Tech Journal

Introducing the LoRa Cloud™ Services

Posted by Katy Koenen on Oct 19, 2020 12:00:00 AM

The LoRa Cloud™ collection of services are designed to ease the development of common tasks related to LoRaWAN® networks and LoRa®-based devices. Currently, this suite of services includes the following:

  • LoRa Cloud Geolocation
  • LoRa Cloud Device & Application Services
  • LoRa Cloud Device Join

Let’s take a look at each of these in a little more detail.

LoRa Cloud Geolocation

Being able to locate end devices is a valuable feature when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). The LoRa Cloud Geolocation service makes this easy. It is a set of simple Cloud APIs that easily integrate with a LoRaWAN network or application server. These APIs allow you to estimate the location of any LoRa-based device within approximately 50 meters — without any additional power draw. Even greater accuracy may be achieved when using the service combined with the Wi-Fi or GNSS scanners built into Semtech’s LoRa Edge LR1110 device. In fact, when using native LoRa Cloud Geolocation, all that is required for a location estimate is the reception of a single data packet from an end device.

Regular GPS (GNSS) devices can offer precise location data, however, implementing a GNSS-based asset-tracking solution is also more expensive. In contrast to LoRaWAN, GNSS-based geolocation requires GNSS hardware on the device which can be very power-hungry. To get a fix on the location of a device GNSS receivers must run for many seconds during which time it will burn considerable battery power. This means that identifying the position of a device using GNSS actually drains the battery significantly. With LoRaWAN, all that is needed is to transmit a data packet – which you would be doing anyway – and sending such a packet can be as quick as 100 milliseconds, saving considerable energy by reducing power consumption to a negligible level.

In estimating device locations, LoRaWAN relies on information that is provided by the gateways receiving an uplink transmission. This information can include standard metadata, such as the received signal strength indicator (RSSI), the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the signal’s time of arrival (TOA). The device may also be capable of capturing Wi-Fi or GNSS scans by one of Semtech’s LR1110 transceivers, or a combination of both.

With the launch of the LR1110 with on-chip Wi-Fi and GNSS scanners, the service has been upgraded to offer multiple options, with accuracy, coverage and power consumption all being levers that you can pull to create the solution that fits your needs. From the lowest power, lowest accuracy LoRaWAN- based, through Wi-Fi lookup-based location, which offers a perfect combination of accuracy and power consumption in all but the most remote of places. Finally, with the on-chip GNSS scanners of the LR1110, an accurate outdoor fix can be obtained almost anywhere in the world with this new device, all while consuming a small fraction of the power required for a stand-alone GNSS.

LoRa Cloud Device & Application Services

LoRa Cloud Device & Application Services dramatically simplify how managed LoRaWAN-based endpoint solutions are developed. These services consist of a number of lifecycle management features for LoRaWAN-based devices. You can use these features to:

  • Periodically communicate informational messages from end devices such as energy usage, message counters, errors, and many other status parameters
  • Trigger remote commands such as rejoin, reset or mute (enter low power mode)
  • Run advanced, application-layer protocols to address common LoRaWAN use cases
  • Configure devices and applications
  • Securely stream data to and from the device protecting from packet loss

In addition, the LoRa Cloud Device & Application Services include advanced data transport services which enable the fragmenting/defragmenting of large messages and adding robust protection to prevent signal interference as well as packet loss.

A key benefit of these services is that the APIs operate on decrypted LoRaWAN payloads, meaning you can use these APIs in conjunction with any LoRaWAN application server.

LoRa Cloud Device Join

With LoRa Cloud Device Join, application owners can claim pre-provisioned LoRaWAN modem-based devices. Indeed, this service is designed to connect directly with a LoRaWAN network server and provide the on-boarding of end-devices, joining them to the selected LoRaWAN network(s). Furthermore, the device security keys are embedded in the devices themselves when they are manufactured, storing them in an on-chip secure element for safekeeping. .

Additionally, the join server itself is connected to multiple redundant hardware security modules (HSMs). With this in place, join requests are processed without ever exposing the secret device keys. Should they wish to move their devices to another join server, users can even extract the keys from the Semtech join server ready for import to another join server of choice.

Moreover, Semtech supports the use of the join server to manage batch keys to automatically generate device-specific key material via software in the HSM to support the onboarding of devices with other secure elements on-chip. To keep this batch-key processing highly secure, deriving device session keys is carried out inside HSM so that secret keys never leave the security domain of an HSM.

Conclusion

Semtech’s LoRa Cloud suite of services enables developers to bring to market fully–secured and managed devices that can be easily located faster than ever before. With this level of sophistication available for with devices at extremely low price points, thousands of new opportunities and use cases are now within reach. By taking advantage of these services, developers will no longer have to create their own mechanisms or services for common tasks which will save them time and money, and allow them to get their solutions to market faster.

 

 

Topics: LoRa, LoRa Developers, LoRaWAN Deployment