No Permission Required - Founders’ Letter

Wienke Giezeman

Initiator of The Things Network

Posted on 22-05-2017

One and a half years ago we started on a mission: to cover the entire world with an open and decentralized Internet of Things data network. Thanks to you, The Things Network is now active in more than 400 cities across 84 countries. Why? Because there is no permission required. The network is open and everyone is free to contribute, use it, and build on top of it.


We want to share the future of The Things Network with you. The future of how we are moving towards a more reliable, resilient and a robust platform, based on distributed and decentralized principles. We want to answer pressing questions like:

  • Can I get a Service Level Agreement on The Things Network?
    Yes, you can now build QoS networks by taking control over the hosting of the backend.
  • Can I run The Things Network privately on my own servers?
    Yes, our open source software is able to run on your own server.
  • Can I setup end-to-end-encryption for my application?
    Yes, you can now add software to your application so you can fully leverage the end-to-end security of LoRaWAN.
  • Can I run my business on The Things Network?
    Yes, the more value we create on the network the better.
  • Can I use enterprise class features?
    Yes, including features like multicast, OTA firmware updates, monitoring & alerting etc.
  • How do you guys make money?
    The Things Network is now sponsored by our business The Things Industries which provides an enterprise grade network server, hosting and support. We invite you to build your business on top of The Things Network as we are building a broader ecosystem that can make the network more sustainable.

Just over one and a half years ago, we initiated The Things Network in Amsterdam and made the infrastructure not only open source, but also publicly available with no charge to the community. This inspired Internet of Things communities around the world to launch their own local chapter of The Things Network. Together, over a thousand gateways have been connected and another 1500 crowdfunded Kickstarter gateways will be shipped soon.

All the above questions comes down to one core question:

How do we build reliable applications on The Things Network?

Our current infrastructure is great for developing and experimenting with the Internet of Things. These experiments have resulted in various working products and new businesses. This created a demand for enterprise grade services which you can build your production applications on. You should be able to run these services yourself using open source software or by outsourcing the capability to a service provider. Following our open principles, it should not tie you to a single party or organisation for your Internet of Things connectivity.

Our new architecture allows you to run the routing services yourself. By doing so, you are in control of the quality of service and level of security. Above all, you can still contribute to and leverage the global community network, by opting in for network collaboration from the network server. All of this completely secure and end-to-end encrypted, leading to a higher level of decentralization and distribution. This way more parties besides The Things Network organisation will support the network’s backend, which will result in a more sustainable model.

We invite you to join us in the next chapter of The Things Network. Let’s cover the world with an open and decentralized Internet of Things data network!

More information and details can be found in the followup articles below:

We will be hosting an AMA webinar on May 29th 2017. If you have any questions or want to know more, join the session here


You are the network, let's build this thing together!