On-Demand LoRa: Asynchronous TDMA for Energy Efficient and Low Latency Communication in IoT

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Nov 1;18(11):3718. doi: 10.3390/s18113718.


Energy efficiency is crucial in the design of battery-powered end devices, such as smart sensors for the Internet of Things applications. Wireless communication between these distributed smart devices consumes significant energy, and even more when data need to reach several kilometers in distance. Low-power and long-range communication technologies such as LoRaWAN are becoming popular in IoT applications. However, LoRaWAN has drawbacks in terms of (i) data latency; (ii) limited control over the end devices by the gateway; and (iii) high rate of packet collisions in a dense network. To overcome these drawbacks, we present an energy-efficient network architecture and a high-efficiency on-demand time-division multiple access (TDMA) communication protocol for IoT improving both the energy efficiency and the latency of standard LoRa networks. We combine the capabilities of short-range wake-up radios to achieve ultra-low power states and asynchronous communication together with the long-range connectivity of LoRa. The proposed approach still works with the standard LoRa protocol, but improves performance with an on-demand TDMA. Thanks to the proposed network and protocol, we achieve a packet delivery ratio of 100% by eliminating the possibility of packet collisions. The network also achieves a round-trip latency on the order of milliseconds with sensing devices dissipating less than 46 mJ when active and 1.83 μ W during periods of inactivity and can last up to three years on a 1200-mAh lithium polymer battery.

Keywords: Internet of Things; LoRa; cyber-physical systems; test-bed and trials; wake-up radio; wake-up receiver; wireless sensor networks.