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Successful international roaming test between Orange and KPN LoRaWAN networks with Actility opens new horizons for IoT business apps

Orange, KPN and IoT connectivity platform supplier Actility reveal the first successful field test of actual roaming between nationwide public IoT networks, implementing the latest LoRa Alliance specifications. Roaming is the ability for an IoT device to seamlessly connect to different LoRaWAN networks to transmit its data. This successful implementation of roaming protocols in the field opens up the possibility of connecting sensors or trackers that move between countries. It also simplifies the implementation of international business applications – by removing the need to both integrate several IoT platforms and contract with multiple LoRaWAN operators – thereby reducing time to market for customers.

In October, the LoRa Alliance released the first version of the LoRaWAN Backend Interfaces Specification. This governs how LoRaWAN sensor data are passed between different networks to enable roaming. Based on this specification, Orange and KPN set up a secure roaming interface between their Actility network server platforms, and have successfully tested Orange devices operating on the KPN network in the Netherlands and KPN devices operating on the Orange France network.

“This first successful LoRaWAN compliant roaming communication in the field is a critical milestone to unlock several key segments of the IoT market by removing the barrier of national borders,” says Bertrand Waels, head of Alternative Radio Access at Orange. “Our tests in an open collaboration with KPN in the Netherlands and with the support of Actility show that the specifications published by the LoRa Alliance do work reliably in the field.”

Roaming is important for the whole IoT ecosystem (device manufacturers, device owners, application platforms, and network operators). Roaming simplifies the development of international use cases, such as with a trucking company’s logistics chain or a start-up selling products across Europe. It can eliminate the need to develop variants of devices and applications for each IoT network and national markets, optimizing time to market and bringing economies of scale.

“Unlocking international markets is a major driver for our customers. We are pleased with this major step, roaming is key to extending our LoRaWAN based IoT services around the globe,” adds Carolien Nijhuis, Director IoT at KPN.

Since its foundation in 2015, the LoRa Alliance has been developing open LoRaWAN IoT standards to the benefit of a large and dynamic ecosystem. “Actility was a major contributor to the roaming specification work because we believe the benefits in terms of applications and greater simplicity and reduced costs for the ecosystem are clear,” says Olivier Hersent, CTO of Actility. “Ultimately the LoRaWAN ecosystem can seamlessly cluster thousands of networks. We believe an open and multi-vendor system can scale up to the requirements of the Internet of Things.”

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