Evaluation of LoRa LPWAN technology for indoor remote health and wellbeing monitoring
Petäjäjärvi, Juha; Mikhaylov, Konstantin; Yasmin, Rumana; Hämäläinen, Matti; Iinatti, Jari (2017-02-07)
Petäjäjärvi, J., Mikhaylov, K., Yasmin, R. et al. Int J Wireless Inf Networks (2017) 24: 153. doi:10.1007/s10776-017-0341-8
© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in International Journal of Wireless Information Networks. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10776-017-0341-8.
Long lifetime of a wireless sensor/actuator node, low transceiver chip cost and large coverage area are the main characteristics of the low power wide area network (LPWAN) technologies. These targets correlate well with the requirements imposed by the health and wellbeing applications of the digital age. Therefore, LPWANs can found their niche among traditional short range technologies for wireless body area networks, such as ZigBee, Bluetooth and ultra wideband. To check this hypothesis, in this work we investigate the indoor performance with one of the LPWAN technologies, named LoRa, by the means of empirical measurements. The measurements were conducted using the commercially available devices in the main campus of the University of Oulu, Finland. In order to obtain the comprehensive picture, the experiments were executed for the sensor nodes operating with various physical layer settings, i.e., using the different spreading factors, bandwidths and transmit powers. The obtained results indicate that with the largest spreading factor of 12 and 14 dBm transmit power, the whole campus area (570 m North to South and over 320 m East to West) can be covered by a single base station. The average measured packet success delivery ratio for this case was 96.7%, even with no acknowledgements and retransmissions used. The campus was covered also with lower spreading factors with 2 dBm transmit power, but considerably more packets were lost. For example with spreading factor 8, 13.1% of the transmitted packets were lost. Aside of this, we have investigated the power consumption of the LoRa compliant transceiver with different physical layer settings. The experiments conducted using the specially designed module show that based on the settings used, the amount of energy for sending the same amount of data may differ up to 200-fold. This calls for efficient selection of the communication mode to be used by the energy restricted devices and emphasizes the importance of enabling adaptive data rate control.
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