An Experimental Evaluation of the Reliability of LoRa Long-Range Low-Power Wireless Communication

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Recent technological innovations allow compact radios to transmit over long distances with minimal energy consumption and could drastically affect the way Internet of Things (IoT) technologies communicate in the near future. By extending the communication range of links, it is indeed possible to reduce the network diameter to a point that each node can communicate with almost every other node in the network directly. This drastically simplifies communication, removing the need of routing, and significantly reduces the overhead of data collection. Long-range low-power wireless technology, however, is still at its infancy, and it is yet unclear (i) whether it is sufficiently reliable to complement existing short-range and cellular technologies and (ii) which radio settings can sustain a high delivery rate while maximizing energy-efficiency. To shed light on this matter, this paper presents an extensive experimental study of the reliability of LoRa , one of the most promising long-range low-power wireless technologies to date. We focus our evaluation on the impact of physical layer settings on the effective data rate and energy efficiency of communications. Our results show that it is often not worth tuning parameters, thereby reducing the data rate in order to maximize the probability of successful reception, especially on links at the edge of their communication range. Furthermore, we study the impact of environmental factors on the performance of LoRa, and show that higher temperatures significantly decrease the received signal strength and may drastically affect packet reception.

MDPI | Paper

Authors: Marco Cattani and Carlo Alberto Boano and Kay Römer

Research groups: Institute for Technical Informatics, Technical University of Graz
Journal: Sensor and Actuator Networks (Jsan)
Date: June 2017