What is LPWAN and why is it so important for smart cities?

You may have heard of 4G, but have you ever heard of LPWAN? If not, listen up as we explain what LPWAN is and why it’s so important for smart cities. 

What is LPWAN?

Firstly, you may be wondering what LPWAN is. LPWAN stands for low power wide area network. Originally created for machine-to-machine and internet of things, LPWANs are an alternative to traditional mobile networks. Although they operate in a similar way to traditional 4G, they are cheaper to operate and have a greater power efficiency. 

In fact, LPWAN technologies are so energy efficient that they allow IOT devices to operate for up to 10 years on a single battery charge. This therefore makes them ideal for solutions that don’t have a reliable power source for recharging, such as smart cities… 

What are smart cities? 

Smart cities can be built using LPWAN network modules. But what are they? Let us explain. 

In essence, a smart city is a city which has had its traditional networks and services upgraded. Going beyond the use of digital technologies, smart cities use technology to use their resources better and create less emissions. This therefore means that smart cities will normally have updated transport networks, upgraded water supplies and even better waste disposal facilities. 

Smart cities will also have faster ways to heat buildings, which is especially important given the world is on the brink of an energy crisis

It’s thought that smart cities have three different core elements: the quality of life, economic competitiveness and sustainability. 

What are the benefits of smart cities?

Smart cities are thought to come with a plethora of benefits. Not only do they ensure cities are doing all they can to be sustainable, but they can also help in other areas such as policy regulation and knowledge sharing. Smart cities are also thought to drive up standards and economic competitiveness, benefitting everyone living in them. 

Why is LPWAN important for smart cities?

So, we’ve established that smart cities are a good thing, but why is LPWAN so intrinsic to their success? 

Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, LPWAN technology operates at long ranges – far longer than traditional cellular links. LPWAN technology also costs less to run and uses less power than cellular links. 

Both factors mean that LPWAN is crucial when supporting the different applications in a smart city. For example, things such as traffic management, air quality monitoring or even smart parking benefit from the longer range of the LPWAN systems. Furthermore, smart cities also benefit from LPWAN technology as applications can integrate with the system to receive, manage and analyze data in real-time, helping individuals and communities improve the quality of their life.  

In conclusion…

It’s expected that LPWAN is soon to overtake 4G to become the alternative to traditional mobile networks. As such, they’re rumored to be the key to unlocking smart cities all over the world. Therefore, next time you’re checking out the best place to park or hopping on public transport, why not take the time to think about what made that possible? 

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