LoRaWAN Bristol

University of West of England


For the Internet of Things to be successful, beyond the "smart home", it needs a widely accessible public network infrastructure, that enables low-power devices to communicate with each other and over the internet. Breaking down local and global barriers and bringing the possibility of new application domains.

...to address this for the City of Bristol, we are building the infrastructure for a LoRaWAN™ network, accessible by everyone.

LoRaWAN & The Things Network

LoRaWAN™ is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated Things in regional, national or global network. LoRaWAN target key requirements of internet of things such as secure bi-directional communication, mobility and localization services.

The Things Network is a is a global, open, crowd-sourced Internet of Things data network. It is built around the technology of LoRaWAN, providing open source software for hardware gateways and backend services. For a general view on their goals see their Manifesto.

The Things Network distinguish the following components, when viewed from from a high level:

  • Nodes: Simple devices that are deployed "in the wild". They do measurements, collect data or perform actions. Nodes can or receive small messages (usually about 1/10 the size an SMS) either periodically (some devices broadcast every of minutes, other devices only once in a number of hours).
  • Gateways: Antennas that receive broadcasts from Nodes and data back to Nodes. Gateways are connected to the Internet communicate with The Things Network's servers. Gateways havelong range, so they can provide connectivity to nodes that are kilometers away.
  • The Things Network Backend route messages from Nodes to the Application, and back.
  • Your Application connects to The Things Network's servers to messages from and send messages to your Nodes. What you #with it is entirely up to you!

Bristol LoRaWAN Network

As part of LoRaWAN Bristol we are proposing to install a selection of LoRaWAN Gateways that can communicate with node made by anyone and connect to the the Things Network Backend, providing a gateway to the internet.

Due to UWE's campuses being distributed across the City of Bristol, it is possible to foresee a home for LoRaWAN gateways that could cover a large area of Bristol. To start we plan to deploy 4 of these gateways in 2016, and hope to see more come online in 2017. We expect the first gateway to go online early Q4 2016, installed on UWE's Frenchay campus.

Once the network is online it will be accessible to anyone interested in developing applications for the IoT. In due course we will post details of how to build and develop and node for the Bristol LoRaWAN and we lookup forward to seeing what others come up with.