Semtech helps Amazon with crowd-sourced LoRa

  • September 22, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Semtech is collaborating on Amazon’s Sidewalk network, a crowd-sourced wireless network that can simplify device setup, extend the range for low bandwidth applications and provide limited functionality even when devices fall offline.

Operated at no charge to customers, Sidewalk uses Semtech’s long range, low power LoRa platform to extend the range of a customer’s home network to connect both outdoor and indoor, low-bandwidth smart home products, including smart lights, pet trackers, sensors for asset tracking, smart irrigation, and additional low cost devices needed for residential use.

With extended range, mobility and low power consumption, the LoRa platform can enable the rapid deployment of a vast range of secure, low touch consumer IoT applications.

“Semtech’s LoRa is a proven IoT solution that supports a long range, low-power wide area network [LPWAN] platform and meets Amazon Sidewalk’s goal of providing the network support needed to connect a broad range of low-power home devices or sensors,” said Mohan Maheswaran, Semtech’s president and CEO. “The collaboration with Amazon solidifies that LoRa is the de facto platform for IoT LPWAN applications and expands LoRa to new consumer applications.”

According to IHS Markit, the global smart home market is expected to grow by a factor of five to reach more than $192bn in 2023, a rapid increase from the $41bn in revenues in 2018. Several current networks for smart devices in the home, including Bluetooth and wifi, are limited in connectivity and range.

Cellular, such as 5G, is needed for mission critical, long distance, guaranteed delivery of data, but can be too costly and power hungry for battery operated devices. With LoRa and Sidewalk, users will have access to smart home products that work out of the box with extended connectivity and battery life.

The relationship between Amazon and Semtech, one of the top semiconductor companies globally for LPWAN connectivity, brings the strengths that have driven LoRa to become one of the leading IoT networking technologies to the Sidewalk network by enabling more devices and customer experiences.

Texas-based Silicon Labs is also working on Sidewalk. Its wireless technology is helping create IoT products with encrypted cloud communication, no matter which protocol is used. Silicon Labs’ EFR Wireless Gecko products support Sidewalk’s sub-GHz and Bluetooth Low Energy protocols.

“Silicon Labs and Amazon are teaming up to help OEMs create amazing new user experiences with secure, private, easy to set up Sidewalk IoT devices,” said Jake Alamat, vice president at Silicon Labs.

With Sidewalk, users can experience improved coverage of smart devices in and around the home and throughout the neighbourhood, enable limited offline connectivity for uses such as motion alerts from security cameras, receive customer support for troubleshooting even when wifi is down, and easily set-up new devices.

In the future, Sidewalk will power device experiences such as tools that can self-diagnose problems and order replacement parts, deliver improved range with reduced energy consumption for smart locks, and offer the ability to locate pets or valuables throughout a neighbourhood.

Equipped with multiple layers of security and privacy, Sidewalk will support Bluetooth Low Energy, frequency shift keying and chirp spread spectrum in the 900MHz band.