LoRa wireless module for IoT designs, from Microchip

March 06, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Microchip Technology’s first module for ultra long-range and low-power network standard is a stack-on-board package; the RN2483 module is intended to simplify access to the 10-mile range and 10-year battery life of LoRa technology wireless networks.

The module is the first in a planned series for the LoRa technology low-data-rate wireless networking standard, which enables Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) wireless communication with a range of more than 10 miles (suburban), a battery life of greater than 10 years, and the ability to connect millions of wireless sensor nodes to LoRa technology gateways. The 433/868 MHz RN2483 is a European R&TTE Directive Assessed Radio Module, accelerating development time while reducing development costs. It combines a small module form factor of 17.8 x 26.3 x 3 mm with 14 GPIOs, providing the flexibility to connect and control a large number of sensors and actuators while taking up very little space.

“The RN2483 module is a revolutionary end-node IoT solution for the new LoRa technology network, enabling extremely long-range, bidirectional communication with significant battery life.... compatible with all partner gateways and back-end network service providers,” Microchip commetns

The RN2483 comes with the LoRaWAN protocol stack, so it can connect with the established and rapidly expanding LoRa Alliance infrastructure—including both privately managed local area networks (LANs) and telecom-operated public networks—to create Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) with nationwide coverage. This stack integration also enables the module to be used with any microcontroller that has a UART interface. RN2483 uses Microchip’s simple ASCII command interface for easy configuration and control.

LoRa technology has several advantages over other wireless systems. It uses a spread-spectrum base modulation that is capable of demodulation with a 20 dB below noise level. This enables high sensitivity with robust network links, improves network efficiency and eliminates interference. The LoRaWAN protocol’s star topology eliminates synchronisation overhead and hops, compared to mesh networks, which reduces power consumption and enables multiple concurrent applications to run on the network. LoRa technology also has a much longer range than other wireless protocols, which enables the RN2483 to operate without repeaters, reducing the total cost of ownership. In comparison