BLE 5 or LoRa

I currently have a hobby product that reads sensors and turns on/off relays based on that sensor input. I've got an nRF52840 that sits on individual sensors and relays, and I have a Gateway (nRF52840 Express + ESP32 AirLift) that syncs information to the cloud and coordinates the relays/sensors.

All of my products sit outside (including the gateway) and run off of battery. I really like the BLE 5.0 spec, and I haven't even added an external antenna to my projects yet (I use the Raytac variant with the ceramic antenna). I get OK range, but with an outdoor project it'd be nice to get more range.

I've been recently looking into LoRa, and well... I'm trying to figure out where BLE 5 fits now. If the goal is a low-power, battery operated project that transmits data every 20m or so in an outdoor environment, is BLE 5 really the right choice for me? My product right now will last for years off of 1 AA battery (solar recharged LiFePO4), and I think I could achieve decent results with LoRa and have long range. I'm somewhat new to the hardware world (I'm software engineer), and so I'm trying to figure out what are the real advantages to BLE 5 vs LoRa in my particular scenario.

Is it cost? Development time? Is BLE really more useful for higher bandwidth applications in comparison to LoRa (every 20m or so... possibly up to once a minute)?

I've considered changing my Gateway to use LoRa instead of an ESP32 AirLift (using a Feather Header) just to extend the range of my BLE network; however, I'm not sure if that'd be any better than using LoRa for all of my nodes.

Bluetooth has higher bandwidth and less range than LoRa. It looks like Bluetooth 5 has rather better range than BLE, but still not as much as LoRa. How much range do you need?

An acre or so (small farm). I’ve considered changing my gateway to be BLE 5 + LoRa to extend the BLE network, but I dont really see the benefit over just using all LoRa. The throughput is low (at most once a minute) for sensors and relays; however, there could be 100 of them on a single network.

Over an acre, unless it's a weird shape or has many obstructions, I'd expect Bluetooth 5 to give you the range you need. Obviously you'll need to prove it by walking the farm with a handheld device.

A more major consideration will be transmission collisions between those hundred nodes. You may want to consider having a master node that queries the slaves in turn to avoid that.

If Bluetooth 5 gives you the range you want, why would you ditch it for something else ?

Or are you saying Bluetooth does not actually give you the range you want ?

A more major consideration will be transmission collisions between those hundred nodes. You may want to consider having a master node that queries the slaves in turn to avoid that.

I currently have a gateway that scans for specific advertising nodes. Once it sees a node, it connects to it, reads it, and then writes some values. The execution is serialized. Do you see any collision issues with that?

If Bluetooth 5 gives you the range you want, why would you ditch it for something else ?

I've tried to hook up my project at a local church that has a community garden about 100 feet away. The gateway couldn't reach the nodes inside of the church; however, if I placed it outside it was ok. Right now I'm using a ceramic antenna on all nodes and gateway. My concern is that the cost of an outdoor gateway may be higher than a LoRa indoor gateway (no weather proof enclosure necessary, no solar panel if disconnected, etc.).

I wasn't sure if BLE 5 would be a good choice.

LoRa will have no problem at all covering many times that sort of distance, where as with the Bluetooth it sounds like you need to tinker with antennas etc.

The Things Network did recently introduce the TTN Indoor gateway;

"An 8 channel LoRaWAN indoor gateway at a price of $69"

Bargain really.