The figure below shows a simplified representation of a LoRaWAN network architecture.
LoRaWAN radio gateway
The Radio Gateway forwards all received LoRaWAN radio packets to the Network Server that is connected through an IP backbone. The Radio Gateway operates entirely at the physical layer. Its role is simply to decode uplink radio packets from the air and forward them unprocessed to the Network Server. For downlinks, the Radio Gateway simply executes transmission requests coming from the Network Server without any interpretation of the payload.
LoRaWAN network server
The Network Server terminates the LoRaWAN layer for the End-Devices connected to the network. It is the center of the star topology. Some of the functions of the network server are:
LoRaWAN application server
Application Server handles all the application layer payloads from the End-Devices. It also generates all the application layer downlink payloads towards the connected End-Devices.
LoRaWAN join server
The Join Server manages the Over-the-Air (OTA) End-Device activation process.
Detailed information, not necessary to complete this workshop: for a deeper introduction to LoRaWAN, please review chapters 1-3 of LoRa Alliance’s What is LoRaWAN document.