LoRa and WiFi. They’re often stacked up against each other by the industry in a matrix of competing technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) along with narrowband (IoT), Cat M, Bluetooth and others. WiFi, however, is often dismissed for any use cases other than consumer implementations such as the smart home. WiFi has exactly what’s needed to deliver the speed and bandwidth for real-time applications such as streaming video and is very cost-effective. But WiFi also brings range limitations and higher power consumption, making it impractical for anything “in the field,” as often is found in industries such as construction, oil & gas, utilities, healthcare and others.
On the enterprise IoT side, LoRa is dominant in larger use cases that need coverage across a wide area, such as those found in the industries mentioned above. LoRa is also growing tremendously; Semtech recently announced that the total installed base for LoRa-enabled chips and nodes had reached 80 million at the end of 2018, and the LoRa Alliance says the number of LoRaWAN network operators grew by more than 60% in 2018, with more than 100 network operators now delivering low-power solutions to organizations worldwide.
There’s a reason LoRa has emerged above cellular technologies like NB-IoT and Cat-M as one of the strongest technology choices for a wide variety of IoT implementations. Its long range and low power consumption are well-proven. However, the simple case for LoRa, and LoRaWAN as a whole, is its widespread support, versatility, and long-term outlook. More than 500 leading technology companies make up the LoRa Alliance and LoRa technologies are continuously evolving and improving to enable new use cases.
So, LoRa alone is strong in the enterprise. But LoRa plus WiFi—in a mesh networking arrangement—is even better. LoRa plus WiFi brings the best of both worlds together to deliver a cost-effective, robust and secure network for IoT applications. That’s why Longview IoT has implemented mesh networking capabilities into the Longview IoT Gateway. Longview Gateways interconnect over a self-managing, self-healing wireless mesh network—creating a 800 MHz or 900 MHz LoRaWAN network that spans an enterprise’s entire coverage area. With the WiFi mesh capabilities, data is routed efficiently and effectively between gateways, and only the final “master” gateway needs to connect to the internet. This has a significant impact on reducing connectivity and operational costs, and thus total cost of ownership (TCO).
The Longview IoT’s mesh gateway networking allows companies to:
- Create better coverage and connectivity by allowing for increased gateway density without costly backhaul at each gateway
- Install firmware over-the-air (FOTA) upgrades and send messages to sensors with two-way traffic
- Enable voice and data traffic over Wi-Fi, overlaying your IoT network with a field area network (FAN) which can act as a private backup network
- Establish a private Wi-Fi network in outdoor environments with multiple power options
In addition, Longview IoT protects all of the data traveling between sensors and the cloud with enterprise-grade encryption that extends the standard LoRaWAN security protocol with hardware-based keys. Finally, Longview IoT’s patented Super-B protocol allows the network to support more sensors with greater reliability.
Longview IoT has taken the best of LoRa and the best of WiFi and meshed them together to create a gateway solution that truly goes the distance.