3 different types of LoRaWAN range tests

July 27, 2018

No matter if you are just curious or critical or just want to experiment, at some point almost everyone comes to the point where you want to explore the Borders and possibilities of LoRaWAN – very practical; far away from specifications and data sheets.

No one will want to do without a range test. But range test is not the same as range test. To ensure clarity in project communication, we used a model that differentiates between 3 different test types:

  1. user-based range tests
  2. Coverage Test
  3. Device based connection test

Shows the taxonomy of terms from the range of range tests

1st user-based range test

The user-based range test describes the most basic test scenario for describing a radio signal at a selected point at a selected time. If there are enough measuring points, it provides the rough coverage of a radio network.

Procedure for setting up a user-based range test:

Gateways

  • Option A: One or more gateways were installed in the test area.
  • Option B: An existing network is used for the test (e.g. a community network like that of TTN)

Devices

    • Option A: You already have a device for field tests (such as Adeunis Field Tester or Semtech Mote II) and have registered it in the network.
    • Option B: You have built a test device yourself, which can give you information about the reception quality (for an example, see LoRaWANTester.com)

Recommendation: Activate the option confirmed data up (CDU) for the sensor. The network server thus confirms incoming messages. In this way you can fundamentally test the bidirectional communication of a LoRaWAN.

test procedure

  • One or more users move with the test devices in the planned network area.
  • Each LoRa device is configured to regularly send data packets at short intervals.
  • users use devices with GPS, but also devices without GPS.

Analysis & Results

    The main objective is to get an idea of the radio quality in the field itself. The results are, if at all, only roughly recorded or used for a certain test.

  • For a first overview

2. coverage test

The coverage test is intended to generate data with which you can create a total coverage heatmap of the area of your wireless network. The data is mainly collected outdoors with a GPS-based LoRaWAN device.

Gateways

  • Option A: One or more gateways were installed in the test area.
  • Option B: An existing network is used for the test (e.g. a community network like that of TTN)

Devices

    • Option A: You already have a device for field tests (such as Adeunis Field Tester or Semtech Mote II) and have registered it in the network.
    • Option B: You have built a test device yourself, which can give you information about the reception quality (for an example, see LoRaWANTester.com)

Recommendation: Activate the confirmed data up (CDU) option for the LNS. The network server thus confirms incoming messages. In this way you can fundamentally test the bidirectional communication of a LoRaWAN.

test procedure

    • Each LoRa device is configured to regularly send data packets at short intervals.

Option A: Users use devices with GPS, but also devices without GPS.

Option B: One or more devices are installed on a vehicle (bicycle, car, tram) moving on a predefined route.

Analysis & Results

    • The test results must be persist/stored.

    • So they can be further processed in a mapping application (e.g. Google Maps, Google Earth, Carto, Worldmap-Panel etc.).

Seamlessly

The coverage test could also be considered as an extension of the user-based range test (see above). The main difference is the amount and detail of the evaluation.
3. device based connection test

3. device based connection test

If you plan to install a device in a specific location, you are particularly interested in the coverage or radio quality of this area under all circumstances and with all kinds of influences (e.g. weather, moving objects such as cars, other RF influences, seasonal influences such as vegetation, etc.).

Gateways

  • Option A: One or more gateways were installed in the test area.
  • Option B: An existing network is used for the test (e.g. a community network like that of TTN)

Devices

    • Option A: ready-to-use test device (such as Adeunis Field Tester or Semtech Mote II) is registered in the network.
    • Option B: You have built a test device yourself, which can give you information about the reception quality (for an example, see LoRaWANTester.com)

Recommendation: We recommend a device with a powerful battery (e.g. see DIY-Featherer at LoRaWANFeldtester.com) for several days with short transmission interval.

.

test procedure

    • Each LoRa device is configured to send data regularly at the shortest possible intervals.
    • The device is placed on (or near) a specific installation location and can transmit over a longer period of time.

The device can transmit over a longer period of time.

Analysis & Results

    The test results must be saved and exported for analysis (e.g. packet loss, min-max-avg RSSI, RF quality influences etc.).

Further information

For those who want to get even deeper into the matter of range and penetration of wireless networks, the following two articles are recommended:

In it, the physical properties of wireless networks and concrete examples are dealt with in more detail.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us .

If you would like to train your team in this field, take a look at our workshop and training offer.

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