Helium LoRa hotspot modeling

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Helium LoRa gateways are popping up like mushrooms all over the world. Due to variations in siting some users (on hills/tower blocks) are experiencing +50km with a basic antenna whilst others (below hills/tower blocks) are struggling to communicate 5km with the same hardware. Using LoRa technology, the signal is able to propagate many miles even in a city on low power but is still attenuated by obstacles, especially buildings.

The location, and height especially, is everything to getting the maximum range.

WARNING: Do not fit a high gain antenna unless you reduce your transmit power accordingly or your effective radiated power may exceed authorised limits for the ISM band. Use the CloudRF EIRP calculator in the feeder menu to ensure you are legal. The ISM band in the US and EU is monitored for abuse by spectrum regulators.

EIRP = Effective Isotropic Radiated Power AKA “Power out of the antenna”.

Eg. 27dBm + 6dBi antenna = 33dBm EIRP. Legal in US (36dBm), Illegal in EU (20dBm)

Interface settings will vary by hardware and region. Basic settings for the US and EU are listed in the table below.

ValueUS / FCCEU / ETSI
Frequency915MHz868MHz
RF power0.5W / 27dBm0.025W / 14dBm
Antenna gain2.3dBi2.8dBi
Legal EIRP limit+36dBm (FCC part 15)
https://afar.net/tutorials/fcc-rules/
+20dBm (ETSI SRD)
https://support.sigfox.com/docs/radio-constraints-for-international-certification
Antenna typeOEM half-wave dipoleOEM half-wave-dipole
Receiver (Rx) gain2.15dBi2.15dBi
Sensitivity-120dBm (City), -130dBm (Rural)-120dBm (City), -130dBm (Rural)
Bandwidth0.125MHz0.125MHz
Feeder loss0dB0dB
ModelITMITM
Reliability60%60%
ContextAverageAverage
DiffractionOff (included)Off (included)
ClutterSoftSoft
Clutter attenuation0.01dB/m0.01dB/m
Resolution16m / 52ft16m / 52ft
ClutterSoftSoft
Colour schemaLORA.dBmLORA.dBm
Radius10km / 6Mi10km / 6Mi
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