Main image of What Is Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) Wireless Communication? - Utilization

What Is Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) Wireless Communication? - Utilization

4. LPWA Utilization Examples

We introduce here some examples of the applications LPWA is actually being utilized in. Using LPWA makes it possible to collect data sensed remotely in real time, control devices, and detect location.

4.1 Smartification of Life Infrastructure (Smart Meters) [Cellular LPWA]

Image of Smart Meters

Smart meters are becoming more widely used. These are devices that automatically collect meter data with LPWA long-distance wireless communication for the amount used of electricity, gas, water, and other services as the smartification of life infrastructure. The installation of smart meters has advantages for both operators and users. For example, operators can reduce the time, effort, and costs involved in meter readers actually going to meters to visually check the numerical values of the amount used on them. Meanwhile, users can grasp the amount they are using on a daily basis. Moreover, if, for example, an operator confirms that there is an electrical leakage, gas leakage, water leakage, or other malfunction from the meter data collected with LPWA, it is possible to take an emergency response such as cutting off the supply with remote control. Therefore, the safety of the living environment can be improved. The locations where LPWA is used in this case are mainly areas with residences, companies, and other buildings. Therefore, cellular base stations are plentiful. That means that cellular LPWA (licensed band) is used in many cases for automatic meter reading by smart meters.

4.2 Smartification of Houses and Facilities (Smart Homes and Smart Locks, Etc.) [Cellular LPWA / Non-cellular LPWA]

Image of Smart Homes

In addition to the aforementioned life infrastructure, the insides of buildings such as houses, offices, factories, and commercial facilities are also being made smarter. For instance, it has become possible to set up a highly convenient and comfortable living environment by integrating and controlling house locks (smart locks) and air conditioners, lighting equipment, and various other home appliances, that is, by realizing smart homes and connected homes. Moreover, it is possible to collectively manage the usage and locking situation of shared spaces and meeting rooms in factories, offices, and other facilities, freeing us from the complexity of managing the usage and locking situation.  
LPWA is being considered and is becoming more widely used for the following reasons in the smartification of such facilities.

・The control signals and sensing data have a small size

・There is excellent cost-effectiveness in operation such as in terms of the cellular communication expenses

・Maintenance labor is low (the battery life is 10 years or more)

・It is possible to select cellular LPWA (licensed band) in regions where communication connections with the base stations of carriers are stable (regions where many people live and work) and non-cellular LPWA (unlicensed band) that enables communication using gateways even in regions where connections with base stations are not stable with cellular LPWA (mountainous regions, isolated islands, and regions distant from urban districts)

4.3 Tracking of People, Things, and Other (Wearable Devices/Trackers) [Cellular LPWA]

Image of Wearable Devices/Trackers

Small LPWA modules can also be equipped to small devices. For example, it is possible to acquire location information on people, animals, things, and other by equipping small LPWA modules to wearable devices and trackers. Therefore, location tracking technology using these devices is being widely utilized. 
Let’s assume we will be using the cellular LPWA (licensed band). In that case, the location data transmitted from wearable devices and trackers is delivered to a data server via the communication network of a carrier from a cellular base station to enable tracking to be performed. It is possible to use wearable devices to watch over children and prevent pets from becoming lost with this technology. Moreover, packages in transport can be tracked in real time from a remote location. In addition, cellular LPWA also supports tracking in international logistics with roaming of the access point carriers in each country.

4.4 Environmental Monitoring and Smartification of Agriculture [Cellular LPWA / Non-cellular LPWA]

Image of Environmental Monitoring and Smartification of Agriculture

The introduction of LPWA with its features including long-distance communication and low-power consumption is expanding into fields such as environmental monitoring and smart agriculture. For instance, we can install various environmental measurement sensors (water temperature, water volume, soil and CO2 concentration, etc.) at monitoring points in mountainous regions, isolated islands, and areas far from urban centers. We can then collect the data acquired from those sensors if we use non-cellular LPWA (unlicensed band). This makes it possible to grasp in real time from a remote location the conditions at the monitoring points. Moreover, expansion from environmental sensing to smart agriculture (agri-tech) is also being considered based on this example. 
It is possible to use cellular LPWA (licensed band) if the environment is located in a town or village capable of stable communication with base stations.

4.5 Use of Smart Payment Terminals Outdoors [Cellular LPWA]

Image of Smart Payment

When paying for goods or services using wireless communication (smart payment) outdoors, if, for example, Wi-Fi is used, the server is sometimes not able to receive the data because the strength of the signals reaching the gateway is low. Moreover, if we use methods of cellular mobile communication such as 4G LTE or 5G with a smartphone serving as the terminal, the burden of communication expenses may increase. 
On the other hand, although it is the same cellular method as 4G LTE or 5G, if we use cellular LPWA (licensed band), we can send payment data in real time at a lower cost than mobile communication. Smart payment using LPWA is expected to be utilized in outdoor restaurants, mobile stores, sales of goods at outdoor events, taxis, and similar.

