Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) or Low-Power Network (LPN) is a type of wireless telecommunication wide area network designed to allow long range communications at a low bit rate among things (connected objects), such as sensors operated on a battery.[1][2] The low power, low bit rate and intended use distinguish this type of network from a wireless WAN that is designed to connect users or businesses, and carry more data, using more power.

An LPWAN may be used to create a private wireless sensor network, but may also be a service or infrastructure offered by a third party, allowing the owners of sensors to deploy them in the field without investing in gateway technology.

Platforms and technologies[edit]

There are a number of competing standards and vendors in the LPWAN space, the most prominent of which include:

LoRa based[edit]

LoRa is a proprietary, chirp spread spectrum (CSS) radio modulation technology for LPWAN used by LoRaWAN, Haystack Technologies, and Symphony Link.[3]

LoRa is a patented (EP2763321 from 2013 and US7791415 from 2008) technology developed by Cycleo (Grenoble, France) and acquired by Semtech in 2012.[4] LoRa uses license-free sub Gigahertz radio frequency bands like 169 MHz, 433 MHz, 868 MHz (Europe) and 915 MHz (North America).

On top of this physical layer a number of protocols are competing for notice:

  • LoRaWAN is an open LPWAN data link standard maintained by the LoRa Alliance. In the OSI stack model, LoRaWAN would correspond to the Data Link layer (L2) and then its sublayer Media access control (MAC) layer. On 16 June 2015 version 1.0 of the LoRaWAN specification was released.[5] Some companies are offering hosting of LoRaWAN services:
    • iFrogLab , public LoRaWAN and LoRa provider North America and Taiwan.[6]
    • The Things Network, a free and open-source LoRaWAN network provider developed and supported by a worldwide community.[7]
    • Senet, public LoRaWAN provider in North America.[8]
    • ThingPark Wireless, platform from Actility (based on LoRaWAN specification).[9]
    • IoT-X, platform from Stream Technologies for public and private networks. [10]
  • MySensors, DIY Home Automation framework supporting LoRa radios.
  • Symphony Link, LoRa-based platform from Link Labs.[11]

Ultra Narrow Band[edit]

UNB, Ultra Narrow Band, modulation technology used for LPWAN by various companies including:

  • Sigfox, UNB-based technology and French company.[12]
  • Telensa,[13]
  • NWave, proprietary technology that also forms the basis of the Weightless protocols[14][15][16]
  • Weightless, a set of communication standards from the Weightless SIG.
  • Weightless-N [17]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beser, Nurettin Burcak. "Operating cable modems in a low power mode." U.S. Patent No. 7,389,528. 17 June 2008.
  2. ^ Schwartzman, Alejandro, and Chrisanto Leano. "Methods and apparatus for enabling and disabling cable modem receiver circuitry." U.S. Patent No. 7,587,746. 8 September 2009.
  3. ^ "LoRa Integration - Link Labs". Link Labs. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  4. ^ "LoRa, LoRaWAN and LORIOT.io". LORIOT. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  5. ^ Version 1.0 of the LoRaWAN specification released.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Network, The Things. "The Things Network". The Things Network. Retrieved 2017-05-24. 
  8. ^ Senet
  9. ^ "ThingPark Wireless | Thingpark". www.thingpark.com. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  10. ^ Technologies, Stream. "Stream Technologies - Low Power Wide Area Networks - LoRa". www.stream-technologies.com. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Symphony Link - Link Labs". Link Labs. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  12. ^ "SIGFOX Technology". Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  13. ^ "UNB Wireless - Telensa". Telensa. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  14. ^ OpenSensors.io
  15. ^ NWave
  16. ^ "Nwave Network | Nwave". www.nwave.io. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  17. ^ "Weightless-N - Weightless". www.weightless.org. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  18. ^ "Framework Details". haystacktechnologies.com. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  19. ^ Flynn, Kevin. "Evolution of LTE in Release 13". www.3gpp.org. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  20. ^ "LTE-M, NB-LTE-M, & NB-IOT: Three 3GPP IoT Technologies To Get Familiar With". Link Labs. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  21. ^ Huawei. "Huawei and partners Leading NB-IoT Standardization -- PHOENIX, Sept. 21, 20 15 /PR Newswire UK/ --". www.prnewswire.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 
  22. ^ LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) Market Report
  23. ^ WAVIoT
  24. ^ "Ingenu's RPMA Technology". Ingenu. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lee, Chang-Jae, Ki-Seon Ryu, and Beum-Joon Kim. "Periodic ranging in a wireless access system for mobile station in sleep mode." U.S. Patent No. 7,194,288. 20 March 2007.
  • Quigley, Thomas J., and Ted Rabenko. "Latency reduction in a communications system." U.S. Patent No. 7,930,000. 19 April 2011.