First module for ultra long-range low-power network LoRa standard

06-03-2015 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

Microchip has announced the first in a series of modules for the LoRa
technology low-data-rate wireless networking standard, which enables
Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless communication
with a range of more than 10 miles (suburban), a battery life of greater
than 10 years, and the ability to connect millions of wireless sensor nodes
to LoRa technology gateways.

The 433/868 MHz RN2483 is a European R&TTE Directive Assessed Radio Module,
accelerating development time while reducing development costs.
Additionally, it combines a small module form factor of 17.8x26.3x3 mm with
14 GPIOs, providing the flexibility to connect and control a large number of
sensors and actuators while taking up very little space.

Gartner predicts that there will be 25 billion connected things in use by
2020. While the IoT market is explosively growing, developers are challenged
to establish a simple, robust infrastructure with their limited resources.
They are demanding a solution that requires a minimum total cost of
ownership and is easy to design, with short time to market, great
interoperability and nationwide deployment.

The RN2483 comes with the LoRaWAN protocol stack, so it can easily connect
with the established and rapidly expanding LoRa Alliance infrastructure,
including both privately managed local area networks (LANs) and
telecom-operated public networks, to create Low Power Wide Area Networks
(LPWANs) with nationwide coverage. This stack integration also enables the
module to be used with any microcontroller that has a UART interface,
including hundreds of Microchip's PIC MCUs. Additionally, the RN2483
features Microchip's simple ASCII command interface for easy configuration
and control.

LoRa technology has several advantages over other wireless systems. It
utilises a spread-spectrum base modulation that is capable of demodulation
with a 20dB below noise level. This enables high sensitivity with robust
network links, improves network efficiency and eliminates interference. The
LoRaWAN protocol's star topology eliminates synchronisation overhead and
hops, compared to mesh networks, which reduces power consumption and enables
multiple concurrent applications to run on the network. LoRa technology also
has a much longer range than other wireless protocols, which enables the
RN2483 to operate without repeaters, reducing the total cost of ownership.
In comparison to 3G and 4G cellular networks, LoRa technology is far more
scalable and cost effective for embedded applications.

The RN2483 module resolves the age-old wireless developer's dilemma, where
they had to choose between longer range and lower power consumption. By
employing LoRa technology, designers can now maximise both while reducing
the cost of additional repeaters. Additionally, the RN2483 provides them
with the ability to secure their network communication using AES-128
encryption.

With its scalability, robust communication, mobility and the ability to
operate in harsh outdoor environments, the RN2483 is well suited for a broad
range of low-data-rate wireless monitoring and control designs. Example IoT
and M2M applications include: Smart Cities, such as street lights, parking
and traffic sensors; Energy Measurement smart meters for electricity, water
and gas; and Industrial/Commercial/Home Automation applications such as HVAC
controls, smart appliances, security systems and lighting, says the company.

Samples of the RN2483 are available now and it is expected to be widely
available for purchase in May. Development boards are also expected to be
available in May, allowing designers to utilise Microchip's proven and free
MPLAB integrated development environment.

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