I found the question “Is Sigfox / LoRa the new WiMAX?” on the Nokia networks blog: https://blog.networks.nokia.com/mobile-networks/2015/10/21/is-sigfoxlora-the-new-wimax/
From hype to niche technology
The subtitle of Nokia’s blog post was ”From hype to niche technology”. What is your opinion? Will we see wireless hype again?
Sigfox and LoRa are LPWAN (Low Power WAN) technologies. Sigfox and LoRa are in fact not the only LPWAN technologies. For some reason the Nokia article Nokia did not mention Weightless.
The Tower of Babel has a new name – LPWAN (Low Power WAN)
In this earlier article I discussed how LoRa <> (is not equal to) LoRa. LoRa describes the physical layer only. On top of the LoRa layer you will find several protocols from different manufacturers. LoRa modules produced by different manufactures therefore cannot talk to each other. You can compare it with 802.15.4 on 2400 MHz. On top of 802.15.4 you will get ZigBee, 6LowPAN and Wireless Hart. The same 802.15.4 module can run one of these three protocols. Moreover ZigBee <> ZigBee and 6LowPAN <> 6LowPAN. For ZigBee we have ZigBee SE, ZigBee HA, ZigBee LL, ZigBee xyz …
And for 6LowPAN we have different 6LoWPAN protocol stacks, in Germany I am aware of at least three. And these three stacks cannot communicate with each other.
Is LoRa born to be niche?
However, perhaps LoRa is ready to be a niche solution. If we would like for example to cover the manufacturing plants of Volkswagen in all continents, then I have a solution ready to ship. have been able to get my hands on LoRa base stations and LoRa modules from one supplier. The base station and the modules can run in the 868 or 915 MHz band.We will not have any trouble with thse frequency bands.
Are LTE-M and NB-LTE the solutions?
In the Nokia network blog they mention LTE-M and NB-LTE. LTE-M and NB-LTE are great technologies and will compete with LoPWAN. LTE-M, NB-LTE and LPWAN address the same market segment in IoT. Both LTE technologies will offer worldwide roaming. For Sigfox and LoRa, roaming is not supported. Nevertheless LTE-M and NB-LTE may be the wrong technologies to cover the manufacturing plants of Volkswagen all over the world. Be aware LTE <> LTE. We already have 43 LTE bands on our nice green planet. With my LoRa proposal above you will use the 868 or 915 MHz band only and you can place your order now. For LTE-M and NB-LTE you have to wait. Even if I ship you samples of LTE-M or NB-LTE modules tomorrow then you will not be able to use them, because the LTE-M or NB-LTE networks are not yet built out.
Business or no business?
What will businessmen do? Will they wait for LTE-M and NB-LTE or will they take an off-the shelf and ready-to-use LoRa base station plus LoRa modules and ship in time to satisfy the manufacturing plant project?
What is your opinion? Will we get wireless hype again? Will you use LoRa or Sigfox to win business now? Who will win this IoT race and will have the most small battery-driven wireless IoT devices in their network?
If you are interested in evaluating samples of LoRa, Sigfox, Weightless, LTE-M or NB-LTE modules, then do not hesitate to drop an email to harald.naumann (at) gsm-modem.de . I will stay tuned and I will keep you posted on these new wireless IoT technologies.