LoRa Alliance unveils LoRaWAN development roadmap; The standard’s success guides its future evolution and direction

The LoRa Alliance, the global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for the internet of things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), today launched its formal roadmap, which highlights LoRaWAN’s evolution from building and interconnecting networks through its focus on making the technology faster and easier to deploy, work that has successfully made LoRaWAN the leading LPWAN with the most deployments supporting IoT’s active scaling across numerous end markets. The roadmap also showcases the planned development of the LoRaWAN open standard for IoT communications.

“LoRaWAN is a purpose-built networking technology to support massive IoT,” said Donna Moore, CEO and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. “The members of the LoRa Alliance have been diligent in their work to lay the foundation strategically evolving LoRaWAN to achieve the significant scaling that is taking place in IoT. Not only is our technology best of breed and proven across multiple multimillion-sensor deployments, but it is also backed by the largest ecosystem with the greatest number and diversity of certified devices. Further, it offers the widest variety of deployment options across terrestrial networks and satellite NTNs, including hybrid networking approaches. As such, it is the only LPWAN that can address the requirements of any organisation looking to deploy large-scale, low-power IoT solutions today.”

The roadmap outlines the planned enhancements of several critical features already incorporated in the LoRaWAN standard:

Expanding Addressable Markets
• Enhances connectivity for NTN LoRaWAN through, for example, further optimisation of the long range–frequency hopping spread spectrum (LR-FHSS), which enables LoRaWAN to far surpass the projected network-capacity requirements of massive IoT.
• Make relay enhancements that increase LoRaWAN signals’ reach in noisy or physically challenging environments to allow sensors to be deployed anywhere.
• Add fast and low-power network discovery, which offers new deployment options where coverage is not permanent, like mobile gateways, allowing walk-by or drive-by applications and adding significant value for key markets like utilities, where LoRaWAN dominates in terms of deployment volumes.

• Simplify deployments with easier device profile management and device migration.
• Carry GS1-compliant identifiers, such as RFIDs, barcodes, electronic product codes (EPC) over LoRaWAN, to enable devices connected via LoRaWAN to be used for product/asset identification.
• Facilitate LoRaWAN end-device onboarding by LoRaWAN networks with automated device profile downloads, which automatically request the device profiles from online repositories using a standard API, building on prior work of LoRa Alliance QR code.

Core Network Management
• Strengthen device interoperability by standardising the application server and gateway interfaces.

• Drive customer confidence through the addition of firmware updates over the air and relay to LoRaWAN certification testing, allowing end-device manufacturers to validate the performance of these features.
• Give end users confidence in cross-vendor device interoperability by adding advanced interoperability testing into the LoRaWAN certification test suite. This testing will validate that devices from different manufacturers can effectively exchange and make use of each other’s information.

Physical/Link Layer Development
• Introduce crypto-agility to LoRaWAN, so the variety of current and future crypto-suites can be used as add-ons with the LoRaWAN Link Layer without having to evolve the latter.

As IoT moves from millions to billions of connections, as is forecast in the next few years, network scalability is a key consideration that is addressed in the current standard and slated for future enhancements. Smart metering is one key market where LoRaWAN has established a market-leading position with the current specification delivering abundant network capacity to address market requirements. Recognising the growth in IoT connections that will be enabled by satellite and other NTNs, the Alliance developed LR-FHSS for massive, global LoRaWAN connectivity. As part of its planned roadmap, the LoRa Alliance will continue to enhance and expand the standard based on market needs and new use cases


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