LoRaWAN FOTA Breakthrough

The Things Network have recently announced a major breakthrough in solving one of the biggest challenges of LoRaWAN: “Firmware Over-the-Air” (FOTA or FUOTA) updates – a killer feature that allows IoT deployed devices in the field to be updated remotely.  One of the problems with many uplink orientated LPWAN technologies used in the IoT, including LoRaWAN, is limitations on the ability to remotely update devices – mainly as they are usually asleep or connectivity is slow or power hungry – making large firmware updates a problem.  With the most effective method for commercial product deployment a tight feedback loop of “release early, release often”, out of band update methods are usually required (e.g. Bluetooth or physically plugging into to the device).

The good news is the guys at TTN and ARM have a solution.  This involves all node devices listening at exactly the same time and on the same channel (in class C mode), with gateways multicasting data to nodes.  Security, error correction and compressed firmware methods have also been proposed.  Hear more from Johan Stokking (The Things Network) and Jan Jongboom (ARM) who are pioneering FOTA with LoRaWAN via their detailed technical article or on their Youtube vid below from the recent demo at 8th LoRa Alliance All Members Meeting, Open House & Market Place in Philadelphia on 12-14 June 2017.    An ARM mbed implementation will be appearing soon we hear !!  Whilst we are still in early days, the future for LoRaWAN FOTA is bright (quite literally if you watch their demo!) !

Milliamp Technologies are design experts in low power, low cost Internet of Things, LPWAN (including LoRaWAN and NB-IoT), Bluetooth and radio technologies.  We are able to help our customers produce cost effective, reliable and future proof hardware and software designs.  As the founding member of The Things Network Lancaster, we believe that LoRaWAN and community networks such as The Things Network provide an interesting space to develop community IoT platforms monitoring everything from parking to pollution and we continue to support it’s evolution – with a commercial service plan coming soon we believe !  If this is something you are currently working on or you are interested in joining the TTN and need help please get in touch !

ps. Whilst many of the IoT FOTA problems go away with NB-IoT (4G/5G mobile IoT devices), which some say is a magic bullet, we may be some way off this IoT utopia – an explanation of why will follow soon !!

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