HomeConnectivityLoRaWAN for IoT gaining traction with network deployments, device support

LoRaWAN for IoT gaining traction with network deployments, device support

Comcast deploys LoRaWAN in San Francisco; Laird gateway has Senet support baked-in

From devices to connectivity, the internet of things (IoT) market is a crowded space. Cellular standards like LTE-M and NB-IoT are seeing widespread support from operators while proprietary tech like LoRa is drawing investment from heavy-hitters like Comcast, which recently expanded its MachineQ IoT network, a LoRa-based wide area network (LoRaWAN), to cover the San Francisco area.

Comcast’s enterprise-facing IoT play is set for deployment this year in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington D.C. Machine Q General Manager Alex Khorram described LoRaWAN as a “low-power, cost-effective” technology. “It was a no brainer to deliver a dense IoT network in the Bay Area, the epicenter of IoT, because it reduces costs for developers and startups in the region and opens up new business cases for the solutions they are building.”

The Bay Area deployment covers tech hot spots Cupertino, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. Early users include Semtech and PNI Sensor, which, among other products, has a smart parking solution designed to help municipalities deal with parking-related congestion. Access to a LoRaWAN could be a boon for smart parking, according to PNI Sensor Director of Marketing Robin Stoecker. “Cities utilize real-time parking data from…smart parking sensors to make it easier for drivers to find parking. Using MachineQ’s LPWAN service, cities can utilize information from parking sensors and other connected IoT devices to make data-driven decision aimed at reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions caused by drivers circling for open parking spaces.”

The LoRa Alliance has pushed the LoRaWAN specification, as well as a device certification program to ensure interoperability. In the network architecture, gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast, enabling software upgrades over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on-air communication time.

Senet is a provider a LoRa connectivity and related services in the U.S. The company recently worked with fellow LoRa Alliance member Laird to bring to market a LoRaWAN gateway that has built-in software to register and operate devices on the Senet network. The companies touted the new product, dubbed Sentrius, as enabling easy scalability for enterprises.

Laird Senior Director of Product Management Jonathan Kaye said the Senet compatible gateway “brings unique value to companies like Laird by creating new customer engagement and gateway deployment models that are accelerating the adoption of low-power, wide-area connectivity.”

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