The Anatomy of a The Things Network Use Case

Wienke Giezeman

Initiator of The Things Network

Posted on 30-09-2016

The Things Network utilizes a new data network technology known as LoRaWAN. The low bandwidth, long range, increased battery life, and low setup hassle make this the perfect technology for an Internet of Things. But what do we do with this network? The possibilities are truly limitless.


The typical use case for The Things Network is a simple structure that innovators can follow to create all sorts of new and helpful technologies. Any The Things Network use case starts simply enough with an object. This object will have a sensor, some degree of logic, and a transceiver. For example, let’s say we have an object with a sensor that detects temperature. Using the programmed logic, say when the temperature is higher than 21 degrees, the object will send out a signal.

This signal will then be received by a gateway, where it will be transformed into a package. This package will then be sent to The Things Network routing services. The routing services will ensure that the package is securely delivered to the application to which it belongs. At this point the message can be processed, stored, and utilized by the application in whatever means necessary.

While this may sound a bit complicated it breaks down to a simple flow of information: Thing, to physical network, to virtual network, and finally to an application. To help clarify, we'll now look at a typical use case example.

First we start with an object, for this example our object will be a mouse trap. We now make our mouse trap smart by adding a sensor and piece of logic to it. The logic for our mouse trap will be to send a signal when the trap is triggered. Once this happens our smart mousetrap sends a message through the transceiver to a gateway, which then transforms and forwards the message to The Things Network routing services. The routing services will securely send the message, that the mouse trap has been triggered, to the application.

In our case the application will belong to the owner, who will now be aware that there is a dead mouse in their building. Staff can then be informed that they need to clean up and reset the trap. Thanks to LoRaWAN technology this is done easily and efficiently.

Our smart mousetrap is one of an endless amount of use cases for this technology. Our object was a mousetrap, but yours could be any number of things. All one needs to do is replace the mouse trap with their own object and brainstorm how connectivity could help their operational process and simply follow these same use case steps. The Things Network is open for everyone to utilize. Now that we understand a typical use case the only thing left to do is put it to work and see what you might discover.