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Low-power WAN technologies are designed for machine-to-machine (M2M) networking environments. With decreased power requirements, longer range and lower cost than a mobile network, LPWANs are thought to enable a much wider range of M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, which have been constrained by budgets and power issues.
LPWAN data transfer rates are very low, as is the power consumption of connected devices. LPWAN enables connectivity for networks of devices that require less bandwidth than what the standard home equipment provides. Furthermore, LPWANs can operate at a lower cost, with greater power efficiency. The networks can also support more devices over a larger coverage area than consumer mobile technologies and have better bi-directionality.
Bluetooth, ZigBee and Wi-Fi are adequate for consumer-level IoT implementations. The need for a technology such as LPWAN is much greater in industrial IoT, civic and commercial applications. In these environments, the huge numbers of connected devices can only be supported if communications are efficient and power costs low.
LPWAN technologies include:
- Greenwaves, a low-power, long range offering.
- Haystack, a DASH7 low-power wireless network development platform.
- LoRaWAN, the LoRa Alliance’s Long Range WAN.
- LTE-MTC, a development of LTE communications for connected things.
- RPMA, On-Ramp Wireless’s Random Phase Multiple Access.
- Symphony Link from Link Lab.
- ThingPark Wireless, Actility’s development of the LoRaWAN.
- UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) from various companies including Telensa, NWave and Sigfox.
- Weightless, from the Weightless SIG.
- WAVIoT Narrowband M2M protocol.