The difference between LoRa and LoRaWAN gateway module

Many people can't tell the difference between LoRaWAN wireless module and LoRa gateway wireless transmission technology, and what is their application in the field of Internet of Things.

LoRaWAN refers to the networking protocol of the MAC layer, while LoRa is a physical layer protocol. Although the existing LoRaWAN networking basically uses LoRa as the physical layer, the LoRaWAN protocol also lists that GFSK can also be used as the physical layer in certain frequency bands. From the perspective of network layering, LoRaWAN can use any physical layer protocol, and LoRa can also be used as the physical layer of other networking technologies.

LoRa is one of the LPWAN communication technologies. It is an ultra-long-distance wireless transmission scheme based on spread spectrum technology adopted and promoted by Semtech Corporation of the United States. This solution changes the previous trade-off between transmission distance and power consumption, and provides users with a simple system that can achieve long-distance, long battery life, and large capacity, and then expand the sensor network. At present, LoRa mainly operates in free frequency bands around the world, including 433/868/915MHz and so on.

LoRaWAN wireless communication is an open standard that defines a communication protocol for LPWAN technology based on LoRa chips. LoRaWAN defines Media Access Control (MAC)
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at the data link layer and is maintained by the LoRa Alliance. This distinction between LoRa and LoRaWAN is important because other companies like Link Labs use a proprietary MAC layer on top of LoRa chips to create a better hybrid design, called Symphony Link in Link Labs' case.

LoRaWAN is a star or star-to-star topology generally considered better than mesh because of its advantages in preserving battery power and increasing communication range. Specifically, the star topology relays messages to a central server through gateways, and each end node transmits data to multiple gateways. The gateway then forwards the data to the web server where redundancy detection, security checks and message scheduling are performed.

Overall, LoRa only includes the link layer protocol and is very suitable for P2P

communication between nodes; LoRaWAN also includes the network layer, so information can be sent to any base station connected to the cloud platform. The LoRaWAN module can work at different frequencies
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simply by connecting the correct antenna to its socket.

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