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LoRaWAN overview

LoRaWAN is a technology designed for low-power battery powered devices. These devices operate in an unlicensed spectrum, creating high density wide-area networks.

Arm Mbed OS provides a native network stack for LoRaWAN, which can run on any Mbed Enabled device with a LoRa radio onboard.

The LoRaWANInterface provides a C++ API for connecting to the internet over a LoRa network.


To bring up the Mbed LoRaWAN stack, consider the following progression:

  1. An EventQueue object:
// construct an event queue
EventQueue ev_queue(NUM_EVENTS * EVENTS_EVENT_SIZE);
  1. A LoRaRadio object:
// construct a LoRadio object
SX1272_LoRaRadio radio(PIN_NAMES ... );
  1. Instantiate LoRaWANInterface, and pass LoRaRadio object:
LoRaWANInterface lorawan(radio) ;
  1. Initialize mac layer and pass EventQueue object:
  1. Set up the event callback:
lorawan_app_callbacks_t callbacks
callbacks.events = mbed::callback(YOUR_EVENT_HANDLER);
  1. Add network credentials (security keys) and any configurations:
lorawan_connect_t connection;

connection.connect_type = LORAWAN_CONNECTION_OTAA;
connection.connection_u.otaa.app_eui = YOUR_APP_EUI_KEY;
connection.connection_u.otaa.dev_eui = YOUR_DEV_EUI_KEY;
connection.connection_u.otaa.app_key = YOUR_APP_KEY;
connection.connection_u.otaa.nb_trials = MBED_CONF_LORA_NB_TRIALS;


Owing to the fact that most of the LoRaWAN devices are simple telemetry devices, the stack and its operation need to be as simple as possible. That's why the Mbed LoRaWAN stack is event driven.

Network events and callbacks

Here is the list of possible events that you can post from the stack to the application:

Event Description
CONNECTED When the connection is complete
DISCONNECTED When the protocol is shut down in response to disconnect()
TX_DONE When a packet is transmitted
TX_TIMEOUT When the stack is unable to send packet in TX window
TX_ERROR A general TX error
TX_CRYPTO_ERROR If MIC fails, or any other crypto related error
TX_SCHEDULING_ERROR When the stack is unable to schedule a packet
TX_TIMEOUT When the stack is unable to send a packet in TX window
RX_DONE When a packet is received
RX_ERROR A general RX error

The application must attach an event handler to the stack. The LoRaWANInterface provides an API to attach various callbacks to the stacks. One such callback is the event handler callback.

Application callbacks

The Mbed LoRaWAN stack currently maps 3 different callbacks:

Callback type Description
Event callback Mandatory, Direction: from stack to application
Link check response callback Optional, Direction: from stack to application
Battery level callabck Optional, Direction: from application to stack
Event handler

An example of attaching your event handler to the stack:

void your_event_handler(lorawan_event_t event)
    switch (event) {
        case CONNECTED:
        //do something
        case DISCONNECTED:
lorawan_app_callbacks_t callbacks;

callbacks.events = mbed::callback(your_event_handler);
//lorawan is the LoRaWANInterface object
Link check response handler

Link check request is a MAC command defined by the LoRaWAN specification. To receive the response of this MAC command, set the link_check_resp callback.

void your_link_check_response(uint8_t demod_margin, uint8_t num_gw)
	//demod_margin is the demodulation margin
	// num_gw represents the number of gateways involved in the path

callbacks.link_check_resp = mbed::callback(your_link_check_response);

Battery level handler

The battery level callback is different from others. The direction of this callback is from the application to the stack. In other words, it provides information to the stack. The application is reponsible for letting the stack know about the current battery level.

uint8_t your_battery_level()
	return battery_level;

callbacks.battery_level = mbed::callback(your_battery_level);
Error codes

All operations on LoRaWANInterface return an error code lorawan_status_t that reflects success or failure of the operation.

Below is the list of error codes and their description.

Error code Value Description
LORAWAN_STATUS_OK 0 Service done successfully
LORAWAN_STATUS_BUSY -1000 Stack busy
LORAWAN_STATUS_WOULD_BLOCK -1001 Stack cannot send at the moment or have nothing to read
LORAWAN_STATUS_SERVICE_UNKNOWN -1002 Unknown service request
LORAWAN_STATUS_DATARATE_INVALID -1005 Invalid frequency and datarate
LORAWAN_STATUS_FREQ_AND_DR_INVALID -1006 When stack was unable to send packet in TX window
LORAWAN_STATUS_NO_NETWORK_JOINED -1009 Device is not part of a network yet (Applicable only for OTAA)
LORAWAN_STATUS_LENGTH_ERROR -1010 Payload length error
LORAWAN_STATUS_DEVICE_OFF -1011 The device is off, in other words, disconnected state
LORAWAN_STATUS_NOT_INITIALIZED -1012 Stack not initialized
LORAWAN_STATUS_UNSUPPORTED -1013 Unsupported service
LORAWAN_STATUS_CONNECT_IN_PROGRESS -1016 Connection in progress (application should wait for CONNECT event)
LORAWAN_STATUS_NO_ACTIVE_SESSIONS -1017 No active session in progress
LORAWAN_STATUS_IDLE -1018 Stack idle at the moment
LORAWAN_STATUS_DUTYCYCLE_RESTRICTED -1020 Transmission will be delayed because of duty cycling
LORAWAN_STATUS_NO_CHANNEL_FOUND -1021 No channel is enabled at the moment
LORAWAN_STATUS_NO_FREE_CHANNEL_FOUND -1022 All channels marked used, cannot find a free channel at the moment
LORAWAN_STATUS_METADATA_NOT_AVAILABLE -1023 Metadata is stale, cannot be made available as its not relevant

You can find the API documentation for the LoRaWANInterface and LoRaRadio classes below:

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