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Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA)..

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to be the next revolution in the mobile. Ecosystem. Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) technology is enabling the next big jump towards a connected world and IoT. LPWA networks are designed for IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications that have low data rates, require long battery life and optimized cost, and operate in remote and hard to reach locations. They will be easy to implement and deploy, and serve a number of vertical markets such as manufacturing, wearables, utilities and transport.

Mobile IoT networks are based on 4G LTE networks that have already been deployed by mobile operators, so offer exceptional coverage and quality across large urban areas. Because the networks are already deployed, the cost to connect to them is very low – there is no need to procure and manage network hardware beyond the device itself as all the infrastructure is already in place. LPWA IoT devices to gain market share from short-range connectivity standards and wireless sensor networks like ZigBee, BT LE and WiFi

Why we required LPWA?

Many cities suffer from issues such as traffic congestion, air pollution, high asset maintenance costs and creating a safe environment in which to live and work. In order to solve these issues, sensors are typically used to monitor the environment, control assets remotely and collect data for the city to analyse and act upon. Once these sensors are in place, intelligent decisions based on the data retrieved can be made, and efficiency savings can be introduced.

The key feature of cellular IoT to enable these services and to compete with non-cellular technologies are:

  • Very low power consumption
  • Long battery life
  • Low device cost
  • Low deployment cost
  • Full coverage
  • Operate in licensed spectrum so are reliable and secure
  • Support for a massive number of devices
  • Secure connectivity and support for authentication

Types of LPWA IoT –

There are two different types of Mobile IoT network – NB-IoT and LTE-M. Both of these are standardized, LTE based technologies that offer common attributes, and maintain the same ethos of being designed specifically for IoT connections. Both network technologies are available today.

NB-IoT (Narrow Band – IoT)

NB-IoT offers the essential elements of 4G mobile networks, re-scoped specifically for IoT connections, ensuring that the network is both future-proofed and cost-effective. NB-IoT is optimised for small sized messages that are transmitted over long distances on an infrequent or regularly scheduled basis. The devices are designed to go to sleep for extended periods so that battery power can be maximised over a period of years. As NB-IoT is based on 4G LTE networks, it uses the same infrastructure and pared down designs of the same modules and other equipment needed to connect to the network. Access to the network works the same way as with 4G LTE networks, and so allows for secure, encrypted joining of the network and transmission of data.

Additionally, from a performance point of view, NB-IOT guarantees 20+dB coverage, ~1000x connections, ~10 years using only 200 KHZ bandwidth whereas the other technologies like eMTC, SigFox offers far less in terms of performance.

  • NB LTE-M deployment (200 kHz)

LTE-M (Long Term Evolution)

LTE-M is another technology designed for IoT, and based on existing 4G networks. It offers a lower cost than 4G itself, as the chipsets are less complex and cheaper to manufacture. It is also optimised for low power consumption and small size message transfer typical of IoT connections. LTE-M allows connections to move between different locations, offers bandwidth for complex interactions and updates, and has some other advanced functionality LTE-M is again an optimised version of 4G LTE and uses the mobile network operators existing 4G network, so all of the infrastructure needed to support IoT deployments across an urban area are already in place.

  • LTE-M deployment (1.4 MHz)

Where we are used LPWA?

  • Smart metering (electricity, gas and water)
  • Facility management services
  • Intruder alarms & fire alarms for homes & commercial properties
  • Connected personal appliances measuring health parameters
  • Tracking of persons, animals or objects
  • Smart city infrastructure such as street lamps or dustbins
  • Connected industrial appliances such as welding machines or air compressors

the Internet of Things –IoT–has moved from fiction to reality. By 2020, there will beover 14 billion network-enabled devices, according to the International Energy Agency. This compares to approximately 3.2 billion people using the internet. IoT dramatically widens the internet’s scope from people-operated computers towards autonomous smart devices.

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