LoRa Network Expansion – Greatest Achievement in 2022
Towards the centre of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wildlife research team were short of hands and forced to review the current methods and practices in monitoring. With the front-end user experience in development, a new technology began to hit the conservation sector – LPWAN (Low power wide area networks), mainly SigFox and LoRa. After more research and various trials, Selati decided to invest in the LoRa (short for Long Range) technology and build their network across the reserve.
As most game reserves lack basic 3G or 4G Internet coverage, this poses a challenge for device connectivity over a wide area. Wireless IoT solutions, such as those based on (LPWAN), offer major potential for wildlife conservation efforts.IoT solutions to these parks is to cover the conservation area with a reliable network, which serves to collect data from sensors distributed throughout the area. Once end-devices are deployed and connected to the network, ecological teams can securely track wildlife movement.With the ideal topography, Selati erected three towers on the highest points of the reserve, which resulted in 95% of the reserve receiving LoRa coverage.
A landscape of LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) gateways provide a secure network that uses a power-efficient bandwidth to send small packets of data (e.g. GPS-coordinates) over a long distance. This is ideal for near real-time animal tracking through various collars and solar devices. The LoRa protocol and technology is energy-efficient, meaning that LoRa devices can achieve a longer life span compared to traditional satellite collars.
In 2022, Selati improved their LoRa network and deployed additional LoRa units on several endangered species. In August this year, the first two LoRa horn pods were fitted onto two black rhinos during a dehorning operation. While still in the early phases of testing, this newly developed tracking device uses the newest technology and has thus far proved to be promising for the future of rhino monitoring. Beyond wildlife tracking, Selati is constantly expanding their use of the LoRa network to include vehicle trackers, remote fence voltage monitors, water tank probes, and weather stations.