Each wave of technology that has changed the world over the last 40 years has came with its own unique supply chain and ecosystem. The PC wave bought us Dell, HP, Apple and Cisco. The cellular wave made Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and iPhone household names. Both of these technologies required networks, which had an entire ecosystem of operators (ATT/Verizon) and OEMs supplying the network hardware (base stations, routers). We are proud to distribute products from the best companies leading this next wave of technology deployment including Tektelic, MultiTech, Browan, Laird Connectivity, Kerlink, and RAK Wireless.

What is IoT?

IoT or the Internet of Things can be defined as a system of computing devices that provides the ability to transfer data over networks without requiring human to computer interaction. In short, it allows systems to communicate and work together delivering efficiency and decreasing operational costs. 

What can IoT be used for?

These devices range from chips that are implanted into livestock, to sensors that monitor just about anything, living or nonliving. As we transform buildings and cities into smart buildings and smart cities, the desire to monitor everything and have everything interconnect and working together in real-time is becoming not only the new reality, but a necessity to stay competitive.

What are the communication standards for IoT?

In order to meet the battery life, security, and coverage requirements of many IoT deployments, new communications standards were required.  LoRaWAN (https://lora-alliance.org/), BLE Mesh https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_mesh_networking, and CBRS https://www.cbrsalliance.org/  are some of the communication standards that will support the majority of IoT deployments. 

What communication technologies are used for IoT?

Most IoT deployments will use multiple communication technologies, continuing to leverage cellular and Wi-Fi where it makes sense, along with integrating LoRaWAN for hard to reach areas and CBRS for high bandwidth & QoS applications. 

What is Cal-Chip Connected Devices role?

Cal-Chip Connected Devices (CCCD) is here to help our customers understand how to combine the technical attributes of these different communication technologies into an optimal IoT network architecture for your deployment.  

CCCD is committed to helping our customers navigate through the expanding buffet of communication technologies. Lets start with understanding LoRaWAN.

Why LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN (https://lora-alliance.org/) offers the lowest power and longest range for many types of IoT sensors. A single LoRaWAN gateway can support thousands of sensors and provide coverage for a large warehouse, commercial building, or farm. Additional LoRaWAN gateways can easily be added to expand coverage to an entire corporate campus or even entire cities. LoRaWAN operates in the unlicensed ISM bands and can be deployed using IP or cellular backhaul LoRaWAN gateways. LoRaWAN includes two layers of 128-AES encryption and a flexible network model that allows sensor data to be securely routed through public or partner networks.  

LoRaWAN is an ideal solution for commercial building monitoring and anything that needs to cover large, outdoor areas. 

For instance, take building occupancy as an example. Lets say we want to detect the real-time occupancy of a small hotel (3 stories - 100 rooms). LoRaWAN would allow you to cover the whole facility with only one or two gateways, while using low cost & battery powered PIR sensors, such as this Browan model  (https://www.calchipconnect.com/collections/sensors/products/browan-pir-motion-sensor), in each room. These Browan sensors have a 3+ year battery life in most applications.

Why choose LoRaWAN over Wi-Fi?

Why not use Wi-Fi PIR sensors you might ask, after all, the hotel likely has a WIFI network already, right? The biggest technical issue is most likely the battery life of Wi-Fi based PIR sensors. LoRaWAN typically has a 5-10x battery life advantage over Wi-Fi for these types of applications. Security, remote network administration, and network autonomy are additional advantages of LoRaWAN. There is no guarantee that all hotel operators will allow someone to add 100 IoT sensors to their Wi-Fi network. Furthermore, there is zero chance you will be the administrator of that network, meaning there is really very little control of QoS. Deploying a couple LoRaWAN gateways with cellular fallback is a more deterministic solution. LoRaWAN provides extensive remote network management tools that work over the top of the primary IP network used for backhaul.  

Are there LoRaWAN networks already in place?

In some locations there may be a public or multi-tenant LoRaWAN network already deployed, saving you the cost of deploying a gateway to that site.  LoRaWAN is enabling entire network carrier options including Helium – The People's Network (www.helium.com).

Where can I learn more about LoRaWAN?

To learn more about LoRaWAN check out these links:

https://lora-alliance.org/

www.helium.com

www.chirpstack.io

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft3_LBw0ans

https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/

https://tektelic.com/

https://www.multitech.com/

https://www.kerlink.com/

https://www.browan.com/