Sniff Your Local LoRa Packets

As the LoRa low-bandwidth networking technology in license-free spectrum has gained traction on the wave of IoT frenzy, LoRa networks have started to appear in all sorts of unexpected places. Sometimes they are open networks such as The Things Network, other times they are commercially available networks, and then, of course, there are entirely private LoRa installations.

If you are interested in using LoRa on a particular site, it’s an interesting exercise to find out what LoRa traffic already exists, and to that end [Joe Broxson] has put together a useful little device. Hardware wise it’s an Adafruit Cortex M0 Feather with onboard LoRa module, paired with a TFT FeatherWing for display, and software wise it scans a set of available frequencies and posts any packets it finds to the scrolling display. It also has the neat feature of logging packets in detail to an SD card for later analysis. The whole is enclosed in a 3D printed case from an Adafruit design and makes for a very attractive self-contained unit.

We’ve featured quite a few LoRa projects here, including this one with a Raspberry Pi Compute module in a remote display. Of more relevance in a LoRa testing sense though is this look at LoRa range testing.

15 thoughts on “Sniff Your Local LoRa Packets

          1. picture lorawan as like a wifi card vs a network. Lora is the wifi card. LoraWAN is the network you create with it. Lorawan is just a specification. Wifi has network specifications too, they usually don’t just sell you a 2.4ghz radio and say “figure out how to connect it” lol, but that’s kind of the difference.

    1. There is no reason for your light bulb to have a LoRa connectivity.

      The LoRaWAN yes list:

      Long range – multiple kilometers
      Low power – can last months (or even years) on a battery
      Low cost – less than 20€ CAPEX per node, almost no OPEX
      Low bandwidth – something like 400 bytes per hour
      Coverage everywhere – you are the network! Just install your own gateways
      Secure – 128bit end-to-end encrypted

      The LoRaWAN no list:

      Realtime data – you can only send small packets every couple of minutes
      Phone calls – you can do that with GPRS/3G/LTE
      Controlling lights in your house – check out ZigBee or BlueTooth
      Sending photos, watching Netflix – check out WiFi
      Geolocation / Triangulation – you should probably use GPS for this, but we’re doing our best to make it work with only LoRa. Might take a few years though.

    2. Most likely it would be encrypted, at least if LoRaWAN is involved (such as when using The Things Network or most other networks). And even if it wouldn’t use LoRaWAN, if properly implemented, it would still be encrypted, so no. (And indeed, LoRa doesn’t really make sense for this application..)

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