A low power wide area network or LPWAN is a wireless network that connects devices over longer distances and at slower speeds, compared to traditional cellular networks. The four most common LPWAN technologies are LoRa, Sigfox, Ingenu, and Weightless. Unlike cellular networks and Wi-Fi, LPWANs use a license-exempt spectrum which means that it is less expensive to deploy. The tradeoff of using a license-exempt spectrum is lower data rates and a longer range.
LPWANs are ideally suited for connecting smart meters, environmental sensors, or other devices which cover a large area and gather data passively over months or years. The LPWAN technology LoRa uses time-division duplexing (TDD) while the others use frequency-division multiple access (FDMA). Length of messages is generally limited to 128 bytes due to overhead on the various protocols. However, at this size it can send small amounts of data including location information, presence detection, temperature sensor readings etc.
These networks are also low cost, utilize passive sensors for energy efficiency, and are internet ready. The primary drawback is these are typically long-range technologies that do not provide high-speed throughput.
5 Key Factors Driving Global Low Power Wide Area Network Market
Asia Pacific to Lead the Global Low Power Wide Area Network Market
Demand for low power wide area network is increasing worldwide with the increase in number of internet users, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and connected devices. Currently, over 6.3 billion smartphone users are active around the world while global IoT device users are projected to grow from 8.1 billion in 2016 to 41 billion by 2025. Apart from this, more than 27 billion IoT devices are being used as of 2020 which include smart TVs, meters, cars, sensors, among others. This indicates that demand for low power wide area network (LPWAN) is on rise across the globe due to its high level of security and reliability features at a lower cost compared to other LPWAN standards.
Two of the most popular and widely accepted LPWAN technologies are LoRa and Sigfox. Asia has emerged as a prominent market for low power wide area network since the adoption of IoT is being witnessed from both the consumer as well as the industrial side. In addition to this, a growing number of telecommunication companies along with a higher subscriber base in the Asia Pacific is further propelling demand for low power wide area network around the world. However, lack of awareness about low power wide area network among users so far have been hampering the growth rate of this technology but with the latest development where IoT devices have increased at a faster pace, the integration of LPWAN is expected to surge in near future.
To meet the growing need, various companies have come up with low power wide area networks for global users which include Nokia and Alvarion Ltd among others. These companies are working on their proprietary technology by providing solutions across sectors such as healthcare, smart metering, transportation and logistics, energy management among others.
Asset Tracking to Continue Holding the Prominent Share of the LPWAN Market
LPWAN can handle various types of application scenarios including outdoor logistics, home monitoring (e.g. light control in gardens), remote heating controls in buildings, etc., but are particularly suitable for asset tracking applications. They can also be used for smart metering, environmental monitoring, and supply of grid edge equipment.
However, the two most promising LPWAN use cases for asset tracking are smart agriculture and the utilization of devices in industrial plant environments where many assets need to be equipped with sensors. It has been found that most of the end-users are making use of LPWA networks for tracing goods along their supply chain. The most known application scenarios already exist for GSM-based M2M communication, e.g., by using GPS functionality integrated into smartphones or tablets. These devices are attached to the objects that need tracking (e.g., trailers, containers, or port equipment), periodically sending information about its location over cellular communication networks. In addition, the cost of these solutions for real-time tracking is high due to relatively low throughput and short battery life.
Apart from this, LPWAN is heavily used in farms or industrial plants across the globe as traditional M2M communication technologies do not offer a satisfactory solution. Wherein, a farmer might want to know when a cow starts eating his crops, or how much does a goat eat each hour; while in oil rigs or ships people should monitor equipment humidity, malfunctions in pumps and other processes directly inside harsh environment. With LPWA networks using long-range communication protocols such as LoRaWAN it is possible to track all significant assets in a given area with a required accurateness.
In general, the usage of LPWAN devices in asset tracking brings a great benefit to any business that wants to manage large amount of assets over wide areas without expensive infrastructures and complicated setup. As per our findings, a greater number of businesses deploying the LPWAN solution to save tens of thousands of dollars on their employee's benefits by using remote asset tracking devices powered by LPWA networks.
Prominent Vendors in LPWAN Market
The market for LPWAN technologies is gaining steam, but it may remain an unprofitable venture. The number of companies producing these networks is growing by the day. There are more than 30 different companies that sell/promote their own version of LPWAN technology.
Senet, Inc., Weightless SIG, NWave Technologies, Semtech Corporation, SIGFOX, LORIOT, WAVIoT, Ingenu, Actility, and Link Labs are some of the key players active in the market.
Key Elements Included In The Study: Global Low Power Wide Area Network Market
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