This post is about a meetup on “LoRaWAN and its Use cases in India” an event with Tata Communications Ltd at NASSCOM IoT CoE on August 4, 2018. The meetup was organised by Applied Singularity as a part of their LoRa month.
LoRa (Long Range) is a patented digital wireless data communication IoT technology developed by Cycleo of Grenoble, France, and acquired by Semtech in 2012. LoRa uses license-free sub-gigahertz radio frequency bands. LoRa enables very-long-range transmissions (more than 10 km in rural areas) with low power consumption. The technology is presented in two parts — LoRa, the physical layer and LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network), the upper layers.
The meetup had three interesting sessions. The first session was conducted by Mr Sunil Kumar TV, Senior Staff Engineer, Semtech. He talked mostly about what is LoRa, LoRa Alliance, LoRaWAN, LoRaWAN device classes, security and where Semtech come into the picture. It was interesting to understand why LoRa would be really useful and how the ultra low power consumption of LoRa devices would really help battery powered IoT devices last for years without a battery replacement. That does not mean every LoRa device would last for years on a single battery though. Class A devices when paired along with an ultra low power circuit would be the most power efficient as it would be in sleep mode for most of the time. Class B and Class C devices could be used in cases were a more reliable and faster response time is required and power consumption isn’t as critical as in the previous case.
The next session was conducted by Mr Priyasloka Arya. He has been experimenting and working on LoRa devices for a few years now. He talked about his experience working on LoRa and the problems newbies would normally face, such as, the devices not working or working very poorly due to bad modules and uncalibrated antennas. He showed us a few boards that he had developed and explained how to choose the right type of antenna.
The final session for the meetup was conducted by the Tata communications team lead by Mr Matiur Rahaman. This presentation was about the LoRa network that Tata Communications has set up across India that currently covers 35 cities and 8 freight corridors. They have also been testing these networks with various applications like asset tracking, automated metering, smart lighting, etc. What surprised me was the fact that tests within Bangalore city only got upto 2–2.5Km radius coverage per gateway.
I got to meet some amazing people after the talks. Nihal Kashinath, founder of Applied Singularity and Darshan Virupaksha told me how they started the Bangalore IoT community and kept it running as an open community until Applied singularity was found. Sunil Kumar told me about Semtech’s University program where they help academic institutes set up LoRa labs and also train students on the technology.
Overall the meetup was an amazing experience.