Glossary

Glossary

This reference contains common terms and definitions to help you find your way around The Things Enterprise Stack .

Activation by Personalisation
(ABP)
Manually provisioning device keys to join a LoRaWAN network. Less flexible, less secure, and less scalable than OTAA, but sometimes useful during demos, to avoid waiting for a downlink window to join a network.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=37
Activation Mode
Over-the-Air Activation (OTAA) is the preferred and most secure way to connect a device. Devices perform a join-procedure with the network, during which a dynamic Device Address is assigned and security keys are negotiated with the device. Activation by Personalization (ABP) requires hardcoding the Device Address as well as the security keys in the device. This strategy might seem simpler, because you skip the join procedure, but it has downsides related to security. ABP also has the downside that devices can not switch network providers without manually changing keys in the device. Multicast is a virtual group of ABP devices which allows all devices to receive the same downlinks. Multicast groups do not support uplinks.
Adaptive Data Rate
(ADR)
A mechanism for optimizing data rates, airtime and energy consumption in the network.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/adaptive-data-rate.html
AppEUI
(JoinEUI)
In LoRaWAN specifications prior to 1.1, JoinEUI was called AppEUI. See JoinEUI.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=33
Application
An Application in The Things Stack allows you to register LoRaWAN devices and manage data and integrations. Applications can be created via the Console or CLI.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/applications/
Application ID
(AppID)
A unique, human-readable identifier for your application.
Application Key
(AppKey)
A device specific encryption key used during OTAA to generate the AppSKey (in LoRaWAN 1.1x) or both the NwkSKey and AppSKey in LoRaWAN 1.0x. This is usually pre provisioned by the device manufacturer, but can also be created by the user.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=33
Application Session Key
(AppSKey)
After activation, this encryption key is used to secure messages which carry a payload.
Band
(Frequency Band)
For LoRaWAN, a Band is a range of frequencies divided either in to dynamic channels (i.e. EU868) or fixed channels (i.e. US902, AU915). The LoRaWAN Regional Parameters specify which Bands are supported by LoRaWAN in a geographical area. Within a Band, there can be multiple complying Frequency Plans. Devices typically support one or more Bands in their hardware, and are configured for a particular Frequency Plan as part of activation.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/rp_2-1.0.0_final_release.pdf
Bandwidth
LoRaWAN can use channels with a bandwidth of either 125 kHz, 250 kHz or 500 kHz, depending on the region or the Frequency Plan. Making the bandwidth 2x wider (from BW125 to BW250) allows you to send 2x more bytes in the same time.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/modulation-data-rate.html
Class A
Class A devices support bi-directional communication between a device and a gateway. Uplink messages (from the device to the server) can be sent at any time (randomly). The device then opens two receive windows at specified times after an uplink transmission. The first receive window (Rx1) is set to 5 seconds and can be modified. The second receive window (Rx2) always comes 1 second after Rx1.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/classes.html
Class B
Class B devices extend Class A by adding scheduled receive windows for downlink messages from the server. Using time-synchronized beacons transmitted by the gateway, the devices periodically open receive windows.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/classes.html
Class C
Class C devices extend Class A by keeping the receive windows open unless they are transmitting. This allows for low-latency communication but is many times more energy consuming than Class A devices.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/classes.html
Classes
The LoRaWAN specification defines three device types. All LoRaWAN devices must implement Class A, whereas Class B and Class C are extensions to the specification of Class A devices.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/classes.html
Data Rate
(DR)
A combination of Bandwidth and Spreading Factor which defines how quickly a message is transmitted.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/modulation-data-rate.html
Data Rate Index
The Data Rate Index specifies which data rate downlink communications will use, as given in the Regional Parameters.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/rp_2-1.0.1.pdf#page=25
Data Rate Offset
The Data Rate Offset sets the offset between the uplink data rate and the downlink data rate used to communicate with the End Device during the first reception slot (RX1).
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/rp_2-1.0.1.pdf#page=27
Device Address
(DevAddr)
A 32 bit non-unique identifier, assigned by the Network Server during device activation.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=33
Device EUI
(DevEUI)
A 64 bit extended unique identifier for your device. This is programmed by the manufacturer and should not be changed. It should be provided to you by the manufacturer, or printed on the device.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/addressing.html
Device ID
A unique, human-readable identifier for your device. You make it up, so be creative. Device IDs can not be used by multiple device within the same application.
Duty Cycle
The fraction of time a device is busy. When a single device transmits on a channel for 2 time units every 10 time units, this device has a duty cycle of 20%.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/duty-cycle.html
Dwell Time
The time needed to transmit a LoRaWAN message. In some regions a maximum allowed dwell time is configured to limit transmission time, typically 400ms.
Dwell Time Configuration
The Dwell time restrictions are configurable for each Frequency Plan. In regions where dwell time limitations are optional, they’re disabled by default.
Dynamic Channel
A Band which uses Dynamic Channels (i.e. EU868) uses a Channel Frequency List (CFList) to communicate channels by frequency.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=50
End Device
(Device)
(Node)
(Mote)
A sensor or actuator with an embedded low power LoRaWAN communication module.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/devices/
Fixed Channel
A Band which uses Fixed Channels (i.e. US902, AU915) uses a Channel Mask (ChMask) to enable and disable channels.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=50
Frequency Plan
(FP)
(Channel Plan)
