Frequently Asked Questions

Semtech provides full API documentation on the core elements of the solution such as the decryption and the solver. This makes it simple to provide the fully integrated scalable solution.

Final validation of a product will often require certified approval from an international or regional regulation office (typically ETSI, FCC or ARIB depending on the region).

One of the tests required is the Continuous Wave radio test (also called Tx-Cw) which is described in another article.

Another test requires setting the radio in continuous modulated signal to measure the spectral occupation taken by the radio signal when transmitting packets. To this aim, it is often required for the radio to transmit pseudo-random binary PN9 or PN15 payloads. There is no easy way to perform this test and the only solution is to create the payloads on the companion MCU and then send the packets one by one, with a different PNx sequence generated from the MCU. Here, care must be taken in the time between packets which will have an influence on the spurious emissions generated by the PA ramp-up and down in quick succession.

Source code lists are available to licensees. Other items made available are test routines, procedures and scripts for hardware and software. Test results are provided within the test reports provided to the licensee.

There is not a lot of field data available on different types of antenna yet. All field trials to-date have been conducted with 5dBi omni-directional antennas. Trials have been executed with the two diversity antennas placed in different polarizations and it was found that two vertical antennae spaced at one meter horizontally were significantly better than placing one horizontally and one vertically. No data is available on using sectored antenna with LoRa location at this time.

The idea behind this test is to measure the output power of a single frequency carrier and measure the potential spurs around this frequency.This test is required for the EN300.220 ETSI validation.

On most of the Semtech FSK transmitters, the simplest way to perform this test is to set the Frequency Deviation of a standard modulated FSK signal to 0 Hz.

The first step is to set the frequency of the continuous wave, as a second step, you will need to set the PA Output (RFO or PA Boost depending on your chipset and implementation). The third step is to set the frequency deviation to 0 .To finish, you need to set the radio in continuous transmit mode. Using a spectrum analyser, you should observe a clean carrier at the frequency entered.

Alternatively, for the SX127x, it is also possible to digitally create a continuous waveform using the internal radio modulator.This method is slightly more obscure as it is using some undocumented registers of the radio.To simplify the work, we have implemented example code for the SX1272 and the SX1276 which are given with the software release for the chipsets.

The examples are located here

No, LoRa devices can be used like any other RF transceiver in existing applications with custom proprietary protocols. However, using LoRaWAN will significantly improve time to market. The stack, having similarities to 802.15.4,  is FCC and ETSI compliant and offers all the security needed by a modern RF protocols (network key, unique Id for each end point, AES128 encryption... ). LoRaWAN also offers the possibility to be used in private AND public networks.

There are changes required at the host interface and specifications for transmitting data in a LoRa system that require changes to the host system software, but with fully integrated modems available in the eco-system, and their well-defined host controller interface, it is actually quite seamless.

The "JoinAccept" message is decrypted by the Application Server (AS) and  not the Network Server (NS). 

The AS is allowed to see the end-device application data but the NS is not. 

The AS exchanges key information with the end-device through the NS (the NS forwards the messages but doesn’t understand them). 

At the end of the exchange, when the session keys have been calculated, the AS gives the network session key to the NS.   

In Europe LBT+AFA ( Listen-Before-Talk + Adaptive-Frequency-Agility ) is not desired or implemented, however in certain regions LBT is mandated.

The reference design now implements LBT, specifically to be in compliance with regulations in Korea and Japan.

LoRaWAN data rates range for LoRa between 0.3 kbps to 11 kbps, and one GFSK data rate at 50 kbps for Europe. In North America, the minimum data rate is 0.9 kpbs due to FCC rules. To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output power for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) algorithm. The ADR is critical for a high performance network and it enables scalability. A network can be deployed with a minimal investment in infrastructure, and as capacity is needed, more gateways can be deployed and the ADR will shift the data rates higher which will scale the network capacity. 

No, LoRaWAN as a protocol is strictly for wide area networks, but LoRa as a lower-level physical layer technology (PHY) can be used in all sorts of applications outside of wide area.

