A new paper from the Wireless Broadband Alliance and the Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) Alliance suggests combining Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN networks to increase IoT use cases.
As it currently stands, Wi-Fi networks and LoRaWAN networks are separate and serve different purposes. Wi-Fi signals are short or medium range, but have a higher data rate and require more power, making them ideal for entertainment and business operations needs.
LoRaWAN, on the other hand, uses much less power but has a much greater range than Wi-Fi. LoRaWAN signals achieve their impressive range by having a super-low data rate, making them ideal for IoT devices.
Together, the paper argues, those two wireless protocols could expand the Internet of Things and improve aspects of end-user computing.
Use cases for combined Wi-Fi/LoRaWAN networks
The examples of where combined networks can operate isn't limited to the commercial: Residential users of both Wi-Fi and IoT devices could see benefits as well.
- Smart buildings and the hospitality industry could combine networks both to track assets and enable additional location services as well as provide lower-bandwidth on-demand streaming for battery-powered devices.
- Potential residential uses include connecting Wi-Fi piggybacking LoRaWAN IoT devices between residential Wi-Fi networks to create a neighborhood IoT network.
- Automotive and smart transportation companies could combine Wi-Fi and LoRaWAN to make location and video streaming more reliable on busses, planes, and other mass transit services.
This paper comes two years after Eric Hamilton, CTO of the Australian National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo), said that cellular connectivity wasn't the answer for extending the range of IoT networks: LoRaWAN was.