A central technological aspect of digital change is the Internet of Things (IoT), on which a number of new digital business models are based. According to today’s understanding, these “smart things” work battery-powered on the one hand and communicate wirelessly on the other. At the heart of this lead project is a completely new approach to significantly improving wireless communication from IoT nodes, especially for consumer applications.
Currently, various communication protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee or WLAN are already being used to set up small personal communication networks (Personal Area Networks, PAN). From the end user’s point of view, the existing technologies have different weak points, such as:
- Low range: ~10 meters Bluetooth and Zigbee, 100 meters WiFi
- Coexistence problems: Interferences occurring with parallel use of WiFi, Zigbee and Bluetooth
- Insufficient scalability: manage a small number of endpoints (~10 to 1000)
- Low energy efficiency: frequent battery changes or recharges necessary
In order to overcome the above-mentioned weaknesses and to leverage market potential in the consumer market, the new communication technology “LoPAN” is designed and developed primarily for the consumer segment in the course of LZE Phase II. “LoPAN” is based on the telegram splitting technology developed at Fraunhofer IIS. This is also the implemented in the MIOTY system, which is already standardized under ETSI TS103357. The Fraunhofer IIS invention “Generation of channel access patterns for uncoordinated networks” now allows to transfer the advantages of telegram splitting technology to the area of PAN.
With LoPAN, end users will be able to transmit information outdoors over a distance of several kilometers or in the building through walls and out of the basement (very long range). For example, temperature sensors could be linked to the air conditioning system to save energy costs, lawn mower robots could be controlled remotely in the garden or information on electricity and water meters could be transmitted wirelessly. This ensures reliable and robust transmission, even if different wireless protocols are used in parallel (very good coexistence capability). LoPAN will also be able to connect thousands of devices to a single base station (high scalability).