After almost 2 years, the world record of 702 km (436 miles) has been broken. For a long time this record which was set on the 26th of August 2017 seemed nearly impossible to break, until the Servet IV mission was launched. On 13th of July 2019, the record was broken by 64 km, setting a new world record with an astonishing distance of 766 km (476 miles).
LoRaWAN is a Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) networking technology, designed for low-powered devices to communicate with Internet-connected application over long-range wireless connections using the unlicensed ISM radio bands. The LoRaWAN protocols are defined by the LoRa Alliance and formalized in the LoRaWAN Specification which can be downloaded on the LoRa Alliance website. The Things Network runs the world's largest open LoRaWAN network, currently available in over 100 countries around the world.
On Saturday the 13th of July 2019, 7 balloons of different sizes were launched from Alfamen (Zaragoza, Spain) carrying a total of 20 experiments from different people, from young talents to veteran makers. The balloons were tracked using The Things Network, plain LoRa® and by APRS and satellite using Spot.
A probe named Diana I, made by Enrique Torres from the computer architecture research group of the University of Zaragoza, was aimed at reaching the highest possible altitude (>40 000m). For doing so, the balloon's lift and capsule weight were optimized up to the grams. The climb was going to take extremely long (over 10 hours), and the route was likely to be very long, creating a high risk of losing the probe completely. The device was realized with a TTGO node with LoRa module because of its price, availability, weight and low power consumption. The Things Network was selected as the platform due to its ease of use, broad possibilities of integrations and the countless number of connected gateways.
The probe, with a weight of 106 grams was equipped with a BME280 (low power temperature, humidity and barometric pressure) and a GPS. It transmitted approximately every 60000 ms cycling between SF7, SF9 and SF11 using a transmission power of 14dBm (25mW). SF12 was not used due to the shaky nature of the balloon and the time needed to transmit. At a temperature of -16.5 degrees celsius while the probe was flying only at 24859 meters above Ariza (Zaragoza, Spain), Diana's messages were received by 24 gateways connected to The Things Network. One of them was located at a ski resort, on a mountain 2253 meters high, and at an incredible distance of 766 km. Thanks to The Things Network community, the owners of the Kerlink gateway were contacted.
Jander Nascimento from CEA declared: "That is for sure a great achievement and something great for a success story of the LoRaWAN protocol". Levent Gurgen is in charge of the project that had the idea of putting this Kerlink gateway up there. The deployment was done in the context of the Wise-IoT European project for smart ski station experimentation. The new world record approaches the theoretical maximum a LoRaWAN packet can travel.
Semtech's LoRaWAN Academy argues that 800 km is the maximum distance in Europe, using 25mW transmission power in the 868Mhz ISM band.
See LoRaWAN Academy, video radio propagation, from minute 15:00 - https://lora-developers.semtech.com/resources/lorawan-academy/courses/radio-propagation/
Find it hard to believe the distances of 766 km? Visit the official article on The Things Network for more information and links to the raw data - https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/article/lorawan-distance-world-record/