Semtech Corporation has announced that it is to launch LoRa low-power long-range radio products running on the 2.4GHz band — trading range for the ability to operate globally and with increased bandwidth.
LoRa, and the LoRaWAN protocol, are increasingly popular for sensor networks and other low-bandwidth yet long-range wireless requirements. Organizations like The Things Network, running the The Things Conference this week, have overseen LoRaWAN deployments in almost every country on the planet — but there's one big drawback to the technology: a lack of harmonized spectrum.
LoRa typically operates over the sub-gigahertz bands reserved for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) use — which, depending on the country you're in, may be 169MHz, 433MHz, 470MHz, 490MHz, 780MHz, 868MHz, 915MHz, 923MHz, or any combination thereof. A device designed for 433MHz may be illegal to use in countries which opted for 915MHz, and vice-versa — complicating network development and deployment.
In an announcement at The Things Conference — yet to make it to the company's website — LoRa giant Semtech has confirmed plans to launch LoRa products which use the 2.4GHz band, and in doing so produce LoRa products which can operate globally without modification.
There are a couple of costs to this. The 2.4GHz is frequently used by high-bandwidth wireless systems, including several Wi-Fi variants, and in urban areas is likely to be congested; it also offers a reduced range over sub-gigahertz frequencies, and may require more transmission power as a result.
Details of Semtech's 2.4GHz LoRa products have yet to be released, but are likely — initially, at least — to be based around the company's SX1280 low-power 2.4GHz transceiver chip, details of which are available on the company's website. It is also likely to be tied into the company's work with Wilhelmsen and TTI, announced last December, on the deployment of a 2.4GHz LoRaWAN-based IoT network for maritime use.