ZENNER conducts LoRaWAN range test using the fly-by process

Network coverage is increasing as part of the digitalisation wave with the growing importance of LoRaWAN. Two enthusiastic LoRa pilots from the ZENNER team undertook an unusual test last weekend. They took off and conducted a LoRaWAN range test from the skies.

Axel Göritz has worked for many years as the export manager at ZENNER International. In his leisure time, the enthusiastic leisure pilot loves to fly. He is frequently accompanied by Zoltan Horvath who is a project manager IoT at ZENNER. It was his idea to link a joint circular flight over Saarland with a LoRaWAN range test.

“Normally such tests are done at a single location, e.g. on foot or using a car,” reports Zoltan Horvath and adds: “In this case we were interested in the size of the reception range of our LoRaWAN gateway installed at the head office in Saarbrücken in ideal conditions.

The two ZENNER colleagues took to the skies in a sports plane. The route went north from Saarlouis on the Saar and along the Mosel to Trier, from there to northern Saarland up to the head office in Saarbrucken and back to Saarlouis.

During the flight a so-called network test device transmitted LoRaWAN signals at regular intervals from an average height of 1,100 metres in order to test the reception range of the LoRaWAN target gateway at the ZENNER head office.

“The result was a very positive surprise,” reported Axel Göritz. The LoRaWAN target gateway was permanently reachable over much of the flight route around Saarbrücken - apart from a few exceptions. In particular on the flight back to Saarlouis we were able to reach the gateway for the last time from a distance of 25.6 kilometres. This is approximately double the distance stated by the LoRa Alliance for use in the open air on the ground in ideal conditions of approx. 10 to 15 kilometres.”

The unusual experiment shows - albeit under the best possible conditions - how powerful the LoRaWAN is for wireless data transmission. LoRaWAN is increasingly establishing itself as standard technology for internet of things applications. These include for example remote meter reading, industrial machine-to-machine communication and numerous smart city applications.