Kerlink is French company founded back in 2004. When it started offering M2M products and solutions, and currently it is focused on offering end-to-end LoRaWAN connectivity solutions. LoRaWAN is LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology built on top of Semtech’s chips that is low power, long range, fully bidirectional, has native geolocation, deep indoor penetration, is secure, cost efficient uses a free unlicensed band and is an open standard. More about LoRa in my previous comparison LoRa vs SigFox. Kerlink is co-founder of the LoRa alliance which puts them in a good position to be on the very edge of standard development. Actually, Kerlink has released the first LoRa Gateway on the market, The Wigrid Station. Kerlink is not a big company with annual sales of up to 25 million Euro, but they have managed to make a name for themselves and to sell their solutions in more than 69 countries.
Apart from IoT connectivity Kerlink offers network-based geolocation, remote end-device management and low-power IoT reference design.
Infrastructure – Gateways
Kerlinks main offerings are LoRa Gateways with the brand name Wirnet. Gateways can connect tens of thousands of sensor end-devices and can process millions of messages daily. Kerlink gateways have embedded packet forwarders that send packets via backhaul (which can be Ethernet/WiFi/cellular) to LNS (LoRaWAN network server) which is part of the Kerlink Wanesy Management Center solution. Gateways are very important for quality of the radio network since they are key for network coverage, performance, up-time and reliability.
Kerlink offers two outdoor gateways. The first is Wirnet iBTS that supports up to 64 channels and the second is Wirnet station that is more cost effective and supports 9 channels. Kerlink also offers one indoor gateway Wirnet iFemtoCell that also supports 9 channels, has a smaller range but also has embedded light variant of Wanesy Management Center called SPN that can handle up to 25 gateways.
Network operations – Wanesy Management center
Kerlink offers all-in-one core solution called Wanesy Management Center that is used for Operating Support System (OSS), Base Station Controller (BSC), Network Radio Network Controller (RNC), and LoRaWAN Network Server (LNS). Wanesy can be hosted in the cloud or deployed in the operator premises.
The LNS processes packets received from multiple gateways and directs them to the application servers. Operations Support System (OSS) is used for deploying and operating the network, managing or troubleshoot the gateways, configuring them and to grant the requested network QoS. Base Stations Controller (BSC) is used to remotely operate the gateways (settings, alerts firmware and application update, security, integrity). Radio Network Controller (RNC) monitors and optimizes radio performances of the entire network: frequencies, spectrum, coverage, power, load.
Wanesy geolocation solution can also be used for geolocation without the GPS but which is great due to much smaller power consumption, but there are some drawbacks in terms of poor support for fast moving objects or less precise localization when compared to the GPS. LoRa geolocation technology is based on trilateration, relying on three or more LoRaWAN gateways receiving precise time-stamped signals.
Customers, verticals and solutions
Since Kerlink offers only end-to-end connectivity solutions their main customers are public and private telecom operators. Private operators can be bigger companies, industrial companies, cities and administrations. Kerlink also works with channel partners to increase their footprint on the market.
Kerlink started doing business in fleet management, smart metering and transportation & logistics verticals. However, their network solutions are nowadays used across additional verticals like smart agriculture & environment, smart cities, building & facilities, industry and asset tracking. Some use cases can be found here: https://www.kerlink.com/customers-usecases/use-cases/
I would briefly conclude that Kerlink is definitely an interesting company with good portfolio of LoRaWAN connectivity solutions. It would probably make sense if they would expand to cellular LPWAN connectivity. Spreading to sensors or platforms probably doesn’t make sense. For any suggestions, comments and suggestions please contact me via nikola@simpleIoT.eu.