LoRa vs xBee for a cheap (flood) mesh network without Internet access?

I am developing a town network for rural areas able to cover long range distances using strategically-positioned solar powered LoRa nodes acting as gateways/repeaters with a mesh flood structure and no internet connection. I was inspired by the disaster radio project, even though their usage of BLE/WiFi for node-gateway connection doesn’t fit my specific needs requiring extra repeaters to cover up for WiFi limited range. I got a municipality permit to increase TX power up to 1W and the duty cycle for the tests. The ultimate aim is to implement both sensor data TX/RX and PTT voice, using voice encoding algorithms (Codec2) with a reasonable 7kbps data rate.

LoRa 1W modules are half duplex and claim to have 6 miles range. Placing repeater cells at around 5 miles from each other, the coverage should be quite even. Yet, being single channel, multiple transmissions are impossible and the network is subject to a persistent “echo”.

Now, it seems a xBee mesh could be a better alternative to LoRa. Some xBee pro 900 modules can reach up to 26 miles in line of sight and natively support full duplex.

submitted by /u/defineNothing
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Original article: LoRa vs xBee for a cheap (flood) mesh network without Internet access?
Author: /u/defineNothing