KotahiNet, which in February announced plans to rollout throughout New Zealand a LoRaWAN low powered wide area radio network for connecting ‘things’ to the Internet, has installed a LoRaWAN network in the Cook Islands in partnership with local telco, BlueSky Cook Islands.
LoRaWAN technology is optimised for devices that send and receive small amounts of data and that need to operate for long periods on batteries. It is claimed to have a range of up to 20Kms in favourable conditions and a single base station can support several thousand devices that can run up to five years on a AA battery.
The LoRaWAN technology operates in the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical bands around 900MHz. Countries use different frequencies, but KotahiNet director Vikram Kumar said the Cook Islands network would operate on the European Union frequency.
“By operating using the LoRaWAN specification for the European Union of 868 MHz, it allows buying sensors and other smart devices off the shelf. This means Rarotonga can tap into global suppliers and take advantage of scale economies,” he said.
Phillip Henderson, country manager of Bluesky Cook Islands said the Cook Islands would benefit from being able to get real-time data about the physical world with cheap and ubiquitous connectivity. “There are a large variety of potential uses from smart electricity monitoring to better understanding the environment to knowing the location of everything.”
Kumar said the KotahiNet’s New Zealand LoRaWAN network now covered more than half the country’s population. Last month a similar achievement was claimed for a network based on the rival Sigfox technology by Kordia, which is rolling the network out in partnership with local Sigfox licencee, Thinxtra.