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Known and unknown facts of LoRa: experiences from a large-scale measurement study
Liando J., Gamage A., Tengourtius A., Li M.  ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks 15 (2): 1-35, 2019. Type: Article
Date Reviewed: Feb 18 2020

Proposal and critique are two steps in the evolution of scientific theories and ideas: an idea is founded in a proposal and advanced via critiques. In the Internet of Things (IOT), equilibrium among power consumption, coverage, and coexistence is key to performance, for example, satisfactory data rates.

The paradigm shift that is long range (LoRa) technology amends the IoT by providing scalability in low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs). In this paper, the authors criticize, examine, and evaluate LoRa. Factors like configuration, medium access control (MAC) behaviors, and physical layer (PHY) efficiency are discussed in the context of system performance, reliability, and robustness.

After a brief introduction to the paper’s objectives, a comprehensive discussion of the LoRa modulation scheme and key technical parameters is provided. Section 3, “Promises of LoRa,” practically evaluates the featured specifications of LoRa. Section 4, “Beyond LoRa,” proposes potential improvements and optimizations to the current LoRa system.

The paper introduces chirp spread spectrum (CSS) for LoRa modulation, and spreading factor (SF), frequency bandwidth (BW), and channel and transmission power (TX Pow) are counted as the key parameters of its configuration. Communication distance, lifetime of nodes, and multiple access are used to evaluate LoRa’s operational performance. Communication distance is highly dependent on SF, BW, TX Pow, and code rate (CR). Moreover, no line of sight due to crowded urban areas severely degrades LoRa coverage, and its transmission is considerably impacted by high-rise buildings.

With regards to energy utilization, microcontroller and transceiver operations are studied to estimate the lifetime of LoRa nodes. Prediction mechanisms are identified for node lifetime and energy consumption. Emphasizing the superiority of concurrent communication in a single LoRa channel, the paper details LoRa’s multiple access policy according to its standard gateway, IMST IC880A, and explores the role of spreading factors.

The last section includes experiments for evaluating the operational features of LoRa and proposes an optimized parameter setting algorithm. The authors discuss the LoRaWAN medium access control (MAC) mechanism and concurrent reception capacity, test different carrier sense multiple access (CSMA) policies, and review LoRa PHY.

A valuable exploratory theme can be recognized in the paper, and the authors precisely dissect the LoRa technology. However, it is more of a technical report than a scientific paper. Divided into many papers, with tangible proposals and contributions, the work would be more accessible.

Reviewer:  Mohammad Sadegh Kayhani Pirdehi Review #: CR146893 (2007-0166)
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General (C.2.0 )
Network Monitoring (C.2.3 ... )
Sensor Networks (C.2.1 ... )
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