Investigation of the Performance of TDoA-Based Localization Over LoRaWAN in Theory and Practice

The paper deals with the localization in a low-power wide-area-network (LPWAN) operating long-range wide-area-network (LoRaWAN) technology. The LoRaWAN is, today, one of the most widely used connectivity-enabling technologies for the battery-powered smart devices employed in a broad range of applications. Many of these applications either require or can benefit from the availability of geolocation information. The use of global positioning system (GPS) technology is restrained by the bad propagation of the signal when the device is hidden indoors, and by energy consumption such a receiver would require. Therefore, this paper focuses on an alternative solution implying the use of the information readily available in the LoRaWAN network and application of the time difference of arrival (TDoA) method for the passive geolocation of end-devices in the network. First, the limits of geolocation services in networks that use narrow-band communication channels are discussed, as well as the relevant challenges faced by the TDoA approach. Then, we select five classic TDoA algorithms and evaluate their performance using simulation. Based on these results, we select the two providing the best accuracy (i.e., Chan’s and Foy’s). These algorithms were tested by the field measurements, using the specially designed low-cost gateways and test devices to estimate their real-life performance.