Build a local network with LoRaWAN

At its core, the Internet is really just a collection of networked computers. There’s no reason there can’t be other separate computer networks, or that we all have to link every computer we have to The One Internet To Rule Them All. In fact, for many embedded systems, it doesn’t make much sense to give them a full network stack and Cat6e Ethernet just to report some details about themselves. Enter LoRaWAN, a wireless LAN that uses extremely low power for Internet of Things devices, and an implementation of one of these networks in an urban environment.

The heart of the build is the LoRaWAN Gateway which sits on top of a tall building to maximize the wireless range of all other devices. It runs ChirpStack on the software side and uses a Kerlink Wigrid station to stream. Reported range is just over 9 km with this configuration. Other gateways can also be added and individual LoRa modules can relate to any available gateway. From there, the gateways all communicate with the central server and the information can be sent out to the wider network, the Internet or otherwise.

The creator of the project [mihai.cuciuc] note that this type of solution might not be suitable for everyone. There are other WANs available, but LoRaWAN usage like this would likely scale better as more devices are added to the network. For other ways LoRa can be put to good use, take a look at this project that builds an off-grid communication network with it.

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