A. Yousuf, E. Rochester, B. Ousat and M. Ghaderi
Proc. IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Quality of Service (IWQoS), Banff, Canada, June 2018.
Publication year: 2018

LoRa is a leading Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technology for Internet of Things (IoT). While LoRa networks are rapidly being deployed around the world, it is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of this technology in terms of its throughput, coverage and scalability. Using a combination of real-world measurements and high fidelity simulations, this paper aims at characterizing the performance of LoRa. Specifically, we present and analyze measurement data collected from a city-wide LoRa deployment in order to characterize the throughput and coverage of LoRa. Moreover, using a custom-built simulator tuned based on our measurement data, we present extensive simulation results in order to characterize the scalability of LoRa under a variety of traffic and network settings. Our measurement results show that as few as three gateways are sufficient to cover a dense urban area within an approximately 15 Km radius. Also, a single gateway can support as many as 10^5 end devices, each sending 50 bytes of data every hour with negligible packet drops. On the negative side, while a throughput of up to 5.5 Kbps can be achieved over a single 125 KHz channel at the physical layer, the throughput achieved at the application layer is substantially lower, less than 1 Kbps, due to the network protocols overhead.