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ProductL31226
ProductL31226
4/29/2016 | 9:37:29 PM
Re: Petty Fighting
Petty Fighting is a very appropriate title! LoRa should wear this as a badge of honour that SigFox is prepared to start this kind of banter, and also that Vodafone et all want us all to believe that the 3GPP standards are just around a corner.

All technologies have to be invented somewhere, and LoRa did originally come from chez Semtech (aka Cycleo acquirer). But Semtech is doing all the right things to make it open. The LoRa Alliance is now driven by a long list of contributors of which Semtech is just one. 

Don't forget that the design cycle for a silicon chip is around 2 years. Although LoRaWAN has a very wide acceptance now, the Alliance was formed just over 12 months ago. Other vendors will arrive before too long.

 
FabienPG12
FabienPG12
4/29/2016 | 6:41:20 AM
Capacity comparison
https://sites.google.com/a/wesdec.be/mweyn/lpwan
Director06404
Director06404
4/29/2016 | 2:20:17 AM
From the horse's mouth...
http://www.semtech.com/images/datasheet/sx1276_77_78_79.pdf

Page 24, Section 3.1:

"The LoRa modem uses a proprietary spread spectrum modulation technique. This modulation, in contrast to legacy modulation techniques ..."

OK, then, settled.

Despite the Semtech representative's claims of licensing to two other parties, all I can find are modules (from Microchip and HopeRF) which bear the Semtech silicon.

Now, LoRa is really just a particular code of Chirp-Spread-Spectrum, and CSS has been done for decades now, but Semtech goes to great lengths to let us know that they have patented LoRa, and if you reverse engineer a CSS transceiver of their spec, they will pursue you, and there's no language informing us that they have any RAND obligations whatsoever.  So they could just C&D you or float impractical license terms.

Moreover, the language of LoRaWAN explicitly states that it is royalty-free WHEN USED WITH LORA MODEMS.  So LoRaWAN is tied to LoRa, and LoRa is proprietary with unknown licensing terms.

So, for all intents and purposes, LoRa is proprietary.  So is SigFox.  Pot, Kettle, Black.
iainmorris
iainmorris
4/28/2016 | 11:46:43 PM
Re: Petty Fighting
Very interesting points. Yes, licensing your technology to other players might introduce an element of competition where there was none previously but it does not mean your system is necessarily "open," and one wonders how lucrative these arrangements may be for Semtech. Sigfox, clearly, has highiighted the fact its own technology is licensed free of charge to chipmakers, even if other parts of its ecosystem are more closed. I think the whole debate just shows how wary we need to be about claims that certain technologies are non-proprietary -- there are evidently degrees of openness and many technology ecosystems are not as open as their proponents would like the industry to think. In the long run, I agree that it's hard to see how these various LPWA rivals will avoid being swept aside by standards such as NB-IoT.   
FabienPG12
FabienPG12
4/28/2016 | 6:08:35 PM
Petty Fighting
This primary school bickering is exactly why the MNOs are going to crush both camps with LTE-M1/2. LoRa is 100% a Semtech product. They hold all the IP, and while they have put out press releases about licensing chips, there are no 3rd party chips on the market. Open up the Microchip module, and you will find a Semtech part inside. Sure, two years from now, there may be an ST or MC product. Either way, Semtech will not license the basestation chip (SX1301), and thus can retain a firm grasp on this important part of the "ecosystem." Semtech created the LoRa Alliance specifically to remove the propriatary look of LoRa, but the truth remains. LoRa is great technology, and it's fine that its propriatary. Same for Sigfox. Only a small group of competitors really care anyways. Customers don't care how things are connects, so long as it works, and it's cost effective.

LoRaWAN has a growing list of warts that are coming to light, and I'm guessing that the Alliance will be slow to address. I've heard from an Alliance member that they will always maintain backwards compatibility, which will prevent much innovation for LoRaWAN. See this article which shows high packet loss in LoRaWAN networks that are being used at a medium rate. 


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