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LoRa’s Bid to Rule the Internet of Things

The wireless standard is already behind more than 100 low-power, wide-area networks around the world

3 min read
Photo: Moovement

Cow Patrol: A company called Moovement, a client of the Netherlands-based Sodaq, has sold more than 5,000 LoRa-based ear tags to ranchers in Australia

Photo: Moovement

Cattle may be at home on the range, but modern ranchers need to be able to find their wayward cattle, and inefficiencies in tracking cost the cattle industry around US $4.8 billion a year. At a recent conference about connected devices in Amsterdam, Jan Willem Smeenk of the Dutch company Sodaq and Thomas Telkamp of the startup Lacuna Space talked about connecting cattle into a future Internet of bovines.

Smeenk's company builds solar-powered ear tags that alert ranchers to the whereabouts and well-being of their cattle. The tags work up to distances of about 5 kilometers via LoRa, one of the leading low-power, long-range standards for the Internet of Things (IoT). Telkamp's company is launching LoRa gateways on satellites, which could one day help ranchers track down cattle that stray beyond their owners' local coverage areas.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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