Using Bluetooth with LoRa™ and LoRaWAN®

LoRa™ is low power wireless protocol that uses license-free spectrum to achieve a maximum range of typically between 1.5Km and 15Km. There are different radio frequencies and hence hardware for Europe (EU863-870), Australia (AU915-928), North America (US902-928) and India (IN865-867).

LoRaWAN® is a higher level protocol that runs on top of LoRa that provides for easier management and communication between end nodes and gateways.

LoRa and hence LoRaWAN are low bandwidth in that they aren't suitable for transmitting large or frequently changing data. They are more suitable for sensing rather than real time asset tracking. They can be used for locating if the update period is infrequent.

LoRa sensors tend to be more limited, proprietary, bulky, difficult to set up and more expensive than Bluetooth sensors. Devices such as single board computers or LoRa probes can be used to combine the flexibility of Bluetooth with LoRa's longer range. Such devices scan for Bluetooth devices and send the data via LoRa or LoRaWAN to a receiving LoRa/LoRaWAN gateway. The Bluetooth scanning usually has to perform filtering to limit detection to the Bluetooth devices of interest.

Bluetooth LoRaWAN Probe
LW003-B Bluetooth LoRaWAN Probe

The receiving LoRaLAN gateway usually sends the data on to be processed or forwarded, for example by The Things Network.