In this article we discuss LoRaWAN Network Servers. When it comes to deploying wireless IoT networks, LoRa is one of today’s leading standards. LoRa enables long-distance, low-power data transmission across vast geographies by using a chirp spread spectrum modulation scheme. On top of LoRa sits the LoRaWAN protocol, a specification designed to support wireless devices across local and global networks.
Many companies that build and scale IoT networks consisting of hundreds or thousands of smart sensors use LoRaWAN. Getting the most out of LoRaWAN networks requires network servers that are capable of providing the functionality and security necessary for next-gen “things” deployments.
LoRaWAN network servers are critical for several reasons, as they sit between gateways and application servers. Servers are essential for managing all components and endpoints that are dispersed throughout networks. Users can authorize, authenticate, and register sensors through their network servers, on top of routing data appropriately to end applications.
Additionally, LoRaWAN servers are vital for security. Network servers encrypt and decrypt data packets, as well as facilitate multi tenant access control so that different people can configure settings. The quality of a LoRaWAN network server is also important for optimizing bandwidth, processing power, and battery usage. Network servers maximize capacity via data rate adaptations and deduplication.
These are just a few examples to highlight the importance of the role that network servers play in IoT deployments. Without them, operators would have a hard time scaling cost-effective and secure digital projects.
Multiple organizations provide LoRaWAN network server support. Below, we dive into five of the leading players:
- The Things Network
ChirpStack, previously known as LoRa Server, is an open-source component provider for LoRaWAN networks. The organization’s LoRaWAN Network Server stack enables developers to launch and expand IoT networks rapidly. ChirpStack is particularly effective for those who must use private LoRaWAN networks, as its server stack is easy to install and maintain.
ChirpStack’s sophisticated LoRaWAN Network Server solution provides live frame-logging, supports Class A, B, and C end devices, and is compatible with LoRaWAN 1.0 and 1.1. It also integrates seamlessly with external platforms, including cloud services, databases, and visualization programs.
Loriot, founded in 2015, is a Switzerland-based IoT company that is now one of the leading LoRaWAN network providers in Europe. The organization is expanding quickly into the U.S. and other international markets. Loriot currently has coverage in more than 140 countries.
The Loriot Network Server comes with a suite of software features that help developers maintain their IoT projects. Those who work with Loriot to deploy LoRaWAN networks have access to several integrations, such as AWS IoT, Azure IoT, and IBM Bluemix. Loriot offers both managed and unmanaged support, as well as cloud-based or on-premises network server deployments depending on the client and need.
Comcast-owned MachineQ offers a deep portfolio of IoT services and products, which includes LoRaWAN gateways and access to a software portal, MQcentral. Using MQcentral, network developers can easily provision end devices in bulk, study data streams, establish multitenant hierarchies, and more.
MachineQ’s LoRaWAN network server stack is built for rapid and convenient deployments. The network server comes with join algorithm functionality and integrates with many external platforms through dynamic APIs. Additionally, MachineQ supports Class A & C devices.
Senet is one of the largest LoRaWAN network server providers in North America and across the world. The company supports hundreds of active deployments in over 80 countries. Being one of the first movers in the space, Senet offers some of the most robust software and professional services for the IoT.
Both the Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) and turn-key Managed Network Services offerings are viable for those who need LoRaWAN network server capabilities. Through the Senet Developer Portal, users can validate the functionality of every individual sensor, as well as test any devices or gateways. Those who need additional help can purchase consulting and supplemental network planning services.
The Things Network
The Things Industries released The Things Network (TTN), which is another end-to-end LoRaWAN network server solution. TTN offers a flexible stack of components and supports Class A, B, and C devices. Those who go through TTN can launch self-hosted LoRaWAN networks or go with the company’s managed services.
The Things Network is compatible with LoRaWAN 1.0 and 1.1 and enables firm updates over the air, fragmented data block transport, and application layer clock synchronization. Companies go with TTN often to build proof-of-concept and test applications before pursuing full-fledged production.
Choosing the Right LoRaWAN Network Server
Because LoRaWAN network servers play such a significant role in IoT deployments, organizations must choose the right provider for their specific needs. ChirpStack, Loriot, MachineQ, Senet, and The Things Network are all highly capable and experienced partners.
Beyond these, other IoT companies can help network developers bring their projects to life. Organizations should take the time to thoroughly assess the capabilities and features offered by any network server provider to determine the best option for long-term LoRaWAN success.
This is a sponsored post by Christopher Fruci