LoRaWAN refers to the MAC layer networking protocol, while LoRa is a physical layer protocol. Although existing LoRaWAN networks basically use LoRa as the physical layer, the LoRaWAN protocol also lists that GFSK can also be used as the physical layer in certain frequency bands. From the perspective of network layering, LoRaWAN can use any physical layer protocol, and LoRa can also be used as the physical layer of other networking technologies.
LoRaWAN is a star or star-to-star topology that is generally considered better than mesh networks because of its advantages in preserving battery power and increasing communication range. Specifically, a star topology relays messages through gateways to a central server, with each end node transmitting data to multiple gateways. The gateway then forwards the data to the network server, where redundancy detection, security checks and message scheduling are performed.
Overall, LoRa only contains the link layer protocol and is very suitable for P2P communication between nodes; LoRaWAN also contains the network layer, so information can be sent to any base station connected to the cloud platform. LoRaWAN modules can operate at different frequencies simply by connecting the correct antenna to its socket.
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