Ericsson has launched the ICT industry’s first complete cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) offering, with backing from leading operator AT&T.
Ericsson Networks Software 17A for Massive IoT addresses a comprehensive range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications by supporting millions of IoT device connections per cell site. The new network software introduces narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) to existing LTE network infrastructure, enabling fast rollout of reliable, secure mobile connectivity with low total cost of ownership. Additionally, the network software introduces power-saving functionality for NB-IoT and LTE-M, allowing for more than 10-year device battery lifetime.
NB-IoT, LTE Machine-type Communication (LTE-M) and the previously launched Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) are complementary and address the diversity of LPWA IoT use case requirements and deployment scenarios while making best use of existing networks.
Cellular IoT has a compelling evolution path, flexible enough to handle the diverse range of use cases that support both consumer and industrial applications
Ericsson is driving the enhancement and standardization of new cellular IoT technologies in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the industry body covering cellular telecommunications network technologies. Ericsson was a key contributor to NB-IoT technology and works proactively with ecosystem partners and operators to accelerate the pace of commercialization of advanced cellular IoT solutions.
According to the latest Ericsson Mobility report, 75 percent of the world’s population will be covered by LTE networks by 2021. LTE is already especially well-suited to supporting very high-capacity, low-latency applications. Requirements for lower power, cost and complexity supported by NB-IoT and LTE-M will scale cellular technologies to connect a much wider variation of use cases.
EC-GSM serves IoT applications for all GSM markets. LTE-M supports a broad range of rich IoT applications such as wearables, location-based child-tracker services, and eHealth health care apps like continuous blood pressure monitoring. And the newly defined category NB-IoT covers ultra-low-end IoT applications such as metering and sensor monitoring with greater cost and coverage advantages than LTE-M.
NB-IoT scales LTE to connect a much wider variety of use cases and has flexible deployment options, using a dedicated carrier (200 kHz) that can be deployed in-band of LTE, in a guard band or stand alone. Each NB-IoT carrier can support up to 200,000 connections, which can be easily scaled up by adding more carriers as capacity requires, for millions of IoT connections per cell site.
These new additions continue to cut device cost even further while improving on over 10 years of battery life and extending coverage, with NB-IoT delivering a 20 dB advantage over existing solutions.
LTE provides efficient and flexible options for IoT, scaling both up and down to serve a broad range of uses
A globe-spanning network for the IoT is already in place and standardization will enable the scale needed for billions more connections. Using the same underlying radio solution reduces operational and fault management effort and complexity.
Cellular technologies are uniquely positioned in the IoT market to leverage on the advantages of global reach, Quality of Service, security, scalability and total cost of ownership.
With LTE-M and NB-IoT, cellular IoT is continuing to evolve, with new ultra-low complexity, low-cost device categories like NB-IoT, battery-saving features like Extended Long DRX and the Extended Coverage feature for NB-IoT, also new to Network Software 17A, which will be commercially available during Q4 2016:
- Extended Coverage for NB-IoT delivers up to seven times better coverage to reach remote and deep indoor areas for applications such as vehicle tracking in underground parking lots or smart metering in basements. This comes from an up-to 20 dB coverage improvement with NB-IoT devices.
- Extended Long DRX enables 10-plus years of battery life for LTE-M and NB-IoT while maintaining the downlink reachability required by use cases such as machinery industrial process monitoring and control or home automation.
Operator trials of cellular LPWA solutions will continue in 2016, focused on live network testing of IoT use case scenarios. Ericsson will also feature Cellular IoT demonstrations at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) event, held January 6 to January 9, 2016 in Las Vegas, US. Use cases include connected scooters/bikes, smart metering and grid management, water quality monitoring, smart agriculture and wearables.