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

A macrocell gateway provides communication coverage within a radius of 15 to 50 miles, depending on topography, which can interfere with a line of sight between a sensor and the tower where the gateway is mounted. Each macrocell gateway can handle transmissions from tens of thousands of LoRa radios embedded in the sensors. The microcells are generally installed on buildings, in urban areas, or on water tanks or other fixed objects within rural areas. A microcell provides coverage within a radius of 1 to 5 miles, and can handle the transmissions of thousands of LoRa radios. Both macrocell and microcell gateways can use either a cellular link or an Ethernet backhaul to send the sensor data to cloud-based servers.

As it is already doing for its microcells, Senet plans to begin sourcing its macrocell gateways from third parties. This strategy, Yapp notes, will enable Senet to lower its operational costs—a savings that will ultimately be passed on to end users.

Senet's Will Yapp
Last week, Senet announced a partnership with Objenious, a subsidiary of French telecommunications firm Bouygues Telecom, to enable IoT solution providers to use LoRa-based sensors in both North America and France, leveraging their respective networks. Objenious reports that it will provide LoRa coverage across France by the end of the year.

Software provider Actility and chip-maker Semtech are two other companies that are working together to build out LoRa-based LPWAN infrastructure in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, and that seek to make LoRa a go-to standard for IoT applications in which small packets of data are sent over long distances. The LoRa Alliance works to bring stakeholders together and advance the technology.

But French company Sigfox, which recently announced plans to work with Atari to integrate its radios into upcoming consumer products, has been busy building out a competing network using its own proprietary LPWAN standard. In the United States, Sigfox has established networks of gateways in California's Bay Area (San Francisco and Silicon Valley) and Los Angeles, as well as in Las Vegas, Atlanta and New York City. In Europe, the firm has deployed an infrastructure that covers France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and, most recently, Ireland.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story claimed Senet's microcell gateways have a range of 1 to 10 miles. It is 1 to 5 miles. It also said Senet plans to sell its software to third parties, to run it on off-the-self gateways. In fact, Senet plans to begin selling macrocell gateways that are manufactured by third parties, as it already does with microcells. We regret the errors.

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