What is the Best LoRaWAN Gateway?

Choosing the Right LoRaWAN Gateway For Your Application

LoRaWAN is an openly available wireless protocol that sits on top of LoRa, one of the leading emerging standards for supporting long-range wireless sensor technology.

LoRa uses a proprietary modulation scheme developed by Semtech called chirp spread spectrum that is resistant to multi-path fading. The standard runs at 915MHz in the US, an uncommonly used band for connecting wireless devices. As a result, LoRa devices don’t have to compete for airtime with 2.4GHz devices and, instead, enjoy excellent link margins over long distances. LoRa devices can communicate across many miles in open air environments and cut through noisy environments well.

In LoRa networks, wireless sensors and devices connect to the internet or local networks through public base stations. Solution providers can also set up private LoRaWAN gateways in areas with limited cell tower coverage. Often times, it is the end user or solution provider that deploys these private LoRaWAN gateways. Compared to Sigfox, another leading LPWAN protocol, LoRaWAN can transfer larger data loads and support more devices simultaneously.

Providers do not have to pay monthly fees to support wireless devices on a private LoRaWAN network. However, they do need to purchase gateways should they want to expand coverage. Fortunately, it is easy to manage multiple LoRaWAN gateways simultaneously and set up private networks.

There are several leading manufacturers of LoRaWAN gateways:

  • Multitech
  • Tektelic Communications
  • Laird Connectivity
  • Dragino

Before purchasing LoRaWAN gateways for your long-range wireless network, be sure to learn about these manufacturers and explore all of your gateway options. Your supplier and gateway choices will depend heavily on your specific Internet of Things (IoT) application.

MultiTech

MultiTech is a Minnesota-based designer, developer, and manufacturer of industrial IoT equipment. The company has been in operation for nearly 50 years and is focused on helping organizations deploy global IoT applications that enhance core processes. Currently, there are more than 22 million MultiTech products supporting businesses all over the world.

The enterprise’s catalog includes a portfolio of products that are designed specifically for LoRaWAN. Solution providers can purchase MultiTech gateways, modems, and end nodes through the company’s worldwide network of resellers and distributors.

On the gateway front, the company has three different products:

  • MultiConnect Conduit
  • MultiConnect Conduit IP67
  • MultiConnect Conduit AP

The MultiConnect Conduit is a scalable, quick deployment gateway designed for indoor industrial applications. The gateway is highly configurable with MultiTech’s cloud-based DeviceHQ IoT Device Management platform. Network engineers can easily manage, customize, and deploy their LoRaWAN gateways with zero touch provisioning. The Conduit also comes with two accessory card slots so that users can connect a multitude of assets to the gateways on their preferred interfaces.

The MultiConnect Conduit IP67 is more durable than the basic Conduit gateway and, thus, is better for outdoor settings. The device can withstand harsh environmental conditions, including those involving moisture, dust, snow, and heat. Overall, the Conduit IP67 gateway can support thousands of sensors simultaneously and be deployed on individual stands or existing telecommunications towers.

The MultiConnect Conduit AP gateway is intended for solution providers that want to extend their LoRa networks to remote and isolated areas in a cost-effective manner. The AP gateway can forward user data packets between network servers and LoRa end nodes in areas where in-building penetration is challenging or coverage is weak. With the Conduit AP gateway, network engineers have a lower-cost solution that enables many LoRa applications that were previously financially viable.

To learn more about all three of MultiTech’s LoRaWAN gateways, click here.

Tektelic Communications

Calgary-based Tektelic is a provider of IoT, cellular, and custom product design services. With respect to LPWANs, the company focuses specifically on LoRa. Tektelic’s solutions cover most ISM frequency bands and its products are built for a broad spectrum of applications in commercial and industrial environments.

Tektelic’s LoRaWAN gateways are most effective for large-scale IoT deployments. Currently, there are seven different gateways available:

  • KONA Mega IoT Gateway
  • KONA Macros IoT Gateway
  • KONA Strand & Strand II Mount IoT Gateways
  • KONA Mobile IoT Gateway
  • KONA Micro IoT Gateway
  • KONA Pico IoT Gateway

The KONA Mega IoT Gateway is an extremely resilient and scalable device that can transmit up to 12 million messages per day on most global ISM bands. The gateway comes with multiple Rx/Tx antennas for improved multipath fading performance and supports full duplex operation. The Mega gateway also includes bandpass filters to reduce interference from adjacent frequency bands if located near other cellular networks.

The KONA Macro IoT Gateway, like the Mega Gateway, is durable and appropriate for outdoor use. However, the device is more compact, lightweight, and is meant more for plug-and-play applications that don’t require significant scalability. For this reason, Macro gateway installations and deployments are less complex overall. The Macro has cellular modem and GPS antennas embedded internally, making the gateway ideal for network sites with small form factors.

The KONA Strand Mount and Strand II IoT Gateways are both designed for rapid cable mount deployments that require a full duplex operation, as well as multiple Rx and Tx channels. Both devices come with geolocation support and rated IP67 enclosures that can withstand extreme temperatures and conditions.

