The LoRaWAN part of this Guide is deprecated and is no longer possible! Single-channel packet forwarders no longer work after the Things Network migration to The Things Stack v3. For more information about this decision, visit:


LoRaWAN is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification which allows connection of LoRa devices to the internet. LoRaWAN differs from LoRa by the inclusion of a physical layer.

This may seem confusing, but it's really no different from other types of networks (like cellular), except you can use a gateway (like a cell tower) that you own, or someone else owns and operates, to connect your device to the Internet. 

One gateway can cover a large area, depending on the obstructions (a gateway operated in NYC would have a range of a few hundred kilometers vs thousands of kilometers in the countryside)

Range of LoRaWAN Gateways in Belgium (via

We're going to be connecting our Raspberry Pi to The Things Network, a LoRaWAN network made up of volunteers operating their own gateways, using CircuitPython. 

Want to learn more about The Things Network and CircuitPython? There's a full guide written on the Adafruit Learning System which dives into deeper detail.

This guide was first published on Jan 18, 2019. It was last updated on May 23, 2024.

This page (Sending Data over LoRaWAN) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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