LoRaX: Repurposing LoRa as a Low Data Rate Messaging System to Extend Internet Boundaries

Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Md Nazmul Hossain, Alexander K. Elliott, Elizabeth M. Belding, Ellen Zegura

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Globally, 43% of households lack Internet access, primarily in regions where deployment and/or service costs are prohibitive, including in the least developed countries, rural locations, and regions with high concentrations of ethnic minorities and low-income populations. Unfortunately, this lack of Internet access increasingly equates to a lack of access to essential services, such as healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. In an environment of marginal economics, creative and varied approaches to obtaining access have flourished, including Internet kiosks long popular in the Global South, libraries as public access in the Global North, parking lot use of open WiFi access points, and spectrum-based solutions such as TV whitespace links and citizen band radio. In the near future, local 5G and the deployment of satellite constellations promise yet additional options in the price/performance space for access. In this context we are interested in the following research question: How can the presence of multiple networks, with different price, performance, and geographic reach profiles, be best used in concert to improve access to critical services? We propose that a robust answer to this question bears a holistic, cross-layer examination of new communication paradigms, network architecture innovation, and application design. We make this concrete by running to ground a specific case study of two networks, one high performance yet limited in geographic scope and the other low performance yet pervasive. Specifically our LoRaX (LoRa eXtends the Internet) system combines high bandwidth but non-pervasive Internet access with a low data rate, low power, yet ubiquitious network made possible by IoT developments. By focusing on two networks with extreme differences, we explore a design space that offers users new opportunities for participating in Internet-based services-even when high speed Internet connectivity is intermittent. We also reflect on the generality of the environment and our solution approach for future multi-network settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th ACM SIGCAS/SIGCHI Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies, COMPASS 2022
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages195-213
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781450393478
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 29 2022
Event4th ACM SIGCAS/SIGCHI Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies, COMPASS 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Jun 29 2022Jul 1 2022

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series
VolumePar F180472

Conference

Conference4th ACM SIGCAS/SIGCHI Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies, COMPASS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period6/29/227/1/22

Keywords

  • challenged networking environment
  • digital divide
  • last mile connectivity
  • LoRa
  • low data rate messaging
  • LPWAN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software

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