Wireless updates: LoRa Alliance LoRaWAN standard, 6G challenges

In separate wireless developments, LoRa Alliance discussed progress of the LoRaWAN standard and many organizations are sorting out challenges of 6G wireless band selection and technologies.

By Mark T. Hoske March 11, 2023
Image courtesy: Brett Sayles

Industrial wireless insights

  • LoRa Alliance discussed advances in its LoRaWAN wireless standard along with technical specifications, recommendations and other progress.
  • IDTechEx reviews 6G technologies, bands and possible solutions to 6G wireless technology challenges.

An expansion of the LoRaWAN standard for the Internet of Things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANS) was among highlights in the LoRa Alliance 2022 annual report. In separate news, 6G technology research and development continues, as summarized by IDTechEx.

LoRa Alliance LoRaWAN standard

LoRa Alliance’s annual report, released in February, highlights LoRa Alliance achievements, LoRaWAN adoption, technology and certification progress in the past year.

The organization, describing LoRaWAN as a mature technology, attributed growth to approval by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) as an open international standard, a diverse IoT ecosystem, “The only LPWAN with network options – public, private, satellite, community and hybrid,”

LoRa Alliance members have the most deployed solutions, the largest at-scale deployments and the most deployed multi-technology options (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, 5G, DLMS, OMS, BACnet and others). LoRa Alliance also said it has the most certified LPWAN devices, most device vendors and widest diversity of devices on the market and the “the largest number of end-to-end solutions, making deployments easier for customers.”

The LoRaWAN standard has been deployed by more than 170 major mobile network operators globally, according to the LoRa Alliance. The organization added 93 members, increased certified products by 19% and added 131 LoRaWAN certification test tool licenses.

LoRaWAN wireless network technology advancements, instructions

Technology advancements include support for IPv6 over LoRaWAN accelerates onboarding internet protocol (IP)-based applications; the new relay feature to extend LoRaWAN coverage beyond current physical limits; the payload codec application programming interface (API) to ease integration of application platforms with LoRaWAN networks; significant expansion of self-testing and ease of use of the LoRaWAN Certification Test Tool accelerates certification and the LoRaWAN certification program has added support for devices for IPv6 over LoRaWAN.

LoRa Alliance LoRaWAN 2022 technical specifications, recommendations

LoRa Alliance specifications (technical specifications) released in 2022 were:

  • TS003-2.0.0 Application Layer Clock Synchronization
  • TS004-2.0.0 Fragmented Data Block Transport
  • TS005-2.0.0 Remote Multicast Setup Specification
  • TS006-1.0.0 LoRaWAN Firmware Management Protocol Specification
  • TS007-1.0.0 LoRaWAN Multi Package Access Protocol Specification
  • TS010-1.0.0 LoRaWAN IPv6 Adaptation Layer for End-Devices Specification
  • TS011-1.0.0 LoRaWAN Relay Specification
  • TS013-1.0.0 Application Payload Codec API Specification

Recommendations in 2022 (technical recommendations) are:

  • TR010 1.0.0 Roaming Hub Technical Recommendation
  • TR011 1.0.0 Architecture and Requirements of LoRaWAN Testbed with IPv6 Adaptation for DLMS UA.

Describing a “major shift,” Donna Moore, CEO and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance said, “We’ve moved from needing to educate about ‘what’ LoRaWAN is to focusing on ‘how’ to deploy LoRaWAN. As end users move from exploratory stages and proofs-of-concept into massive adoption of LoRaWAN, integrators and solutions providers across a variety of industries are intensifying their sales efforts, which is growing LoRaWAN deployments exponentially. Our members are innovative, determined and passionate about changing the world for the better, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

The LoRa Alliance LoRaWAN live event, March 15 and 16, 2023, in Orlando, discusses, trends and training on smart cities, smart utilities and smart buildings.

6G technologies, challenges

In other wireless news, discussion and development of 6G wireless technologies and standards continue with efforts from countries, organizations, and companies. Among organizations discussing 6G are Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 6G Smart Networks and Services Industry Association (6G-IA) and European Telecoms Standards Institute group (ETSI).

The IDTechEx research group discusses 6G frequencies, 6G technological development trends, and 6G applications (online click here to see three graphics) in the research report, “6G Market 2023-2043: Technology, Trends, Forecasts, Players.” A summary of 6G IDTechEx information follows.

In 5G, sub-6 GHz (3.5 – 6 GHz) and millimeter wave (mmWave, 24 to 100 GHz) bands are the two new bands in the covered spectrum. 6G frequency ranges under consideration include 7 to 20 GHz frequency band, W-band (above 75 to 110 GHz), D-band (110  to 175 GHz), bands between 275 and 300 GHz and in THz range (0.3 to 10 THz). The bands between 7 and 20 GHz are considered because of the need for coverage to enable mobile and “on the go” applications for numerous 6G use cases. The W and D bands are of interest for 6G access and fronthaul and backhaul networks.

A solution that meets the objectives of both services should be considered. As of September 2022, worldwide spectrum allocations do not go beyond 275 GHz. Even so, frequency bands in the 275 to 450 GHz range have been identified for the implementation of land mobile and fixed service applications, as well as radio astronomy and Earth exploration-satellite service and space research service in the range 275-1,000 GHz.

6G wireless technology: possible solutions

“By exploiting the large bandwidth in the THz frequency band, 6G is expected to enable 1 Tbps data rate,” IDTechEx noted. “This rate is very challenging to achieve as a large continuous bandwidth is required, but in reality, the bandwidths that are available for use are limited and split over different bands. Another aspect is that spectral efficiency makes a direct trade-off with the required signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for detection. The higher the required SNR, the shorter the respective range becomes due to transmitted power limitations at high frequencies as well as added noise.

As an example, Samsung’s D-band phase array transmitter prototype demonstrates the furthest travel distance of 120 m, but it only achieves 2.3 Gbps. Other groups show higher data rates, but the over-the-air travel distance is only at centimeter level.”

To improve range and data rate, 6G radio designs need to select appropriate semiconductors, low-loss materials with a small dielectric constant and tan loss to prevent substantial transmission loss, IDTechEx said. To reduce transmission loss, a new packaging strategy is needed to integrate RF components and antennas. As devices get more compact, power and thermal management become even more critical.

– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.