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#1 – LoRa  LoRaWAN and IoT 

for beginners

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The properties of an embedded system in the IoT world.

How the LoRa protocol can solve range and power issues?

Explanation of the notions necessary for the understanding of the course within the framework of a radio frequency transmission: RSSI, Sensitivity, Signal to noise ratio, dB, dBm, link budget. This will allow us to be at ease with the study of the manufacturers’ documentations that we will often use.

We will recall all necessary notions for the understanding of a radio transmission. This is not specific to LoRa but with this knowledge you will be more confident when reading the manufacturer’s documentation of a LoRa Device. We will define RSSI, Sensitivity, Signal over noise ratio, dB, dBm and link budget.

The LoRaWAN protocol work with a modulation called LoRa. In this chapter, we will explain how works such a modulation but the main goal will be to understand what bit rate we can expect depending on the configuration of our transceiver.

This chapter is probably one of the most important because it is the core of this book.

We will start with the versions and specifications of the LoRaWAN protocol standardised by the LoRa Alliance.

Then, we will present for the first time the complete structure of the LoRaWAN network, which consists of LoRa Devices, Gateways and Servers. And we will explain the functionalities of each, in detail.

The LoRaWAN network is a secured network. It needs authentication and encryption and we will explain how this feature is carried out.

The LoRaWAN devices belong to classes named A, B, or C. Some classes make the data exchange with the server easier, but at the expense of another characteristic, which is the power consumption. We will therefore carry out a series of tests to highlight these characteristics.

The registration of a LoRa device on a LoRaWAN network is called activation. There are two types, called ABP or OTAA. When starting out in LoRaWAN networks, it is often difficult to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods. We will validate the properties of these two activation methods through practical cases.

Finally, we will recall which parameters of a LoRaWAN transmission have a strong influence on the power consumption. To optimise the autonomy of the devices, we will use an adaptive and automatic method called ADR or “Adaptive Data Rate”.

We will explain the entire network infrastructure and study in detail a data transmission from a Device to the LoRaWAN Server. The beauty of LoRaWAN is that there can be several types of network working together: private, public or hybrid. For all these kinds, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages.

In this chapter, we will dive deeper in the LoRaWAN frame format and we will analyse a message travelling from a Device to the Gateway, and finally to the LoRaWAN Server.

In this chapter, we will focus on exporting data to the client application (often called an IoT Platform). The dialogue between the LoRaWAN servers and the IoT Platform is often handled using two common protocols called HTTP and MQTT. For each of these solutions we will demonstrate how to receive data from the Device (uplink strem), but also how to transmit data to the Device (downlink stream).

There are many LoRaWAN Devices available for sale. But if you want to build your own Device, you have to be aware of all possibilities you have to design it. Each solution has its advantages and drawbacks depending on the prices, the ease, the footprint and the power consumption. We will study each design.

In the first chapters of this course, we worked with LoRaWAN Server owned by a third party company (Actility, TTS, LORIOT… ). We now want to achieve a private network by creating a LoRaWAN Server of our own. We will see the set up of two servers: ChirpStack and The Things Stack.

Finally, we will build our own IoT Platform in order to have data available to a user. This is done by the creation of a dashboard. We will use free and open-source services to connect (MQTT), save (Database) and display (Dashboard) data.

At the end of this chapter, you should have many solutions that will allow you to create a complete IOT solution based on the LoRaWAN protocol.

We wish we could have called this book “LoRaWAN for Dummies” because we focused on a step-by-step approach, clear explanations with a lot of examples. This document applies to all end-devices types from all manufacturers, all LoRaWAN servers and all IoT platforms. This means that we provide information that is useful for all objects and for all infrastructures. If you follow the document, you should be able to work with any end-devices, any gateways, and switch your infrastructure to any Network Server.

This book does not contain any “tutorial style” explanations, rather it tries to give precise and valuable information for understanding the global LoRaWAN ecosystem.

This book is free of charge and you can find on this page the latest version. More content will be added regularly, and you can sign up to be notified of all future updates . If you want to give a feedback on this document or if you find any mistakes, we would be grateful to report it by using the contact page.

Enjoy your reading !

#2 – LoRaWAN 

for advanced users

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Clock Synchronization: why?

Clock Synchronization: how to use it?

Our Clock Synchronization server

Multicast : why ?

Mutlicast : how to use it?

Our Multicast server

Data Fragmentation: why ?

Data Fragmentation : how to use it?

Our Data Fragmentation server

FUOTA stands for Firmware Update Over The Air.

FUOTA: what is it?

FUOTA: how to use it?

Our FUOTA server

The role of the Join Server

Device key provisioning

Securing the keys

Device claim


Roaming: Why?

Roaming: How to use it?

Example of a roaming agreement beetween two private networks

These documents are also available on the Semtech developer portal.