A Frequency Plan defines data rates and channels which comply with the LoRaWAN Regional Parameters for a band or geographical area. Devices are configured for a particular Frequency Plan as part of activation, and can use any Frequency Plan within a supported band.
https://github.com/TheThingsNetwork/lorawan-frequency-plans
Gateway
Gateways form the bridge between End Devices and Network Servers. Devices use low power networks like LoRa to connect to the Gateway, while the Gateway uses high bandwidth networks like WiFi, Ethernet or Cellular to connect to a Network Server.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/gateways/
Gateway EUI
A 64 bit extended unique identifier for your gateway. This is programmed by the manufacturer and should not be changed. In cases where it is not programmed by the manufacturer, it must be programmed with a unique EUI that you own.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/addressing.html
Gateway ID
A unique, human-readable identifier for your gateway.
Integration
Integrations connect devices to the world, by triggering events whenever a device communicates. The Application server manages integrations using Webhooks or MQTT. These can be as simple as an IFTTT Maker Applet or a visual flow using Node-RED, or as complex as custom code on a server which processes and acts on device data.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/applications/integrations.html
Interval
The duration between messages.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/duty-cycle.html
ISM Radio Bands
The Industrial, Scientific, and Medical Bands, most commonly used for low-power and short range telecommunications, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, wireless telephones, RFID, and NFC.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISM_band
JoinEUI
The JoinEUI (formerly called AppEUI) is a 64 bit extended unique identifier used to identify the Join Server during activation. This should be provided by the device manufacturer for pre-provisioned devices, or by the owner of the Join Server you will use. If you do not have a JoinEUI, it is okay to use 0000000000000000, but ensure that you use the same JoinEUI in your device as you enter in The Things Stack.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=33
Local area network
(LAN)
A network that connects computers within a limited area.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_area_network
LoRa
A modulation technology for long range wireless communication, based on chirp-spread spectrum technology.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoRa
LoRa Basics™ Station
(LBS)
(Basic Station)
(Station)
The LoRa Basics™ Station protocol simplifies management of large scale LoRaWAN networks. LoRa Basics™ Station is the preferred way of connecting Gateways to The Things Stack. Some of the advantages of LoRa Basics™ Station over the legacy UDP Packet Forwarder are: Centralized Update and Configuration Management, TLS and Token-based Authentication, Centralized Channel-Plan Management, and No Dependency on Local Time Keeping.
https://lora-developers.semtech.com/resources/tools/basic-station/welcome-basic-station/
LoRaWAN
LoRaWAN is a media access control (MAC) protocol for wide area networks. It is designed to allow low-powered devices to communicate with Internet-connected applications over long range wireless connections.
https://lora-alliance.org/about-lorawan
LoRaWAN Version
The LoRaWAN version is the LoRa Alliance LoRaWAN specification your device conforms to, which defines which Media Access Control features it supports. The LoRaWAN version for your device should be provided by the manufacturer in a datasheet as LoRaWAN version or LoRaWAN specification.
Media Access Control
(MAC)
LoRaWAN media access control protocols, downloadable from the LoRa Alliance. The Media Access Control version for your device should be provided by the manufacturer in a datasheet as LoRaWAN version or LoRaWAN specification.
https://lora-alliance.org/lorawan-for-developers
Network Server
(Backend)
The Network Server is responsible for routing Internet of Things data between devices and applications.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/network/
Network Session Key
(NwkSKey)
After activation, this encryption key is used to secure messages which do not carry a payload.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=33
Over the Air Activation
(OTAA)
The preferred method to join a LoRaWAN network, offering more flexibility, security, and scalability than ABP.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/lorawan1.0.3.pdf#page=34
Packet Forwarder
A Packet Forwarder is a program running on a Gateway that receives and transmits LoRa packets, and forwards these packets to and from a Network Server.
Payload
A LoRaWAN packet. Application payloads are decrypted data relevant to the application. Gateway payloads are encrypted and include the application payload plus a frame counter and other LoRaWAN data.
Physical Layer
(PHY)
Hardware pertaining to LoRaWAN official regional specifications. The PHY version for your device should be specified in the product documentation as Regional Parameter version.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/rp_2-1.0.0_final_release.pdf
Regional Parameters
(PHY)
The Regional Parameters specify frequency, dwell time, and other communication settings for different geographical areas. The Regional Parameters version is the version of the LoRa Alliance specification which your device supports. This should be provided by the device manufacturer in a datasheet.
https://lora-alliance.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/rp_2-1.0.0_final_release.pdf
Semtech UDP Packet Forwarder
(UDP Packet Forwarder)
The Semtech UDP Packet Forwarder is the first packet forwarder, connecting to servers through the Semtech UDP protocol. Although this protocol has several drawbacks, many gateways include a pre-compiled version of the packet forwarder, which makes it easy to test a gateway with this protocol.
Signal to noise ratio
(SNR)
A measure of signal strength.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal-to-noise_ratio
Spreading Factor
(SF)
The transmission speed or Data Rate of a LoRaWAN message, ranging from SF7 (highest Data Rate) to SF12 (lowest Data Rate). Making the spreading factor 1 step lower (from SF10 to SF9) allows you to roughly send the same amount of data use half the time on air. Lowering the spreading factor makes it more difficult for the gateway to receive a transmission, as it will be more sensitive to noise.
https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/docs/lorawan/modulation-data-rate.html
Wide area network
(WAN)
A network that connects within a wide geographical range, usually to the internet.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_area_network