WBA and LoRa Alliance highlight potential synergies from Wi-Fi/LoRaWAN networks
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and the LoRa Alliance have released a white paper – “Wi-Fi & LoRaWAN Deployment Synergies: Expanding Addressable Use Cases For The Internet of Things”, which highlights the business opportunities that are created when Wi-Fi networks that are traditionally built to support critical IoT are merged with LoRaWAN networks.

According to the paper, when used together Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN networks optimise a number of IoT use cases including:

Smart Building/Smart Hospitality: There are 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.

Residential Connectivity: The deployment of LoRaWAN picocells that leverage Wi-Fi backhaul to home hubs to expand coverage of home services to the neighbourhood. These “neighbourhood IoT networks” can support new geolocation services, while also serving as a communication backbone for demand-response services.

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.

The concept of on-demand streaming in this context is worth going into in more detail. The idea is that low power LoRaWAN sensors (such as motion sensors) could be used to automatically activate a camera in response to pre-defined criteria, and the video feed from the camera is then streamed over Wi-Fi. Similarly, the data from a large number of different LoRaWAN sensors (motion, sound, vibration, etc.,) can be backhauled over Wi-Fi for aggregation in the cloud to enable more precise decision-making.

The paper states that NomoSense has built a hybrid Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN solution to reinforce work force safety in remote hazardous areas where cellular networks are rarely available. The solution leveraging local Wi-Fi hot spots back-hauling LoRaWAN® Gateways and relies on LoRaWAN sound sensors. The latter are used to monitor remote construction site health combined with Wi-Fi hot spots to locate the local work force in case of an alert, thereby increasing staff safety.

The paper also outlines a number of deployment models and details frontend and backend integration and security processes. Additionally, it provides several testimonials from organisations that have deployed hybrid Wi-Fi / LoRaWAN networks. It has been developed with input from mobile carriers, telecom equipment manufacturers and advocates of both connectivity technologies.

“Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN are two important technologies utilising the unlicensed spectrum, and they already address a large proportion of IoT use cases,” said Tiago Rodrigues, general manager, WBA. “The Deployment Synergies 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 Internet of Things.”

“The reality is that no one single technology is going to fit the billions of IoT use cases,” said Donna Moore, CEO and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. “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.”

The paper can be downloaded here

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