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:
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Headquartered outside of Austin, Texas, Abracon enables global customers to design next-generation products by offering innovative and high-performance Frequency Control & Timing, Inductors & Connectivity, and RF & Antenna solutions. Abracon accelerates customers’ time to market by focusing on technical expertise, service excellence, and providing reliable electronic components through a global distribution network. With service, quality, and technical knowledge at the company’s core, Abracon empowers innovative connected technology in markets spanning data communication, transportation, industrial, medical, aerospace, defense, and beyond.
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