A survey on the viability of confirmed traffic in a LoRaWAN

03 Jun 2020

Internet of Things (IoT) deployments are on the rise globally with Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) providing the wireless networks needed for this expansion. One of these technologies namely Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) has proven to be a very popular choice. The LoRaWAN protocol allows for confirmed traffic from the end device to the gateway (uplink) and the reverse (downlink), increasing the number of IoT use cases that it can support. However, this comes at a cost as downlink traffic severely impacts scalability due to in part a gateway's duty cycle restrictions. This paper highlights some of the use cases that require confirmed traffic, examines the recent works focused on LoRaWAN confirmed traffic and discusses the mechanism with which is implemented. It was found that confirmed traffic is viable in small networks, especially when data transfer is infrequent. Additionally, the following aspects negatively impact the viability of confirmed traffic in large networks: the duty cycle restrictions placed on gateways, the use of spreading factor 12 for receive window 2 transmissions, a high maximum number of transmissions (NbTrans) and the ACK_TIMEOUT transmission backoff interval. The paper also raises and suggests solutions to open research challenges that must be overcome to increase the viability of confirmed traffic.