Using the LoRa technology to improve the range of remote wireless sensors.
Background and Content of the Project
At the current state of technology, wireless sensors can be divided into two categories: local and long-range (LPWAN) sensors. Smart home sensors such as motion detectors are examples of local sensors, while LPWAN sensors are used, for example, to monitor air quality. There is currently no practicable technology for use cases in which data have to be transmitted wirelessly from several locally installed sensors over longer distances. The project at hand strives for a solution entailing two gateway units that form a data bridge together which can be used to send data from local sensors to a server over greater distances.
The target group consists of private persons who would like to install sensors or smart home components in their cellars, attics or outdoor areas (e.g. gardens) but are unable to do so because the range of the radio connection is too limited and fails to retrieve data across such distances. Austrian companies and organisations are a second target group. For example, wireless sensors are used to measure the filling level of containers in waste management and to monitor temperatures in the wine industry. For such applications, LoRaWAN is the most commonly used radio technology at the moment but there are cases in which this is not feasible, which is why we need alternative solutions.
Methodology / Scope of Functions
A data bridge that is based on the LoRa radio technology and can be installed easily could increase the range of local radio sensors considerably. The system is designed to work as transparently as possible and requires only a minimum of user interaction. The use of data compression and encryption enable the secure transmission of data with only small delays.
The open source long-range data bridge is characterised by …
- Locality: can be operated locally without a LoRaWAN subscription and cloud access
- Security: constantly authenticated and well-secured long-range radio connection with gateway OS / software with gateway OS / state-of-the-art software
- Flexibility: support for several local protocols, both wireless and wire-based
- Modularity: support for further protocols or devices via downlink parameter updates
The main result of the project is a data bridge between remote and local gateway devices. Wireless sensors can be linked to the remote gateway and the sensor data can be transmitted to the local gateway using a LoRa connection. The entire system runs on common open source libraries and can be adapted to different needs.
Follow-up projects could work on tailor-made LoRa data bridge solutions for Austrian companies that might strengthen their business sensor use cases. This would increase the LoRa Bridge system and the willingness to use it. Furthermore, it would be possible to obtain feedback from business customers. The possibility to extend the system to additional devices and other radio protocols could be tested in follow-up projects as well. Moreover, activities such as publications, presentations, etc. are designed to create more awareness for LoRa Bridge.