Critical Communications

Extending LoRaWAN to Receive Messages from Space

15 February 2018

Semtech is teaming with Lacuna Space, a maker of global connections to sensors and mobile equipment, to extend the Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) coverage with satellite connectivity.

The companies are collaborating with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Parametric GmhB to fill voids between the terrestrial gateways out of cellular reach and to give continuous global coverage via satellite connectivity.

Lacuna Space uses a set of low-earth orbiting satellites to receive messages from sensors integrated with Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology on the ground. The satellites circle over the poles of the Earth every 100 minutes at 500 kilometers above the ground. As the Earth revolves, the satellites cover the globe. The LoRaWAN is used by the satellites, which conserve battery power and the messages are stored for a short period of time until they pass over the networks of ground stations.

The data is then relayed to an application on a terrestrial network or can be viewed on a web-based application. Semtech says this is good for any internet of things (IoT) devices that need broader, continuous coverage for functions such as asset tracking or the monitoring of livestock. The technology could also be used to fill the void in rural regions and oceans where there is a lack of traditional network coverage.

LoRa technology allows for deep penetration capability for dense urban environments and indoor coverage from a single base station. It also provides the ability to connect the sensors more than 15 to 30 miles away in rural areas. LoRa Technology allows for battery lifetime up to 10 years depending on the application and allows for tracking without GPS or additional power consumption.

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