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6LoWPAN Range: Use Case Calculations

If you checked out the Bluetooth LE range or the ZigBee range articles, you know the story of the obstacle course building, engineering entrepreneurs. If not, here’s a quick recap:

In order to offer a better experience for contestants at their obstacle courses, the founders want to show data like top speed, time elapsed, route taken, and more. As electrical engineers, they want to test out if they can build this system themselves. They’ll need to start by testing out wireless technologies to use, and today they’re looking at 6LoWPAN.

What is the expected 6LoWPAN range from their second-floor antenna?

6LoWPAN Range Expectations:

Antenna: Second floor within a block-wall building

Receiver: One meter off the ground in the parking lot

  TX Antenna Height (m)   6
  TX Power (dBm)   3
  TX Antenna Gain (dB)   0
  Frequency (MHz)   2400
  RX Antenna Height (m)   1
  RX Antenna Gain (dB)   -6
  Structure Loss (dB)   11
  Sensitivity (dBm)   -101
  Margin (dB)   20
  Range   116

(Note: 11dB structure loss consistent with propagation through an 8" masonry block wall)

With one antenna on the second floor, the expected 6LoWPAN range is 116 meters. That’s not enough to cover all of the obstacle courses they have set up in the parking lot. They check into the other options:

Want to learn more about LPWAN? Check out this article.

Want to learn about what we’re building at Link Labs? Click below to learn about the system with 2594 meters of range (using the same assumptions).

IoT Protocol Selection White Paper

Written by Brian Ray

Brian is the Founder and CTO of Link Labs. As the chief technical innovator and leader of the company, Brian has led the creation and deployment of a new type of ultra long-range, low-power wireless networking which is transforming the Internet of Things and M2M space.

Before starting Link Labs, Brian led a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab that solved communications and geolocation problems for the national intelligence community. He was also the VP of Engineering at the network security company, Lookingglass, and served for eight years as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Master’s Degree from Oxford University.


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Looking for more information about the latest IoT technologies, like LPWAN, LoRa, M2M, long-range wireless and more? Here are a few resources to get you started.

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