Is a NetID required for a private LoRaWAN network? What does it cost?

Out of curiosity, if I wanted to set up a private LoRaWAN network (possibly using the TTN or another open source backend), not affiliated with TTN, would I require a NetID from the LoRa Alliance?

In the following document by the LoRa Alliance, it states that in order to request a NetID, the network operator “must be a Founding, Sponsor, or Contributor member of the Lora Alliance”:

In another document, by, the following is written:

“A recent policy announced by the LoRa Alliance is that anyone operating a LoRaWAN network needs to be granted a NetID by the Alliance. Since these are only available to Contributor members and above, be sure to budget $20,000 / year for the privilege of using LoRaWAN.”

Is this really true, or are they just scaring people into using their competing Symphony Link product? Or is requesting this LoRaWAN NetID only required to set up some kind of “certified” network? (or perhaps it relates to using their software, rather than open source options?) If it’s not required, can you simply use a random ID of your own choosing (after checking nobody else is already using it in your area).

Probably using the TTN is a better idea anyway, but I’m just curious about the options of a private network.

Thank you!

Hmm, after some more searching, I found several sources (although I still haven’t found an official source) stating that for public LoRaWAN networks, the sync word or preamble (register 0x39 in the SX1276) is set to 0x34, while for private networks this is set to 0x12. In addition, only public networks need a NetID (NwkId) which you’d have to obtain from the LoRa Alliance.

See for example the following:

“A LoRaWAN network has a short network identifier (“NwkID”) which is a seven bit value. A private network (common for LoRaWAN) can use the value zero. If a network wishes to support “foreign” end-devices then the NwkID needs to be registered with the LoRA Alliance, in which case the NwkID is the seven least significant bits of a registered 24-bit NetID. (Note however, that the methods for “roaming” are currently being enhanced within the LoRA Alliance, so the situation here is somewhat fluid.)”

Taken from:

And this: “There are two kind of LoRa networks: private (with preamble 0x12) and public (with preamble 0x34). The norm is to use public.” (

This Microchip datasheet also mentions the public/private sync word difference: 40001847A.pdf

I didn’t really find any unambiguous “official” information about this, e.g. straight from the Lora Alliance, but I guess it’s safe to assume that a private network wouldn’t require a NetID, nor a $20000 membership fee :slight_smile:

Hi @niek , I had the same questions and got some clarifications by reading this discussion on LinkedIn:

Search for $20,000 in the long but very interesting discussion! After the discussion, Link Labs seems to have edited the article you refer to: “Operating a network does not require a network ID from the LoRa Alliance. A recent policy announced by the LoRa Alliance is that anyone operating a public LoRaWAN network needs to be granted a NetID by the Alliance”

My understanding is you don’t need a NetID for private networks, and a registered NetID is needed for public networks to support roaming.

Not clear to me if a public network that does not need to support roaming needs to have a registred NetID , or if that would be considered a private network!

Would like to hear experts’ opinion on this!
Maybe @johan can clarify please?

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I think this is true.

A NetID allows you to issue DevAddrs your “own” range, allowing for early exit in routing. If you don’t have a NetID, you’re supposed to use 0 or 1 for testing, but everybody is doing that. This means that your network needs to check your database to see if it knows the device, and if so, doing a MIC check to see if you have the network session key.

There’s not really a functional difference between private and public networks. For roaming, you’ll need a NetID. A NetID allocation requires Contributor membership with the LoRa Alliance.

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A NetID is indeed not required for a private network, but a private network is required to use a different sync word than a public network

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Don’t they lack the authority to enforce this policy? :slight_smile:

Never underestimate the reach of Semtech’s lawyers that’s all I’m going to say!

Do you see any mention of private or public networks? Just strictly follow Semtech’s recommendation - do use 0x34 for sync word :wink: And let Lora Alliance to sue Semtech :slight_smile:

Do you still think they are so dangerous? :slight_smile:

It is still there :neutral_face:

Well they own LoRa trademark too so “LoRaWAN” is just being extra careful.

Plus they own the patent rights:

“The information within this document is the property of the LoRa Alliance (―The Alliance) and its use and disclosure are subject to LoRa Alliance Corporate Bylaws, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy and Membership Agreements.”

Just reading he spec commits you to these terms. It wouldn’t surprise me if they make Alliance membership a legal requirement for companies making LoRaWAN devices.

Just reading he spec commits you to these terms.

Semtech’s code for both end-node stack and gateway is BSD-licensed. Just use it and do not read the specs :slight_smile:

It wouldn’t surprise me if they make Alliance membership a legal requirement for companies making LoRaWAN devices.

It would really surprise Semtech’s sales people. LoRa generates just 20 to 30 millions/year in revenue (not profit) for Semtech, which is almost nothing for a technology pretending to be a ruler of the World, and sales persons are trying hard to sell yet one more fistful of SX127X.

And, well, you may experience any fear you prefer. But right now it seems that in most jurisdictions nothing prevents you from using any sync word and any network id.

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