HomeBuildingsThree cases for combining Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN connectivity

Three cases for combining Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN connectivity

Buildings and transportation use cases are well served by combining unlicensed Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN, according to a new white paper from the two organisations responsible for developing and promoting the technologies.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance and the LoRa Alliance have said use cases in the burgeoning internet of things (IoT) space require a variety of connectivity technologies. They conclude their two combine well in both enterprise and residential smart buildings, as well as in automotive and smart transportation cases.

Donna Moore, chief executive and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance, commented: “The reality is that no one single technology is going to fit the billions of IoT use cases. It is collaborative initiatives like this one with Wi-Fi that will drive innovation to solve important issues, leverage an even broader range of applications and, ultimately, ensure the success of global mass IoT deployments in the future.”

Tiago Rodrigues, general manager at the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN already address a large proportion of IoT use cases. The paper highlights the ways in which these technologies are impacting private-public business models and enabling IoT services, while also identifying ways in which the technologies complement one another and can be used to further expand the IoT [market].”

The paper, entitled Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN Deployment Synergies, outlines a number of deployment models and details front-end and back-end integration and security processes. The two groups said mobile operators, enterprises, and cities gain access to new IoT use cases by combining the Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN. The two technologies are normally deployed separately for critical IoT and low data rate massive IoT applications, respectively.

The paper says Wi-Fi connectivity, delivering short/medium range connectivity and high data rates, is “preferable… for people-centric mains-powered applications like real-time video and Internet browsing,” it concludes. LoRaWAN, providing long-range connectivity for low data rate applications, is “preferable… for applications… in hard to reach locations, such as temperature sensors in a manufacturing setting or vibration sensors in concrete”.

In particular, the paper highlights three use cases where the two technologies work well as a joint connectivity solution. These are detailed below, with quotes from the authors.

1 | Smart building / hospitality

“Both technologies have been deployed for decades throughout buildings, with Wi-Fi used for things like security cameras and high-speed Internet, and LoRaWAN used for smoke detection, asset and vehicle tracking, room usage and more. The paper identifies two scenarios for convergence of Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN, including accurate asset tracking and location services for indoor or near buildings, as well as on-demand streaming for devices with battery limitations.”

2 | Residential connectivity

“Wi-Fi is used to connect billions of personal and professional devices in homes, while LoRaWAN is used for home security and access control, leak detection, and fuel tank monitoring, and many other applications. The paper recommends deploying LoRaWAN picocells that leverage Wi-Fi backhaul to the user set top box to expand coverage of home services to the neighborhood. These ‘neighborhood IoT networks’ can support new geolocation services, while also serving as a communication backbone for demand-response services.”

3 | Automotive & smart transportation

“Currently, Wi-Fi is used for passenger entertainment and access control, while LoRaWAN is used for fleet tracking and vehicle maintenance. Hybrid use cases identified in the paper include location and video streaming.”

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