Improving Uplink Scalability of LoRa-Based Direct-to-Satellite IoT Networks


In the next few years, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations will become key enablers for the deployment of global Internet of Things (IoT) services. Due to their proximity to Earth, LEO satellites can directly communicate with ground nodes and, thus, serve as mobile gateways for IoT devices deployed in remote areas lacking terrestrial infrastructure. Within this Direct-to-Satellite IoT (DtS-IoT) context, LoRa (Long Range) technology, capable of providing long range connectivity to power-constrained devices, has received great attention. However, serious scalability issues have been observed in LoRa-based DtS-IoT networks when a high number of LoRa devices perform uplink transmissions driven by the straightforward Aloha protocol during the short visibility periods of the passing-by satellites. In this paper, we evaluate some Aloha-based protocols suitable for this kind of networks and present a new adaptive variant that allows LoRa devices to dynamically adjust their uplink transmission rates in order to make the network work near its optimal operating point. Simulation results show that our proposal is able to significantly improve the network throughput in overloaded scenarios without the need for coordination among LoRa devices, listening to the channel nor gateway support.

IEEE Internet of Things Journal, vol. 11, no. 7, pp. 12526–12535