Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA) is a wireless connectivity technology that enables data communication at low rates between devices across long distances, with minimal power consumption. LPWA Networks (LPWANs) leverage these wireless protocols to deploy IoT solutions by connecting devices to a network stack, which in turn routes device data to business applications.
LPWAN technologies capitalize on the inherent qualities of low-frequency radio communications, enabling long range propagation and low power consumption. This also means that the data transfers supported by LPWAN are high latency and slow, which limits its applications to sensors and trackers rather than enabling applications such as video streaming or connected automobiles.
A typical LPWAN architecture includes the following elements:
- Connected devices (typically sensors)
- Gateways or base stations
- Network stack
- End-user applications
LPWAN connectivity can be supported across the electromagnetic spectrum, operating in either the licensed or unlicensed space. To operate in the licensed space, the connectivity provider (usually a mobile network operator) must buy the license for specific frequency bands from either its country’s telecommunications regulator (usually at auction) or from an already licensed private entity. The unlicensed frequency bands are typically reserved for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) purposes and can be used by anyone, for free, without requiring a license. Note that the specific regulation of these frequency bands vary from country to country and from operator to operator…
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