LoRaWAN certification ensures interoperability and compliance with LoRaWAN networks and will be requested by LoRaWAN network carriers. It also entitles the use of the LoRa Alliance Certified logo.

Currently the certification program is for Class A devices at EU region 863-870MHz band.

The certification program for Class B, Class C and Gateway devices has not yet been opened.

The certification program for regions that do not use the EU ISM Band is also still under development. However you may contact Espotel if you are interested in pre-certification testing for devices that do not yet have a certification program.

The LoRaWAN certification process with Espotel is as follows:

  1. Contact Espotel for a quote. We can guide you through the whole process.
  2.  Prepare your product(s) for certification. We can guide you through these requirements.
    • Must fulfill 2015-LoRaWAN_Specification_1R0_611_1. The specification is available from the LoRa Alliance.
    • Must fulfill LoRa Alliance End Device Certification Requirements for EU. The specification is available from the LoRa Alliance.
  3. Fill in the certification questionnaire. The questionnaire is available from the LoRa Alliance.
  4. Send your product to us. It should be ready for Over the Air activation or already personalized.
  5. We run the certification tests and send you the results.
  6.  If test passed, either we or you can provide the results to LoRa Alliance.
  7.  If test failed we will give you the diagnostics and help you to fix the problem. Then follows a retest (step 4 again).
  8.  Alliance reviews the passed test result and produces the LoRaWAN certificate.

Results and basic product information are released on LoRa Alliance web page. This can be delayed if a certain product launch date is requested.

Full guidance through the LoRaWAN certification process. The certification testing includes test diagnostics and instructions for corrections in case your node fails.

Also a single retest round is included in the price if the node fails.

No, regulatory testing can take place before, after or at the same time as the LoRaWAN certification testing.

Espotel can also help you with the regulatory approvals, so that you get a full turnkey solution for your testing, certification and regulatory approval needs.

Every network operator agrees that they can only connect 10-15% of the predicted volume of IoT devices with cellular. WiFi and BTLE serve some applications well, but clearly are not going to connect moisture sensors for agriculture with WiFi. LPWAN, with the inherent long range and low power characteristics will be the ‘goto’ technology for IoT applications where remote locations, easy deployment, thousands of connections per gateway and long battery life are required.

Most analysts predict that 45-55% of predicted IoT volumes will be in the LPWAN space, see also the comparative volumes below as per SNS Research.

The main IoT applications for LPWA technology need a long battery life to enable 'fit and forget' or disposable end-devices, a low cost sensor or end-device BOM, and long range connectivity.

The applications where LPWAN's are applicable are endless, but if you look at the main applications driving the current network deployments they are intelligent building, supply chain, Smart City and agriculture. In intelligent building the main value driver is in insurance premiums and servicing.

In cold regions a broken water pipe has an approximate insurance claim of $50K, so insurance companies offer a premium discount if a building management solution is utilized. Having sensors know if the building or room was used can have significant reductions in service management and related expenses.

In supply chain any application that has a delivery or pick-up with associated inventory can have huge savings in inventory management and delivery route optimization. A smart trash monitoring solution reduces pick-ups by 40%.

In agriculture the needs are driven by growing food demands. Agricultures accounts for 80% percent of water usage, and the value of crops is extremely high, so having sensors to determine water usage, health of soil/crop, etc. is extremely important. Accurate irrigation and soil monitoring translates into significant cost savings in resource usage and improved profit with improved yields.  

The 64 bit Extended Unique Identifier (EUI) is comprised of two parts, the 24 bit Organisationally Unique Identifier (OUI) and a 40 bit serial number. The OUI is allocated  by the IEEE, and the serial number by anyone that owns an OUI, together they form the EUI. AppEUI and DevEUI are both special cases of EUI.

FPort values 1..223 are application specific with their meaning being defined by the application provider. The LoRa Alliance has not specified an assignment for any port in this range to a particular application.