfolio of quartz crystals, crystal and MEMS oscillators, real time clocks, power inductors, IoT antennas and more, Abracon supports go-to-market needs by reliably supplying the most advanced components that tackle the toughest design challenges. Focused on quality and innovation, Abracon helps savvy engineers transform their ideas into products that meet the opportunities of tomorrow. The company is ISO9001-2015 certified with design & application engineering resources in Texas and sales offices in the US, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Scotland, Israel, Hungary, UK, and Germany. Abracon’s products are offered through its global distribution network.
For more information about Abracon, visit www.abracon.com.
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