In addition to the gateways described above, Tektelic also offers the Mobile, Micro, and Pico gateways. The KONA Mobile gateway is built for mobile deployments and is capable of Time Division Duplexing. The KONA Micro gateway comes with “Always On” connectivity and an internal 3G/4G modem, which makes it especially valuable for deployments in areas where LoRaWAN coverage is limited for private networks. Finally, the Pico gateway is ideal for homes or small offices that need to integrate LoRa devices directly with existing broadband service.

To learn more about each of these gateways, click here.

Laird Connectivity

Laird is an advanced electronics expert that develops wireless communication and smart system solutions through various business units. From integrated sensor platforms to thermal systems and performance materials, Laird covers a wide range of technology needs for innovative organizations.

Laird Connectivity is the branch of the enterprise focused on wireless technology solutions. The subsidiary sells wireless modules, RF antennas, and IoT platforms. When it comes to LoRaWAN, Laird has a diverse portfolio of offerings consisting of gateways, sensors, modules, and antennas that enable network developers to build end-to-end IoT solutions.

For those deploying IoT applications on LoRaWAN, the company’s RG1xx Series features the versatile Sentrius Gateway, which is used for numerous applications, from cold chain monitoring to smart agriculture. The gateway has a 10-mile range and can be quickly integrated with Laird’s LoRaWAN+BLE modules. Additionally, the Sentrius Gateway also has an embedded linux operating system that can be configured through a web-based application. The device can be equipped with an IP67 enclosure and mounting hardware for optimal outdoor deployments. With the RG1xx gateway, solutions providers get a flexible device capable of supporting multi-protocol connectivity in IoT sensors.

To learn more about the Sentrius RG1xx Gateway, click here.

Dragino

Founded in 2010, Dragino is a China-based designer, developer, and manufacturer of IoT products that distributes to clients all over the world. The company’s portfolio consists of LoRa, Linux, and narrowband IoT products. For those deploying IoT applications on LoRaWAN, Dragino supplies gateways, controllers, nodes, and modules.

Dragino offers a number of open source LoRaWAN gateways for various deployment needs:

  • OLG01 Gateway
  • OLG01-N Single Channel Gateway
  • OLG02 Outdoor Dual Channels Gateway
  • LG01-N Single Channel Gateway
  • LG01-S Gateway
  • LG01-P Gateway
  • LG02 Dual Channels Gateway
  • LG308 Indoor Gateway

The OLG01 Gateway supports long-range spread spectrum communication and serves as an effective bridge to LoRa networks from cellular, Ethernet, or WiFi networks. The OLG01 device has a 5-10km range and is also Arduino IDE compatible for network engineers who want to customize their applications for outdoor applications that may involve harsh environmental conditions.

The OLG01-N Gateway differs from the OLG01 Gateway in that network engineers can use Linux to configure the device, a software upgrade that greatly enhances the user experience. This gateway can support 50-300 nodes simultaneously and is commonly used in industrial settings to automate security systems, meter readings, and irrigation systems.

Like the OLG01-N Gateway, the OLG02 Gateway also comes with Linux capabilities and can support between 50-300 nodes well in outdoor settings. The gateway is unique from the other OLG devices as it supports full duplex operation, which enables the gateway to serve as a LoRaWAN repeater for certain solution providers.

The LG01-N Gateway is nearly identical to the OLG01-N Gateway with the exception of it being designed for indoor applications. The single channel LG01 device also supports up to 300 wireless sensors, has a 5-10km range, and can be configured using a Linux interface. Applications for the LG01 Gateway include supporting wireless alarm systems and GPS tracking.

Much like the OLG01 Gateway, the LG01-S Gateway is Arduino IDE compatible, which separates it from many of Dragino’s other gateways. The LG01-S has a range of up to 10km and is highly immune to interference, making it an effective gateway for internal applications with low in-building signal penetration. The device also has a screw terminal for connecting external sensors. The LG01-P Gateway is identical to the LG01-S Gateway with the exception of being able to connect to external sensors.

The LG02 Dual Channels Gateway supports full duplex operation for LoRa devices, like the OLG02 Gateway, but is designed for indoor use. The device can handle up to 300 nodes and has a 5-10km range, like Dragino’s other gateways.

Finally, the LG308 Gateway stands apart in Dragino’s catalog. The gateway comes with a built-in LoraWAN server, pre-configured LoRaWAN frequency bands, and 10 programmable demodulation paths. Network engineers can also customize the LG308 Gateway’s frequency bands for their private LoRa networks. LG308 Gateways are commonly used for smart applications in cities, homes, factories, and supply chain management.

To learn more about Dragino’s LoRaWAN gateways, click here.

Easily Deploy Wireless Sensors Using LoRaWAN Gateways With Radio Bridge

Radio Bridge designs and manufactures wireless sensors that can integrate with any LoRaWAN gateway. Regardless of which manufacturer and gateway you choose, our team can help you enable your IoT application on any LoRa network, no matter the complexity.

Using our free, web-based Device Management Console, easily provision, monitor, and configure all of your LoRaWAN wireless sensors in one place. We are also happy to work with you to custom design a seamless sensor-to-cloud solution for your specific application.

To learn more about how we help global enterprises deploy wireless sensors on LoRa networks, contact our team today.