By James Blackman
The LoRa Alliance has added a number of new testing capabilities to its LoRaWAN Certification Test Tool (LCTT), for device makers to pre-test the performance of IoT solutions before seeking formal certification from a LoRa Alliance Authorized Test House (ATH). New capabilities in the LCTT self-test service include evaluation for long-range frequency-hopping spread spectrum (LR-FHSS), which has just been added to the LoRaWAN standard.
LR-FHSS has also been included in Semtech’s latest software upgrade for LoRa integrated circuits (IC) and gateways, which brings support for satellite uplink connectivity from IoT sensors. Other self-test capabilities include for back-off retransmission, adaptive data rate, transmit power control, confirmed frame tests, and retransmission of confirmed frames. A full test specification is included below.
The LCTT scheme offers an accelerated certification process, and a chance for manufacturers to debug and finalize end-devices prior to the formal certification process. It also brings cost savings, said the alliance, by reducing final-test failures, effectively, and precluding IoT manufacturers from building their own test tools. End-device testing is currently supported in most countries, it said. The alliance has appointed 17 ATH test houses.
The final ATH LoRaWAN certification tests for end node-functionality, to be sure the protocol stack and application are compliant with the LoRaWAN specification. The certification optionally covers radio performance, including radiated power and radio sensitivity, among other metrics, considered as key parameters for good performance when signal strength is weak.
Certified LoRaWAN products are listed in the alliance’s LoRaWAN ‘showcase’ of certified devices, which provides global product visibility for manufacturers. Alliance members receive one free LCTT licence with their membership; additional licences can be purchased. “A strong certification program is a must for any global standard to be successful,” said Donna Moore, chief executive and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance.
“The LoRa Alliance continuously enhances its certification program to ensure certification testing tools are robust while also minimizing the time and cost required to certify. RFPs and tenders for IoT deployments are increasingly requiring LoRaWAN certification. These enhancements to the LCTT make it easier for end-device manufacturers to validate reliability and interoperability, thereby accelerating deployment effectiveness and enabling massive scale.”