Selecting a Low-Power Wide-Area Network

Low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) play a crucial role in the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). These wireless networks are often the primary backbone of IIoT networks. The can provide a cost-effective way to connect a huge number of remote devices spread over large areas, all while using power so efficiently that batteries in remote devices are be capable of lasting years, even decades.

LPWANs’ data rate, payload size, and latency have been intentionally restricted in favor of long operating range and ultra-low power consumption, both of which far exceed what can be achieved with more traditional wireless technologies. Some solutions are capable of achieving receiver sensitivity of below -140 dBm, which is significantly better than competing technologies such as Zigbee and Bluetooth which obtain -125 dBm and -90 dBm respectively.

Several other factors should be considered when selecting an appropriate LPWAN technology. Although price and data rate are common attributes that are quoted by sales and used to compare solutions, several others are equally important:

  • Cost
  • Data Rate and System Latency
  • Operating Range
  • Frequency Band
  • Link Budget
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Interference Rejection and Error Correction
  • Security
  • Roaming
  • System Capacity and Scalability
  • Channel Access Strategy
  • Field Upgrades
  • Network Topology
  • Over the Air Upgrades

It can be a quite daunting task to wade through the numerous competing LPWAN technologies and select a suitable solution for your application. SCT has decades of wireless product design experience and specific application experience with various LPWAN technologies. We help fast-track our customers through the process of selecting an appropriate LPWAN technology and integration of that technology into their IoT application.

Interested in learning more? Read our full white paper Low-Power Wide-Area Networks 101 for a detailed technical discussion describing the characteristics to consider when selecting an LPWAN technology.