Tech Papers and Guides

Introduction to Packet Optimization

Part of any successful sensor network design is determining the type, quantity, precision and format of data to transmit over the air. LoRa® allows the transmission of data over very long ranges with minimal power consumption and LoRaWAN® manages the LoRa® radio infrastructure to ensure compatible and seamless network integration. The tradeoff is usually the amount of data that can be transmitted at any one time. This suggests that certain aspects of dataflow should be encouraged, and others avoided, when transmitting data using LoRa utilizing LoRaWAN.

The most important factor in designing data that is sent over the air is the principle of getting the maximum information across while transmitting the minimum number of bits. Two key factors contribute to this principle:

  • Over-the-air bandwidth is a fixed resource that must be shared by many devices. Sending fewer bits permits more devices in a given area.
  • Each bit costs some amount of energy. Many applications are energy-constrained (for example the size of a device’s battery). Therefore, fewer bits mean longer life or more efficient operation.

This document provides some best practices for designing data for LoRa and LoRaWAN communications, as well as efficient data transfer. For more information about LoRaWAN and its specification, visit the LoRa Alliance website.