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Master theses

Current and past ideas and concepts for Master Theses.

Investigation and Performance analysis of the LoRaWAN Medium Access Control (MAC) in the Internet Protocol-based multi-hop Long Range networks.


New Long-Range, low-power and low-bitrate radio technologies have recently emerged in the IoT landscape. The networks that use these technologies are known as Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs).
LoRa is a popular LPWAN technology that, at physical layer, offers good resistance against interference and Doppler effects thanks to its Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS) modulation scheme a proprietary solution patented by Semtech. It uses the 868MHz ISM band (in Europe) which has some regulatory constraints. The most important one being the 1% duty cycle imposed on the transmitter activity time. One of the most attractive features of LoRa is that it offers a trade-off between throughput and sensitivity by tuning the Spreading Factor (SF): the higher the SF, the higher the sensitivity but the lower the throughput. Therefore, the technology can offer an efficient communication over long distances, ranging from hundreds of meters to tens of kilometers. In our research group, an open-source implementation (based on the ContikiOS - Contiki) has been proposed in order to simplify the development of IPv6-based applications for platforms featuring such a radio technology. However, instead of using the LoRaWAN MAC frame, we use the IEEE 802.15.4 MAC frame (ZIGBEE MAC layer), which is the default one in Contiki, to encapsulate upper layer packets, both data and control ones. To extend the use of our implementation for enabling potential opportunities and use cases for WSNs, as well as opening exciting new research topics of LoRa technology, we would like to integrate LoRaWAN MAC into Contiki.
Doing in this way, a LoRa mote can use the commands that are only provided by LoRa MAC. The commands are to ask for joining a LoRa network enable using confirmable LoRa packets and change its communication configuration parameters, e.g. SF, channel, etc.

Kind of work

There are several tasks in this research:
1) LoRaWAN MAC implementation. Since the original code of LoRaWAN is provided by the company Semtech, this task is to adapt that code to Contiki, and make it work smoothly with the existing implementation of the IoT protocol stack for a one-hop LoRa network as the traditional LoRaWAN.
2) Adjusting the MAC implementation to operate in multi-hop networks.
3) Investigating the existing implementation of the Routing Protocol for Low-power and Lossy Networks (RPL) in Contiki and optimizing the MAC implementation for reducing its complexity and redundancy.
4) Validate the MAC implementation and analysis its performance in simulation (Cooja) and real test-bed environments

Framework of the Thesis

This thesis is proposed in the context of the current IoT projects (EU projects and collaboration with Industry) of the smartnets group.

Number of Students


Expected Student Profile

- Programming skills in C, a scripting language (e.g. Linux shell scripting, Python) and Javascript. The knowledge of C must be enough to create/modify applications in ContikiOS and to modify the operating system itself. The knowledge of a scripting language is necessary to create/modify scripts to automate simulations and process simulation results. The knowledge of Javascript is necessary to modify simulation scripts for COOJA (.csc extension) to get the necessary information out of simulations using the simulator without the graphical user interface.
- Basic knowledge of IP networking and link-layer communication in wireless networks.
- An adventurous spirit to perform tests on a real testbed.


Prof. Dr. Ir. Kris Steenhaut

+32 (0)2 629 2977

more info


Ir. Benjamin Sartori

+32 (0)2 629 2930

more info

Mr. Long Nguyen

+32 (0)2 629 2906

more info

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