Real World LoRaWAN Range Test
As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes increasingly popular, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) have emerged as a promising solution for connecting devices over long distances while consuming minimal power. Among the various LPWAN technologies available, LoRaWAN is gaining traction due to its long-range, low-power capabilities.
The general theoretical rule-of-thumb is that an outdoor LoRaWAN gateway could achieve 1-2 kilometers/0.6-1.2 miles range in an urban environment, and 5-7 kilometers/3-4.5 miles range in rural areas. Typically, a LoRaWAN networks' range is dependant on many factors including the frequency used, antenna used, height of the antenna, gateway type and environmental obstructions.
In this blog post, I will share with you my experience with real world range testing of LoRaWAN using the Seeed Studio Sensecap S2100 data logger and the Rakwireless RAK7268V2 indoor LoRaWAN gateway.
The Sensecap S2100 data logger is a compact, battery-powered device that can be used for environmental monitoring in various settings. It features a LoRaWAN radio module, enabling it to transmit data to a LoRaWAN gateway over long distances. The RAK7268V2 indoor gateway is a plug-and-play device that can connect up to 2000 LoRaWAN devices and forward their data to the cloud.
For this range testing experiment, I simply placed the IOT indoor gateway on my dining room table and went for a walk with my dog - who was very pleased with the situation I might add.
As we walked along I pressed the button on the SenseCap S2100 data logger and waited to see if the IOT device connected to the LoRaWAN gateway - easily confirmed by fast blinking green LED as shown below.
This testing was conducted in a suburban area with with numerous buildings and obstacles and fairly hilly landscape. The regional AS923mhz frequency was used.
As expected, the range of the LoRaWAN signal depended on several factors, particularly the landscape/horizon of land. In the test, I was able to achieve a range of up to 1.4 kilometers/0.9 miles in an suburban environment. I thought this was quite impressive given no effort was made to ensure good line-of-sight (LOS) or gateway antenna placement.
The Sensecap S2100 data logger and RAK7268V2 indoor gateway were excellent tools for conducting these tests, and I am pretty confident that adjusting the gateway and antenna would have achieved better results. It would also be interesting to try alternative outdoor LoRaWAN gateways with a high gain antenna to see what the maximum range in my area would be. I think also range testing in a basement would make a good IOT project in the future.
Please reach out if you done LoRaWAN range testing yourself and would like to share your findings.