BLE and LoRa Wireless Capabilities Expand Possibilities for EIoT Networks

January 18, 2017, 5:42 pm

An article written by Laird’s Jonathan Kaye and Zach Hogya was recently featured in the December issue of Control Engineering magazine. Titled, “How to Implement Wireless Sensor Networks for Difficult Industrial Settings”, the article discusses how pairing low-power wide area network (LPWAN) and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) networks allows the enterprise Internet of Things (EIoT) to connect wirelessly in remote locations.

The growth of the IoT is bringing connectivity to countless devices and applications. However, connecting wirelessly in remote locations can be a challenge. The ability to communicate over a long distance is an obstacle in many industrial and remote settings. Telecommunications connectivity via wire lines or cell tower signals is not always available or can oftentimes be too expensive. Fortunately, the ultra-long range and low-energy capabilities of LoRa, which was announced just last year, make connectivity much more cost effective. The LoRa wide area network protocol or LPWAN provides secure, bi-directional data transfer and communications with IoT networks over long distances. When paired with Bluetooth’s power efficiency and RF signal strength, these connections can last for years without a battery change.

“Together, they provide a set of short-range and long-range ultra-low-power wireless capabilities that expand the possibilities for EIoT networks…LoRa builds on BLE's mobile capabilities by serving as a relay that can send and receive data over very long ranges that can be extended with simple gateways to pass the signals along. BLE makes EIoT possible in even the smallest corner of a facility, and LoRa makes EIoT possible on any spot on the map. This will significantly speed up the IoT revolution.”

For a real world BLE + LoRa application, check out Laird’s application note: Using BLE and LoRa with the RM1xx. The document shows the possibilities of what can happen when LoRa and BLE are paired together. Laird BL600 BLE sensors collect temperature data and the RM1xx, Laird’s LoRa and BLE module then forwards the information over a long-distance LoRaWAN network to be processed.