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LoRaWAN® Formally Recognized as an ITU International Standard

15 December 2021 / by Olivier Beaujard

Olivier Beaujard

LoRaWAN® Formally Recognized as an ITU International Standard

The LoRaWAN® standard has been officially approved as a standard for low power wide area networking (LPWAN) by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, the ITU develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect. The Geneva-based ITU predates many other standardization bodies, and its distinguished history contains several important ‘firsts’, such as the standardization of the use of Morse code and the world’s first radiocommunication and fixed telecommunication networks. Every time you make a mobile phone call, access the internet or send an email, you are benefiting from the work of ITU.

The LoRa Alliance® and ITU Collaborate

The LoRa Alliance® is the nonprofit global association that oversees the LoRaWAN standard, a robust certification program and the promotion of LoRaWAN as a leading global standard for secure, carrier-grade Internet of Things (IoT) low power wide area network (LPWAN) connectivity. Presently, the LoRaWAN standard has been deployed by more than 163 network operators globally and is available in 177 countries.

LoRaWAN was developed as an open connectivity standard from the very beginning. According to the LoRa Alliance, it approached ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) to have LoRaWAN formally documented as an international standard by an independent authority because of its commitment to openness and standardization – critical to achieving the interoperability needed for massive scaling.

The Study Groups of ITU-T assemble experts from around the world to develop international standards known as ITU-T Recommendations, which act as defining elements in the global infrastructure of information and communication technologies. Previous organizations recognized by the ITU-T include 3GPP, Bluetooth, GSMA, IEEE, and ZigBee Alliance, to name a few.

The LoRa Alliance engaged with the IoT Group of the ITU-T throughout much of 2021 to complete its qualification process. LoRaWAN was reviewed and fully approved as an official ITU-T Recommendation called ITU-T Y.4480, to be precise. To achieve this milestone, the LoRa Alliance transposed LoRaWAN layer two specification (v1.0.4) into an ITU format for chip to Cloud communication. In fact, the LoRaWAN standard is the first LPWAN standard to be transposed into an ITU-T Recommendation.

Looking to the Future

Having the LoRaWAN standard publicly recognized by this prestigious Standards Developing Organization (SDO) validates the market’s decision to adopt LoRaWAN and will set the stage for even more growth across the globe.

ITU’s global membership includes 193 Member States as well as 900 companies, universities and international and regional organizations who may not presently be aware of the LoRaWAN standard and its ability to accelerate the digital transformation of smart cities and communities by enabling long range connectivity for countless uses cases.

The LoRa Alliance intellectual property rights (IPR) policies are now aligned to match ITU’s IPR policies, meaning a new “implementer” status can be applied to ITU members to receive open source, royalty-free use of LoRaWAN – just as if they were a LoRa Alliance member.

We look forward to the collaboration between the LoRa Alliance and the ITU to continue to grow. For instance, future releases of the evolving LoRaWAN standard will be shared with the ITU-T for evaluation and possible expansion its existing Recommendation.

As a LoRa Alliance Board Member and also as Chairman of the Regulatory Work Group, on behalf of the LoRa Alliance I would like to express my gratitude to ITU members and the LoRa Alliance members for making this collaboration and agreement possible.

Explore applications for LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN standard on our website.


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Topics: LoRa, News, Wireless RF, Internet of Things

Olivier Beaujard

Written by Olivier Beaujard

Olivier Beaujard is Senior Director in charge of the LoRa® Ecosystem at Semtech and a board member of the LoRa Alliance®.


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