An Enthusiast's Guide To The Application Of LoRa In Smart Homes

LoRa Technology, a rapidly expanding solution, is a long range, low power wireless platform that has become the nucleus of the internet of things (IoT) for equipping smart solutions. This article will discuss LoRa and its application in smart homes. Let's dive in!

What is LoRa?

LoRa is one of the effective low-power and long-range wireless communication systems Semtech developed. LoRa devices offer attractive features for IoT gateways and industrial IoT applications including low power consumption, long range communication, and safe transmission of data.  The LoRa technology can be used by private, public, or hybrid networks and provides a wider range than cellular networks.

The two main features of LoRa that make it ideal for industrial IoT applications are its low power and long-range communications. In addition, it addresses several new problems in urban and rural areas globally, including pollution, natural disasters and climate change.

Because of its simple nature, and compelling investments, it is greatly adopted in the transport, manufacturing and agricultural industries. Not only that, it can still be adopted in domestic household appliances and sometimes, even wearable devices.

How does LoRa work?

Dusun Indoor LoRaWAN Gateway

LoRa is a wireless modulation approach built on the Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS) technology. It encodes radio wave information via chirp pulses. The modulation is particularly very robust against interference and can be received from far distances depending on the capability of the hardware.

LoRa features the LoRaWAN Gateway which is a layer of software that explains how devices can effectively use the LoRa hardware. A typical example is when the devices transmit and create the format of the messages. 

LoRa is perfect for apps that transmit minute data with low bit rates. Data Transmission is possible over a wider range compared to other wireless technologies like ZigBee, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. This feature makes LoRa perfect for sending sensor data in low power modes.

However, LoRa can operate on license-free sub-gigahertz(GHz) bandwidths like 915MHz, 868Mhz, and 433MHz. In addition, LoRa can also be used on 2.4 Gigahertz for an increased data rate at the cost of the range. These frequencies lie within ISM bands that are internationally reserved for scientific, medical, and industrial purposes.

LoRa and Smart Home Security

Statistics from law enforcement agencies show that most burglaries that happen in homes are crimes of convenience with the burglars searching for easy targets and breaking in by midday when no one is around. Next-generation LoRa supported security systems provide roundabout protection for homes by integrating traditional door and window alarm sensors with security cameras, automatic door locks and intercoms, all activated and operated by smartphones and keychain sensors.

By utilizing a smart home security solution featuring gateways and sensors embedded with LoRa technology and a smart low power wide area network (WAN) based on the LoRaWAN protocol, security equipment companies and carriers providing security services have a network foundation that gives sensors a lasting battery life, a network that can't be trifled with and the ability to synchronize with Wi-Fi networks to jumpstart streaming video feeds.

How A LoRaWAN-based Home Security  System Works

Semtech LoRa technology allows for connectivity, concurrent analysis, reporting and extra functions like geolocation.

  • LoRa-enabled window, door or motion sensors set off an alarm whenever they see a window or a door being opened or any movement in a secured room.

  • Security cameras with a wireless connection can be activated by sensors or a smartphone.

  • A user wearing a LoRa-enabled keychain sensor can switch on or off the system via a button.

  • Outdoor sirens that are wirelessly connected are triggered by sensors.

  • WiFi based gateway and Hybrid LoRa manages sensor data and interact with other security devices.

  • Gateway sends info to the network server or cloud where data is processed and security devices (alarms) are engaged.

  • Cloud servers send notifications to smartphones or computers.

Benefits of LoRa in Smart Home Security

  • A smart security system integrated with sensors featuring LoRa technology ensures the safety of homes.

  • Cost-effective technology aids in making the system affordable for a wider market.

  • LoRaWAN Network is independent of the internet connection available in the home. This shows added reliability in the event the data line or power goes off.

  • The low power network technology shows that a sensor's battery life can go up to 20 years.

  • The new line of business for service providers with LoRaWAN networks.

  • Security platforms can be used for other home automation services.

LoRa in detecting water damage/leaks

LoRa technology can be used in smart homes as a means to monitor water damage, which usually serves as a major danger to properties, and general water usage. Sensors send measurements to an application in the cloud that can show several things like a broken pipe or a leak. The app doesn't just shut off the water supply in dangerous situations, but landlords and homeowners can manage utility bills, and detect unnecessary use of water as well.

LoRa Technology in Smart Home Geofencing 

LoRa technology can be applied in people geofencing at home by using sensors and receivers to detect the location of a person's smartphone or wearable device. This technology allows for the creation of a virtual boundary, known as a geofence, around a specific area, such as a person's home or yard. When the person's device enters or exits the geofenced area, the sensors and receivers can detect this and trigger certain actions or notifications.

For example, a LoRa-enabled smart home system can be set up to automatically turn on the lights or adjust the thermostat when the person enters the geofenced area, providing a more personalized and convenient experience. Conversely, when the person leaves the geofenced area, the system can be set to automatically lock the doors or arm the security system.

The main advantage of using LoRa technology for people geofencing at home is its long-range and low-power capabilities. This means that the sensors and receivers can communicate over a long distance without draining the battery life of the person's device. Additionally, LoRa technology offers secure communication, ensuring that the person's location data remains private and secure.

Final thoughts

Lora technology has emerged as a promising solution for the communication needs of smart homes.  It has the potential to connect a wide range of smart devices and sensors within the home, enabling seamless automation and monitoring of various household systems.  From temperature and lighting control to security and energy management, Lora-enabled smart home applications offer a range of benefits, including increased convenience, energy efficiency, and cost savings.

Bruce Qin

Bruce Qin is currently the IoT gateway product manager from Dusun IoT. He specializes in hardware and software knowledge sharing for IoT devices, especially gateways, including modules, protocols, embedded development, and applications.

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