LoRa Alliance adds relay test and approves lab in Brazil

  • June 4, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

The LoRa Alliance has expanded its certification programme with the addition of relay testing and authorised a test laboratory in Brazil.

Updates include capabilities that streamline the process to make certification faster and easier. The expanded and enhanced LoRaWan certification programme will be available this month.

The LoRaWan relay feature testing becomes part of end-device certification.

Dekra’s Atibaia, Brazil, facility has been accredited as a LoRa Alliance authorised test lab (ATL), the first ATL in Latin and South America.

The alliance has also launched the LoRaWan Web Certification System (LWCS), which automates the certification process, and introduced LoRa Alliance member self-testing of end devices.

The updates are said to demonstrate the maturity of the LoRaWan certification programme and provide OEMs with multiple approaches to certify their devices, meeting market requirements for tested devices. Achieving certification also allows products to be featured in the LoRaWan marketplace, an online resource where end users can research and find where to purchase certified products and services.

“The simple fact is that IoT needs certified devices to ramp to billions of sensor deployments,” said Donna Moore, CEO of the LoRa Alliance. “The tremendous benefit of certification – knowing that devices are correctly configured and will perform as intended – truly underlies the market’s trust in a technology’s ability to scale. LoRaWan already has the most certified devices and the largest variety of certified devices in the LPWAN space, and the programmes announced today follow through on our commitment to continuously accelerate and simplify the certification process for end-device manufacturers. Additionally, we’re excited to have a new ATL in Brazil to expedite the certification process in that region.”

The relay feature strengthens LoRaWan certification by ensuring end devices are compliant with the feature as defined in the LoRaWan standard. Relay is a critical feature for utilities and satellites in particular to amplify and extend the reach of LoRaWan signals, enabling communication over greater distances and through obstacles such as buildings and terrain that can impede direct communication between end devices and the gateways or base stations. Introducing LoRaWan relays into a network architecture allows for easy expansion and scalability without the need for additional gateways.

Relay certification testing adds to the programme’s rapidly growing number of optional feature tests, such as firmware updates over the air (FUOTA) and static context header compression (SCHC), all of which are designed to ensure certified devices are compliant with all aspects of the LoRaWan standard.

The authorisation of Dekra’s Atibaia, Brazil, facility near São Paulo as an ATL for LoRaWan end devices reflects the strong growth of LoRaWan in Latin and South America. Having a local ATL means members no longer have to ship products outside the continent, creating time and cost savings when seeking LoRaWan certification. The move should support the area’s rapidly growing membership and is intended to promote increased device manufacturing in the region.

“Dekra’s designation as the first LoRa Alliance authorised test lab in South and Latin America marks a significant step forward in enabling global market access for LoRaWan devices,” said Juan Carlos Soler, vice president at Dekra. “Our commitment to fostering a safe and secure worldwide adoption of LoRaWan technology, while supporting local and international customers, is now strengthened by our lab in Brazil, which will continue growing with testing and certification services in the region. Backed by our extensive testing and certification expertise, we stand ready to assist customers in obtaining LoRaWan certification and related EMC, RF and product safety testing to ensure optimal device performance across diverse network environments.”

Gustavo Zarife, country manager for Brazil at Everynet, added: “Everynet has been working towards the creation of a strong and dynamic local LoRaWan ecosystem since 2017. Today, Brazil’s ecosystem is a reality, and this initiative from the LoRa Alliance, enabling the first ATL for South America, is aligned with the vibrant scenario we observe for LoRaWan and IoT in general in the region. As a LoRaWan pioneer, Everynet worked together with the LoRa Alliance to expand the certification programme to Brazil and Latin America. As a next step, Everynet will work closely with the local ecosystem to accelerate the adoption of LoRaWan certification, and therefore increase the quality of available devices. LoRaWan is here to stay, and the future is bright.”

The LWCS is a step forward in terms of reducing paperwork and simplifying the certification process. Creation and use of an LWCS account provides seamless digital communications between the member certifying, the ATLs and the LoRa Alliance, reducing human error and unnecessary administrative time by automating the certification process. LWCS supports traditional certification via an ATL, similarity and self-testing.

The member self-testing programme gives LoRa Alliance (lora-alliance.org) members the option to become authorised to self-test their own devices and submit the test results directly to the LoRa Alliance to request device certification. Allowing members to conduct the testing themselves streamlines the device certification process and decreases time to market for new certified devices while maintaining standards of quality and performance. To ensure the quality of the programme, the LoRa Alliance says it will continuously audit capability for authorised members.

Certification testing of the relay feature will be demonstrated alongside several certification-related sessions during the LoRa Alliance’s upcoming LoRaWan Live Munich (events.lora-alliance.org/lorawan-live-munich-2024) event, taking place June 19 and 20.