How do I Implement LoRa?
1. Identify and understand your use case.
What you want to achieve with your solution will influence how you build and deploy it.
2. Understand the technology.
A very-long-range communications technology, LoRa devices can connect thousands of devices (such as sensors, actuators, and tags), both deep indoors and over very long distances, all while supporting an incredibly long battery life in those devices – up to ten years or more.
For a quick introduction to the protocol, watch The LoRaWAN® Network Protocol Overview video (Duration: 0:56)
For more information about the technology and how it works, check out the Learning Center. Here, you will find a wealth of education and training opportunities.
If you're just starting out with LoRa and LoRaWAN, work through the free LoRaWAN Academy™, which offers a foundational understanding of LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN networking protocol.
If you're already familiar, and want to start building solutions, check out our Hands-on Labs. Here, you'll find step-by-step walk-throughs to help you get your solutions up and running quickly.
3. Select the right hardware for your region and use case.
When it comes to radio gateways, you will likely want to deploy pico cells for indoor applications, and macro cells for outdoor applications.
When it comes to integrated circuits, Semtech’s LoRa Core™ SX127x family of chips is established and has proved its worth. Installed in more than 80 million devices, the LoRa Core SX127x chips are region-specific; however, they are also flexible enough to also support other, proprietary protocols. In contrast, Semtech’s LoRa Core SX126x chips are fully optimized for applications based on LoRa, and are half the size of the LoRa Core SX127x chips, and can be used worldwide.
For more information about selecting a chip, watch Semtech’s video Selecting the Right LoRa IC for Your Application (Duration: 12:29)
4. Prototype and build your devices.
This is where our Hands-on Labs are particularly useful. For example, the Build an End-to-End Solution Using the LoRaWAN Protocol and LoRa Edge™ LR1110 lab guides you through setting up a system based on the LoRaWAN protocol, from hardware to data visualization dashboards, using the LoRa Edge LR1110 Development Kit and demonstrating how to leverage the features of Semtech’s LR1110 chip. You'll probably also be interested in the How to Build & Deploy a Network Using the LoRaWAN Protocol lab, which walks you through the end-to-end deployment of a LoRaWAN network, from building a device and a gateway that feature LoRa, to building and deploying a network using the ChipStack network server, which leverages the LoRaWAN protocol.
Furthermore, Semtech now offers the free Semtech Network Server, which allows you to connect up to three gateways and ten devices so that you can easily get your IoT ideas off the ground. You can connect up to 10 devices and three gateways, giving you a hosted environment to build and test your solutions before you go into production.
Best of all, it’s completely free!
Of course, you can always start from scratch, adding a chip and an MCU to a circuit board and building from there, or you can start with one of the many reference boards from a variety of manufacturers, all available through the Semtech LoRa Developer Catalog.
For more information about building a sensor, watch LoRaWAN Sensors (Part 1) (Duration: 2:47), and for information about joining a device and communicating with your network, watch LoRaWAN Sensors (Part 2) (Duration: 4:52))
For more hands-on videos, visit our video library.