4.6 Remote Monitoring of Medical Equipment (CPAP Devices) [Cellular LPWA]

Image of Murata CPAP MX

People who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) in which breathing temporarily stops during sleep sometimes experience intense sleepiness, headaches, and other symptoms during the day. These symptoms may have a major impact on people’s lives and society. For example, an accident can be caused due to a driver falling asleep at the wheel of their car. Therefore, SAS requires treatment. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment is a leading method of treating SAS.
There are SAS patients who want to easily carry and use CPAP devices, which are usually used at home, on business trips, travel, and other such outings.

Image of Remote Monitoring of Medical Equipment (CPAP Devices) 


We have developed a small and thin CPAP device that is easy to carry around by adopting our small components, including blower components and cellular LPWA modules. We have started manufacturing and selling this product in Japan. This product comprises a base unit and a main unit that can be held in one hand. The main unit can be dismounted and carried to outing destinations. Furthermore, we have equipped our cellular LPWA module to the main unit. This has enabled long-distance wireless communication to carrier base stations, allowing the sleep data of patients to be transmitted to the cloud even at outing destinations. Health-care professionals can then remotely monitor this sleep data at any time.

5. Murata Manufacturing’s LPWA Modules

Murata Manufacturing manufactures small and low-power-consumption LPWA modules. We have a lineup of communication modules compliant with each of the LPWA standards used in various countries: LTE CAT. M1 (LTE-M) and NB-IoT for cellular LPWA (licensed band) and LoRaWAN for non-cellular LPWA (unlicensed band).

5.1 Strengths of Murata Manufacturing’s LPWA Modules

The LPWA modules that Murata Manufacturing provides for diverse fields and applications in various places around the world have the following strengths and features.

・Small and High-quality

Our LPWA modules realize a 50% reduction in size compared to conventional products. We have achieved that by manufacturing the modules with advanced manufacturing technologies and quality control built up over many years using components we have developed and manufactured in-house and strong partnerships with market-leading IC manufacturers. It is also effective to equip these LPWA modules to wearable devices. Our modules are being used in diverse applications in various countries and regions around the world because they combine the world’s smallest-class compactness with stability and high reliability as well as offering a stable supply.

・Enhanced Support Structure

In addition to proposing LPWA modules suitable for applications, we have set up a support structure in line with our customer needs. This includes radio law certification in each country and connectivity verification. It also covers dealing with inquiries about cooperation with carriers in the use of the licensed band due to the introduction of cellular LPWA modules.

5.2 LPWA Module Lineup

Murata Manufacturing manufactures and sells cellular LPWA modules compatible with both LTE CAT. M1 (LTE-M) and NB-IoT and non-cellular LPWA modules compatible with LoRaWAN. We have a lineup of communication modules compliant with each of the LPWA standards used in various countries.

Cellular LPWA Modules

We have a lineup of cellular LPWA modules compatible with both the licensed band standards of LTE CAT. M1 (LTE-M) suitable for communication while moving and NB-IoT suitable for communication in devices used after being fixed in place.

・Cellular LPWA Module Type 1SC (LBAD0XX1SC)

Image of Cellular LPWA Module Type 1SC (LBAD0XX1SC) 


This is the world’s smallest in size LTE Cat. M1 (LTE-M) and NB-IoT module with global certification. It supports GPS/GNSS, Open MCU, and iSIM. It is capable of providing MVNO network communication via eSIM in partnership with Truphone.    
Type 1SC (LBAD0XX1SC)|LPWA Products

We also have available a Type 1SC evaluation kit to enable you to conduct operation, characteristics, and application tests before introducing multiple cellular LPWA modules.

・Cellular LPWA Module Type 1SE (LBAD0ZZ1SE)

Image of Cellular LPWA Module Type 1SE (LBAD0ZZ1SE) 


This is an LTE Cat. M1 (LTE-M) and NB-IoT module. It complies with certification in Japan and supports Truphone eSIM.   
Type 1SE (LBAD0ZZ1SE)|LPWA Products

You can obtain the STMicro Discovery Kit from one of our business partners, STMicroelectronics NV. This is an evaluation kit that allows you to confirm the operation and characteristics of Type1SE LPWA modules.

・Cellular LPWA Module Sample

We have available Type 1SC/1SE module samples. Please click here to contact us for details.

Non-cellular LPWA Modules

We have a lineup of LPWA modules compatible with LoRaWAN, which is widely supported because of its outstanding specifications in terms of the balance of communication speed  and communication distance among the many non-cellular LPWA standards.

・Non-cellular LPWA Module Type ABZ (CMWX1ZZABZ)

Image of Non-cellular LPWA Module Type ABZ (CMWX1ZZABZ) 


This is a non-cellular LPWA module compatible with the LoRaWAN standard, which does not require a license. Having acquired radio law certification in major regions, this module operates in many regions and carrier networks around the world.  

Index: Basics

1. What Is LPWA?

2. Two Features of LPWA

2.1 Features of LPWA (1): Low Power Consumption

2.2 Features of LPWA (2): Long-distance Wireless Communication

3. LPWA Types and Standards

3.1 LPWA Types: Cellular LPWA and Non-cellular LPWA

3.2 Cellular LPWA and Non-cellular LPWA Standards

3.3 Cellular LPWA and Non-cellular LPWA Specifications Comparison

Column: Arrival of LPWA

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