Wireless tech aims to connect the planet — and save it

Posted Thursday, Sep 22, 2022 by Jeff Safire

Semtech

By Ina Fried, Axios Login
Sept 22, 2022

The CEO of Semtech doesn’t mind that you have never heard of his chip company, but hopes the low-power wireless technology it is pushing will soon be on everyone’s radar.

Why it matters: The technology, known as LoRa, has the potential to connect billions of devices without simultaneously inflicting further harm on the planet, Semtech CEO Mohan Maheswaran told Axios.

  • Technologies such as 5G and Bluetooth can also connect a wide range of wireless devices but consume considerably more power. That costs more and is also rougher on the environment.

Catch-up quick: LoRa, named for long range radio, is a wireless technology developed by another company that Semtech later purchased.

  • Its initial application is to connect sensors and small devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) market for home automation, industrial systems and similar uses.

Semtech makes the chips that enable devices to use LoRa technology, while the standard itself is managed by an independent organization.

  • LoRa is designed for carrying small amounts of data over a long distance and without using much power.
  • It runs in unlicensed spectrum and sends signals that can travel as far as several miles before connecting to another type of network. In a house, that could be a wi-fi network, while in rural areas it could be 5G or satellite.

State of play: Though still in the early stages of adoption, early applications of LoRa today include in devices that monitor water use and track items that companies own. Amazon has also combined LoRa and Bluetooth as part of its Sidewalk network for IoT uses.

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This article first appeared at Axios Login on Sep 22, 2022.


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