Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network Field Area Networks (Wi-SUN FAN)– Let’s talk more!

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4Q 2021 | IN-6369

Wi-SUN FAN promises a more interoperable network for Smart Cities and utilities.

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Smart Energy and More


Nowadays, the always developing metering control and energy monitoring systems are one of the top critical technologies, deployed in forward-looking utilities and cities. Communities across the globe are also implementing strategies to improve internet-based control. Still, there are also several scenarios for the utility companies and municipalities on their way to energy optimization and monitoring.

The current market includes various open standards that cover a wide range of industries. With the selection of open standards, companies are able to avoid the vendor lock-in scenario, where their development depends on a single-owned link in a supply chain. Undoubtedly, the emerging wireless protocols vary. However, those that are remarkable to Smart Cities and utility companies with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are Low-Power Wide Area Networking (LoRaWAN), Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT (LTE Cat-NB)), and Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network Field Area Networks (Wi-SUN FAN).

Scoping and Making New Tech


These solutions can be compared by:

  • LoRaWAN is a specification based on long-range low-power (LoRa) radio design under Semtech ownership, which means that it is not entirely open. Up to now, Semtech has particularly supported narrow connections with its intellectual property. For future development, this anticipates the idea that companies will be dependent on Semtech’s longevity. Even though LoRaWAN has a wide range of suppliers in its ecosystem, they still have different approaches, which can be determined as inability of the devices and equipment to be entirely interoperable.
  • NB-IoT (LTE Cat-NB) currently is supported by around 88 Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in 50 countries, with huge variance in population and geographic coverage. NB-IoT can be expanded in the guard band of an MNO’s spectrum allocation, so that it is possible to overlay NB-IoT on the already established LTE network. Nevertheless, it is a choice of network operators whether to deploy NB-IoT, so the entire coverage also depends on operators. Business owners also cannot expand isolated NB-IoT, so the lifecycle of protocol entirely influences the future of its availability.
  • Wi-SUN FAN: “Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network Field Area Networks (Wi-SUN FAN) is an open specification based on the IEEE 802.15.4g specification, as well as other IEEE 802 and IETF standards” (Wi-Sun Alliance). Wi-Sun FAN is widely deployed in utilities and smart cities and allows devices like smart meters to be merged into a large-scale IoT network. Wi-SUN FAN-supported devices and systems at present are spread among a great array of vendors and applications like asset management, environmental control, and more. It is self-forming, and all new devices can be added to a network easily. Moreover, Wi-SUN FAN is self-healing, which means that if a pathway drops, the gateways will immediately intake the rerouted network. Wi-SUN FAN indeed has more advanced throughput than LoRaWAN and NB-IoT since it provides the ability to give immediate responsiveness and reduces network latency in monitoring applications.

Whether the application has rare communication demand or LoRaWAN and NB-IoT are adapted to metering applications, there are still questions about their scalability and further updates. On the other hand, Wi-SUN allows its network to scale in capacity and size, enclosing the future applications with the ability to intake great amounts of data. Wi-SUN also focuses on interoperability that gives device manufacturers the aptitude to improve their exact business models and to avoid the creation of complicated network infrastructures. This model has built the whole ecosystem of interchangeable components made by different manufacturers. For the market, this means that network owners can choose a suitable manufacturer for their exact case. With multi-vendor support, even devices from mixed manufacturers are now able to operate with each other through the same certification.

Ecosystem and Future Development


The Wi-Sun Alliance was founded in 2011 and currently includes more than 300 companies, among which are ABB, Analog Devices, Cisco, Honeywell, Itron, Landis + GYR, NXP, Omron, Panasonic, Renesas, ROHM, Schneider Electric, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and more. The Wi-SUN Alliance mission is to develop collaboration for Smart Cities and Utilities Communications Network Interoperability, enlarge the Wi-SUN Ecosystem, and to remain the biggest proven IoT Network.