Open Source LoRa CSS PHY Implementation: gr-lora

ID N0WHERE:171673
Type n0where
Reporter N0where
Modified 2017-06-05T19:41:31


Open Source LoRa CSS PHY Implementation

LoRa is a wireless LPWAN PHY that is developed and maintained by Semtech. It is designed to provide long range, low data rate connectivity to IoT-focused devices. A reasonable analogy is that LoRa is like cellular data service, but optimized for embedded devices.

LoRa uses a unique CSS modulation that modulates data onto chirps. For resiliency it uses a multi-stage encoding pipeline that includes Hamming FEC, interleaving, data whitening, and gray encoding of symbols.

Since LoRa is closed-source, developers and security researchers have been limited to interacting with it via Layer 2+ protocols and APIs exposed through integrated circuits. However, the security of the PHY layer cannot be taken for granted: numerous powerful 802.15.4 attacks exploit its PHY layer to inject and mask malicious traffic in ways that are invisible to higher layers. Our hope is that this module will empower developers and researchers alike to explore this nascent protocol and make it more secure.


Modulation and encoding stages are modeled as separate blocks to allow for modularity. The asynchronous PDU interface is used to pass messages to/from the encoder/decoder and between encoding and modulating stages. A good way to interface with the blocks is to use a Socket PDU block configured as a UDP Server, which can be written to like any other socket via nc -u [IP] [PORT] .

The modulator and demodulator blocks do not resample or channelize input/output IQ streams; they expect to be provided a stream that is channelized to the bandwidth of the modulation.


  • Spreading Factor: Number of bits per symbol, typically [6:12].
  • Code Rate / # Parity Bits: Order of the Hamming FEC used. The number of data bits per codeword is always 4, but the number of parity bits can range from [1:4].
  • Header: Whether frames produced/consumed by the frame will contain the 8-symbol header.
  • FFT Window Beta: Controls the shape of the Kaiser windowing curve that is applied to the FFT input IQ.
  • FFT Size Factor: Multiplier applied to the width/number of bins of the FFT. A multiplier of 1 yields 2spreading_factor bins, the minimum number required by the modulation. Received symbols are divided down to map within the valid range of [0:(2sf)-1]. Initial experimentation reveals 2 yields good performance.


git clone git://
cd gr-lora
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig


Example flowgraphs are provided in the examples/ directory. Socket PDUs are used as the primary input interface. Socket PDUs configured as UDP Servers may be connected to via: $ nc -u localhost 52001

Open Source LoRa CSS PHY Implementation: gr-lora presentation

Open Source LoRa CSS PHY Implementation: gr-lora Download