Senet Network Hits 100-City Mark

The company is deploying its low-power wide-area network through the use of what it calls macrocells and microcells, aiming to support IoT applications ranging from the agriculture industry to the oil and gas industry and smart-city projects.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jun 15, 2016

Senet, a New Hampshire company that is deploying a public low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) for Internet of Things applications, reports that it has achieved coverage in 110 U.S. cities and plans to double that number during the next year. The network supports the LoRa Alliance's communication standard, developed by IBM and chipmaker Semtech.

"Our strategy is to be the leading provider of public, multi-tenant LPWAN in North America, using the LoRa standard to deliver on that," says Will Yapp, Senet's VP of business development and marketing. "Our business model is that of a subscription, not dissimilar from the cellular [communications] model, billed per month, per device, based on data usage."

A macrocell on Laguna Peak, overlooking Ventura county
Senet has deployed gateways across New England and some parts of the Midwest, as well as in or near several major cities in California. Thus far, many of the company's customers are using the network for agricultural applications, in which sensors that track such variables as soil moisture or pH levels transmit their data to Senet gateways, or for collecting data transmitted by sensors at remote oil and gas extraction sites. That's part of the reason that Senet's network, despite covering 100 U.S. cities (a city being defined as having more than 50,000 residents), reaches only 8 to 9 percent of the United States' population. Yapp says Senet is now focused on expanding the network to the 10 largest U.S. cities as it begins to serve smart-city applications, in which Senet gateways will collect data from utility meters or building management, or from transportation-related systems.

Senet grew out of, and still owns, EnerTrac, a company founded in 2009 as a service to help fuel-service businesses to remotely monitor the level of propane or oil inside tanks at its customers' sites. Aside from EnerTrac, which has deployed sensors in 50,000 fuel tanks throughout the United States, Senet is unable to name any of its other customers, Yapp says.

The company recently began partnering with other gateway manufacturers—namely, MultiTech and Kerlink—to deploy what it calls microcell gateways. To date, more than 50 microcells complement Senet's main (macrocell) public IoT network, which comprises 130 gateways deployed on towers around the United States. Unlike the tower-mounted receivers, the microcell gateways can be deployed quickly and cheaply, and are used to support such specific applications as monitoring soil moisture levels or smart city applications.

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