Introduction. What is Symphony Link
Symphony Link is a wireless LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) system developed by Link Labs to overcome limitations of the LoRaWAN system, such as limited capacity. As the number of devices on the network increases, the network's performance may suffer, also not be enough level of security for some types of applications.
It is built on LoRa CSS physical layer technology. It is based on a patented technology called Symphony Link Spread Spectrum (SLSS), which is optimized for IoT applications.
Following are the features of Symphony Link technology:
- It is the standard protocol developed by Link Labs targeted to meet the LoRa range with higher performance;
- Protocol used is Synchronous, unlike ALOHA;
- It uses a channel size of 125 kHz;
- It offers a high sensitivity of about -137 dBm;
- It uses both unlicensed and licensed frequency spectrum from 902-928 MHz in the US, and 863-870 MHz in Europe;
- It operates without the network server. The devices communicate using a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) protocol. Unlike traditional network server-based communication protocols, Symphony Link devices do not rely on a centralized server to communicate with each other;
Symphony Link devices use a technique called Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) to establish communication. DSSS is a technique that allows multiple devices to share the same frequency channel by spreading the signal over a wide range of frequencies. Each device in the network has a unique "chirp" pattern that allows it to communicate with other devices in the network without interfering with other signals.
- Symphony Link gateway is an 8 channel sub-GHz base station;
- The platform also includes features such as over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates, remote device management, and support for multiple application protocols.
Symphony Link is designed to support a wide range of IoT applications, including industrial automation, smart cities, agriculture, asset tracking, and environmental monitoring. The platform is highly scalable and can support networks with thousands or even millions of devices, making it a popular choice for large-scale IoT deployments.
Let’s have a look at the main advantages this protocol has.
Advantages of Symphony Link:
- Long-range connectivity: Symphony Link is optimized for long-range communication and can provide connectivity over several kilometers, even in harsh environments;
- Low-power consumption: Symphony Link uses a low-power wireless technology that enables IoT devices to operate on battery power for several years, reducing maintenance costs and enabling remote and mobile deployments;
- High reliability: Symphony Link uses a robust and reliable communication protocol that can withstand interference, noise, and other sources of signal degradation, ensuring high data transmission rates and low packet loss;
- Secure communication: Symphony Link uses advanced encryption and authentication mechanisms to secure communication between devices and gateways, protecting sensitive data and ensuring compliance with privacy and security regulations;
- Scalability: Symphony Link uses a unique MAC layer protocol, called the Symphony Link Protocol (SLP), that enables highly scalable networks by dynamically managing each device's bandwidth and time-slot allocation. This allows Symphony Link to support thousands of devices on a single network without compromising network performance;
- Flexibility: Symphony Link supports multiple application protocols, including MQTT, CoAP, and HTTP, allowing developers to choose the protocol that best suits their needs.
As it was mentioned above, the Symphony link was created to overcome the limitations of the LoRaWAN system. Let’s compare these two protocols to be sure the target was achieved.
Comparison Symphony Link and LoRaWAN
- Symphony Link and LoRaWAN are wireless communication protocols designed for Internet of Things (IoT) applications requiring long-range, low-power, and reliable connectivity. While they share many similarities, let’s have a look at the differences.
- High-density environments: Symphony Link is designed to work in high-density environments where multiple devices compete for wireless connectivity. It uses a protocol that can handle a higher volume of data and connections, making it more suitable for applications with many IoT devices in a small area.
LoRaWAN is also a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) protocol that can operate in high-density environments with multiple devices competing for wireless connectivity. However, LoRaWAN uses a form of Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS).
Both modulation techniques are designed to allow multiple devices to share the same frequency channel, but they use different methods to achieve this.
Security: Symphony Link provides advanced security features, including end-to-end encryption, authentication, and access control, which make it more secure than LoRaWAN (LoRaWAN uses AES encryption). It is suitable for applications that require high levels of security, such as financial transactions or healthcare applications.
- Scalability: Symphony Link is designed to support networks with thousands or even millions of devices, making it a good choice for large-scale IoT deployments. In contrast, LoRaWAN is typically used in smaller-scale networks.
- Integration: Symphony Link supports a range of application protocols, including MQTT, CoAP, and HTTP, making it easier to integrate with existing systems and platforms. LoRaWAN has a more limited range of application protocols.
In summary, Symphony Link may be preferred over LoRaWAN in applications that require high-density connectivity, advanced security features, scalability, interference reduction, or integration with existing systems and platforms. However, the choice of the protocol will ultimately depend on the specific requirements of the application and the available resources.
For an unbiased opinion, it is impossible not to mention the weakness.
The followings are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Symphony Link:
- It requires LoRa chipsets and symphony link software which adds dependency. If a system is designed to use the Symphony Link protocol, it will depend on the Symphony Link software and hardware components. Because the devices used in the system will need to be compatible with the Symphony Link protocol and will require the Symphony Link software to operate.
Meanwhile, LoRaWAN devices can communicate with LoRaWAN gateways from different manufacturers, providing a high degree of interoperability and flexibility.
- It is being used by a small community of users.
In general, Symphony Link as the LoRaWAN competitor, is worthy; however, it is less popular than LoRaWAN.
LoRaWAN is an open standard maintained by the LoRa Alliance. This means that LoRaWAN has a larger ecosystem of devices and vendors that support the protocol, while Symphony Link is more tightly controlled by a single vendor (Link Labs).
LoRaWAN has been available for several years and has achieved a high level of market penetration in many countries. In contrast, Symphony Link is a relatively new technology and has yet to be as widely adopted. This can make it more difficult for developers and businesses to find components and devices that are compatible with Symphony Link, which can limit its popularity.
LoRaWAN has a well-established ecosystem, a larger community of developers, and is more widely adopted, making it a popular choice for many IoT applications.
Overall, Symphony Link has its strengths and advantages, but its popularity and adoption are still growing, and it may take time for it to become as widely adopted as LoRaWAN.
Inmost eager to check all advantages of Symphony Link in practice and make our contribution to the popularity of this promising protocol.