Exploring The Possibilities Of Multisite LoRaWAN Projects

LoraWan - Dean WalshThe world of IoT is huge and can sometimes be overwhelming. The technology can open up huge opportunities that weren’t either possible or financially viable previously but they can also open a can of worms.

We’ve recently been deploying a number of projects working with LoRaWAN.

What does LoRaWAN stand for?

Long Range Wide Area Network.

What does that mean?

This means this wireless protocol can send packets of data over long distances. It is designed to allow Internet of Things devices to communicate with Internet-connected applications over long-range wireless connections.

What are the benefits of LoRaWAN?

  • low cost
  • low power
  • long-range
  • high security
  • high standard
  • high capacity

The current world record for communication between LoRaWAN devices is a whopping 832 km (517 miles). But in reality, this will hugely depend on the application of the solution and more importantly the geography.

A standard LoRaWAN solution comprises a LoRaWAN device, a LoRaWAN gateway and then somewhere to store the data. Simple right? (below image – left are the devices, the middle is the gateway & the right-hand side is where the data is stored)


There are a few things you need to consider though which are REALLY important:

Can the devices see the gateway?

When we say see, we need to make sure that the signal can reach between the gateway and the device (this could be a meter, sensor etc). LoRaWAN can travel long distances but it doesn’t work as well when it has to travel THROUGH objects.

For this reason, LoRaWAN is much more effective when it has a line of sight, so trees, high rise buildings and thick walls are not your friend. You want to try and locate your gateway as high as possible ‘overlooking’ the area you’re going to read the devices from.

Why would you pick LoRaWAN?

Lots of IoT devices can cope at short distances, i.e. within a house, within a street, but if you were looking to cover long distances between the devices and the gateway, LoRaWAN can achieve this for you.

Why would you want to cover large distances?

Gateways can be expensive and then you need to get the information from the data out to your cloud or IT network, which means potential for each gateway, you will also need a router and a data SIM (which means monthly data costs etc.) which won’t always fit in your budget, so looking for an IoT network where you can have one central gateway over large distances can heavily reduce costs of both infrastructure and data.

When you have the device reading to the gateway how do you get the data out?

You need to think about what you want to do with the data and where you want it to go. If the platform you want to store this in can access LoRaWAN packets of data – great!

However, if it doesn’t you’ll need to look at how you can ‘translate’ this language to something that you want. You also have a think about cloud hosting costs vs holding this data on your internal IT network, and then there is where you back this data up to.

The applications of LoRaWAN are vast, from monitoring renewables in social housing to monitoring public transport activity and leak detection. We will usually look at LoRaWAN as a solution for clients that have highlighted populated areas so they can economise on having a central infrastructure.

Get in touch

We can support you to explore your options and help you understand how to get the most out of your IoT projects. You can reach us on 0161 543 4131 or you can email us: info@thermaticenergy.co.uk and a member of our team will be in touch.