New LoRaWAN specs enable global IoT roaming, device deployment

October 18, 2017 // By Rich Pell
The LoRa Alliance (San Ramon, CA) - the association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) - has released its latest technical specifications.

Announced at the organization's ninth All Members Meeting in Suzhou, China, the latest specification releases include roaming and separation of backend nodes, which will enable IoT devices to connect to and move between LPWANs around the world. According to the organization, this supports large-scale deployments and enables new global services such as cargo tracking - seen by the Alliance as critical to driving widespread adoption of the LoRaWAN protocol as the de facto standard for IoT connectivity.

"The importance of China in the global electronics supply chain is a key reason we are bringing the Alliance members together in Suzhou,” says Geoff Mulligan, chairman of the LoRa Alliance. "With today's specifications extending the reach of the LoRaWAN protocol, now is an ideal time to engage with our colleagues in China to address their market-specific requirements. Only through the collaboration of all of our global ecosystem in a single standard can we advance members' interests and drive the ongoing adoption of LoRaWAN technology."

The following specifications were officially announced at the event:

  • LoRaWAN 1.1 with support for handover roaming, and Class B, and security enhancements
  • LoRaWAN Backend Interfaces 1.0 with support for decomposing the network into interoperable nodes, as required for inter-vendor roaming
  • LoRaWAN 1.1 Regional Parameters rev. A, which describes region-specific radio parameters for LoRaWAN 1.1 end devices

The support for roaming, says the Alliance, will allow for large-scale deployments since vendors will know that their LoRaWAN protocol-based products could potentially operate worldwide. The new backend specification provides the protocols that interconnect servers with distinct roles behind the scenes in the core network, allowing an open choice of vendors for each element of the value chain.

"For the IoT to reach its forecast potential, an ability to deploy devices on a massive scale is a key enabler," says Mulligan. "The enhancements introduced today advance the LoRaWAN protocol, further opening up the ecosystem, enhancing interoperability and expanding the reach of existing