New smart lighting solutions with Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technologies are proving to be a compelling alternative to other types of connectivity due to many advantages: ultra-low power consumption, affordable price and the ability to establish long-distance communications with a few network gateways.

In low-power networks, the LoRaWAN® protocol is undoubtedly one of the most popular and effective. LoRaWAN® is a Media Access Control layer protocol that uses LoRa® modulation as the physical layer.

Maintained by the LoRa® Alliance, LoRaWAN® standard defines all aspects of the radio network from the transmission pattern to the network architecture. These directives aim at defining a scalable, reliable, secure, open, and interoperable IoT network able to guarantee appropriate quality of service for many use cases.

Installing a public lighting system

Deploying a LoRaWAN® -based control system for public lighting on an area with an extension of tens of square kilometers, made up of unevenness between hilly and flat areas can prove to be a daunting task.

That’s the challenge the Urbana team faced in the province of Palermo, Sicily, with hundreds of light points to be constantly monitored.

In situations such as these, it can be clearly understood how important an IoT Platform with LoRaWAN® is today in public lighting management projects.

Existing control systems, based on mesh technology networks, for example, do not allow integration with standard lighting devices, making it difficult to scale up installation and service, thus imposing legacy and not future-proof vendor lock-ins to the customer.

Extract of road plan with location of installed LoRaWAN® devices

Urbana IoT Platform with LoRaWAN®

For this project, the Urbana installed an advanced technological system able to control more than 800 street lighting lamps (for each city) through a LoRaWAN® network.

Thanks to the scalability of the LoRaWAN® network, it was possible to meet all needs of the city administration, i.e., an IoT platform that could not only control the street lighting system, but also allow the immediate addition of other smart city digital services to improve the livability of the city and provide value-added services to citizens.

A “point-to-point” control and remote management cloud system that allows monitoring and control each individual lamp, are found to be decisive to build and manage an optimal system.

Urbana, thanks to its IoT Platform and Toolkit mobile app, has been able to collect readings of diagnostic measurements, program remotely lighting control parameters (including lighting programs), configure alerts for faulty lamps and carry on analysis of electrical parameters for each individual lighting fixture.

The Toolkit mobile app was used for the plug-and-play commissioning of devices on the field, empowering installers to reduce installation costs and speed up the LoRaWAN® network configuration process. Thanks to the Urbana Toolkit mobile app, every single control device has been successfully installed and commissioned in less than 10 seconds

With Urbana IoT, LoRaWAN® network gateways and control devices, Urbana has successfully ensured widespread coverage on the territory by guaranteeing high performing IoT services.

The end nodes, leveraging standard interfaces such as DALI 2.0 and ZHAGA Book18, were easily connected to the manufacturer’s lighting equipment.

A total of five thousand devices and twenty gateways were used, with 480,000 messages handled per day.


About Maurizio