GPS-free tracking is added to LoRaWANs

GPS-free geolocation capability has been added, by Semtech, to its LoRa wireless RF for IoT. The added feature is compatible with all existing LoRaWAN end nodes and the version two LoRaWAN gateway infrastructure reference design that the company announced earlier this year.

15 billion connected devices are projected by 2020, over half of which will include geodata. The LoRa geolocation offers power efficient, GPS-free location capability for automotive, logistics, consumer, insurance, agriculture, construction and others.

Adding geolocation to end nodes without increasing the bill of material or draining the batteries should open up a new arena of use cases and is expected to drive substantial revenue streams for LoRaWAN network operators, says the company.

The company’s LoRa geolocation is enabled by version two LoRaWAN gateways that share an accurate, common time base and add a high resolution timestamp to each received LoRa data packet. Each basestation will report the time of arrival and supporting metadata enabling location solvers based on differential time of arrival (DTOA) algorithms to determine the end node position to the nearest block.

Location is one of the most needed features in any LPWAN network, however until now this required satellite-based solutions which are cost-prohibitive and drain the batteries faster.

Network-derived geolocation does not require any additional processing on the end node maintaining the standard, low power consumption of LoRa.

Over-the-air messages do not contain any positioning information. On top of the standard 128bit AES encryption. This prohibits access to, or vulnerability of, asset or personal geolocation information.


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