LoRaWAN recognised as international standard by UN agency

10 Dec 2021

Image: © jamesteohart/Stock.adobe.com

The long-range communication technology can enable a variety of IoT applications for industrial farms, buildings and smart cities.

LoRaWAN, the proprietary low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology, has been recognised as an international standard by the United Nations.

This comes after years of work by the LoRa Alliance, a non-profit group of global companies that develop and promote the LoRaWAN networking protocol as the global standard for internet of things (IoT) networks.

This long-range technology can open up many practical applications in networks that spread across vast amounts of space, such as industrial farms, large buildings, logistics set-ups and smart cities. Last month, scientists were even able to bounce a message off the moon using LoRa technology.

Before LoRaWAN was approved by the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there had been no international standard for LPWAN technologies. Some other options in the space include narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), LTE-M and Sigfox.

“LoRaWAN was developed as an open standard from the very beginning, which was recognised by the LPWAN community and demonstrated by its rapid global adoption as the LPWAN for IoT,” said Donna Moore, chair and CEO of the LoRa Alliance.

She added that the alliance has pushed for the international recognition of LoRaWAN by the ITU to “achieve the interoperability needed for massive scaling” and that its efforts reflect the alliance’s commitment to openness and standardisation.

Global scaling

For much of 2021, the LoRa Alliance has engaged with the ITU to complete the qualification process, which is overseen and assessed by ICT experts in study groups from around the world.

Bilel Jamoussi, chief of study groups for the ITU’s telecom standardisation bureau, said that the recognition of LoRaWAN as an international standard marks a “significant agreement” that has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of economies.

“We see strong commitment to building synergies among standardisation efforts in ITU’s work for IoT, smart cities and communities, and the approval of this new international standard demonstrates that this is a commitment that ITU shares with the LoRa Alliance.”

In 2019, a white paper released by the Wireless Broadband Alliance and the LoRa Alliance argued how a combination of Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN can open up a variety of new IoT use cases and opportunities.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic