How to build a private LoRaWAN network?

Allowing an extended range of communication networks while consuming low power makes LoRaWAN a suitable choice for IoT devices system architecture. However, depending on the nature of the LoRa network, there are two types of LoRaWAN named as private or public networks. This article covers an introduction to LoRaWAN private networks, how to deploy them, and the advantages such a network offers to smart city or IoT devices applications.

What is a private LoRaWAN network?

While the public LoRaWAN is shared by several users and provided by telecom operators, A private LoRaWAN network is established for a particular user and their IoT sensors within a personal network infrastructure. With the help of the LoRaWAN private network, companies can connect their facility devices internally within buildings without any need for internet connectivity. In such LoRa network, the user deploys his own LoRaWAN network gateways, network topology, and a set of nodes within the private network.

How does the private LoRaWAN network work?

Private LoRaWAN networks function independently of any telecommunication service support. As such, these private LoRaWAN networks can also interconnect devices within a private space without any need for internet. For these networks, users can leverage their own LoRaWAN gateways to directly communicate with the nodes within the network.

Connected in star topology, nodes would internally create a network that is centralized with a LoRaWAN gateway using LoRa communication. LoRaWAN gateways can be indoors or outdoors as per the premise. They should be installed sophisticatedly at a height and a place where they can cover a desired range, just like Wi-Fi routers.

These gateways are then managed by network servers that also activate or authorize devices within the network. A network server is a vital part of the system. They manage multiple gateways, manage Uplink & Downlink payloads, authorize nodes & actuators, and ensure that the data is transmitted appropriately without duplication from several in-range gateways. In a smaller private LoRaWAN network with one antenna, a gateway can perform the role of the network server itself to deliver data to an application.

The communication within gateways and nodes takes place through LoRaWAN protocol, while the communication between gateways and a network server can take place through interfaces such as MQTT, web sockets, and web services.

What are the advantages of a private network vs. a public network?

Both private and public LoRaWAn networks have several unique advantages based on where they are implemented. Here is a list of several key differentiators for both types of networks and where they are used.

  • A private LoRaWAN network would offer security and control for a particular application within a network infrastructure of a particular organization.
  • An established telecom network provider provides a public LoRaWAN network and can offer reliable network infrastructure that one can use on a subscription basis as needed instead of higher in-house hardware investments.
  • A LoRaWAN private network significantly reduces the risk of eavesdropping or potential data breach as all the data is managed within the organization.
  • A public LoRaWAN network allows community access to all the users in their wide network.
  • LoRaWAN private networks would enable users with complete control of the network for any required amendments and customization.

How to create a private LoRaWAN network?

The process of creating a private LoRaWAN network includes a few more steps compared to creating a public LoRaWAN network. An essential part of the system is the deployment of LoRaWAN gateways in the facility to cover the desired range of the network. Multiple indoor and outdoor gateways might be used based on the desired outcome of the private network. For short-range applications, a single gateway might suffice.

If there is a need to have more than one gateway, the next step here is to establish a network server where all gateways and sensors are authorized in the private network. Lastly, this data from gateways will be processed on the IoT application platform through which users will have accessibility to monitor as well as control the system & actuators remotely within the LoRaWAN private network.

How to change from public to private LoRaWAN network?

Public LoRaWAN networks are easier to establish where a user would have to purchase a subscription from the service provider to register their sensors and devices on the operator’s platform. Generally, operators also offer end-user applications to manage their LoRaWAN nodes.

However, users may want to change from a public LoRaWAN network to a private one for better indoor coverage, low power sensors, and best security practices. In such a case, the user would have to use their own LoRaWAN gateways, network servers, and IoT platform application. Users would also have to authorize the nodes and gateways through the network server. On top of that, users would also need their own end application to facilitate the system.

Solutions like Thingpark Enterprise all-in-one can make such establishment easy for the user throughout the node connections to an IoT dashboard as a one-stop solution. Especially, these deployments are quite straightforward for single gateway solutions with an embedded network server and a limited range of communication.

What is the cost of building a LoRaWAN private network?

Building a private network requires investment for nodes, actuators, gateways, network servers, and even the development cost for a web application. Generally, such charges vary heavily as per the number of nodes required and particular gateway needs. A complete solution like Thingpark enterprise all-in-one would be a great package deal at just €550 instead of massive development & subscription costs for different items.

On the other hand, there are a variety of gateways that have varied price ranges based on their specifications and indoor or outdoor application. Leveraging such off-the-shelf gateways would require a network server and an IoT device platform. Cost for all these items; gateways, network server, and IoT device platform will be in addition to a number of LoRaWAN devices.

Want to know more?

Regardless of choice, LoRaWAN-based systems are simple to implement. Whether you wish to implement a public network or you are wondering to choose a private LoRaWAN network, we can help you make the right decision. For any such questions or ideas related to LoRaWAN networks, please reach out to us at: