Multi-RAT LPWAN in Smart Cities

The landscape of the contemporary IoT radio access technologies (RATs) is excessively diverse, especially when it comes to such a complex environment as Smart City. On the one hand, this diversity offers operators sufficient flexibility to select the most appropriate RAT for their target application. On the other hand, it becomes a severe limiting factor leading to high level of uncertainty for the IoT device vendors, who need to decide, which technology to support in their hardware. In this paper, we consider the provisioning of the low-power wide area network (LPWAN) devices supporting multiple RATs. First, we briefly discuss the parameters of several potential radio technologies as well as analyze the pros and cons of combining them in a single device. Next, we prototype a real-life device capable of communicating via two perspective LPWAN technologies, namely, LoRaWAN and NB-IoT, and report on the initial results of its performance evaluation. These confirm the feasibility of instrumenting dual-mode devices as well as reveal several important aspects related to the development of multi-radio IoT equipment and its performance. In our view, due to their higher flexibility, reliability, and dependability, the devices such as the one developed can be beneficial for various Smart City applications, with smart energy grids and road traffic control being only two of many examples.