While cellular-based Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are still being finalized in the standards process, non-cellular solutions like those promoted by Ingenu, Sigfox and members of the LoRa Alliance are catching a bit of a break.These companies and others are expanding their low power wide area network (LPWAN) technologies, and they’ve had time on their side. France’s Sigfox aims to install networks in 100 U.S. cities by the end of this year. Ingenu is expected to cover at least 30 metro areas with its Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) by the end of 2016. They can enjoy their time in the sun while wireless operators and their partners ramp up LTE-based systems that will compete with them. That’s in part because unlike proprietary technologies, standards require a lot of time to build consensus and develop an ecosystem.
Telit’s LE866-SV1 Internet of Things (IoT) LTE Category 1 module has been approved for use on Verizon’s 4G wireless network.The LE866-SV1 is the world’s smallest LTE category 1 IoT module, and Verizon’s 4G is the largest LTE network in the US.The module is about the same size as a thumbnail, and it is ideal for IoT applications with severe space constraints like wearable trackers, health monitoring devices and smart watches.
LTE is the champion for smartphone service, but in the Internet of Things, it’s just starting to become a challenger.On Tuesday, Sequans Communications announced what it called the first chip for LTE Category M, a variant of the global mobile standard that is tuned for low-power IoT gear like utility meters, factory sensors and wearables. The chip, called Monarch, will be ready to go into devices when Category M networks go live late this year or in early 2017, the company said.
Narrowband LTE and LTE-M are a couple of the new versions of the LTE Release 13 standard that are being touted for their ability to make cellular-enabled IoT devices less expensive. In fact, a top AT&T (NYSE: T) executive said that he believes that sub-$5 cellular modules are coming soon thanks to the proliferation of these versions of LTE.”The goal with narrowband-LTE is the sub-$5 modules,” said Chris Penrose, SVP of AT&T Mobility’s IoT Solutions group in an interview with FierceWireless:Tech at the 2016 AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas held earlier this month.
Now that Ericsson has succeeded in pushing its favored technologies into the heart of the 3GPP agenda for low power wide area (LPWA) networks, it has stepped up its efforts to get them into the market, even ahead of full standardization in the next LTE release.In November, it announced projects with Orange to trial both its key cellular technologies, Narrowband IoT and Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM). The former is the solution adopted by the 3GPP for its work on an LTE-based LPWA standard – technically a combination of Ericsson’s NB-LTE and Huawei’s Cellular IoT, in fact insiders indicate that the Swedish firm scored something of a coup and got its approach, which is more backwards compatible than Huawei’s, at the heart of the emerging specifications.
Cellular network software that Ericsson announced at CES may help small, battery-powered devices like smartwatches and pet trackers get online and work longer without a recharge in a few years. It goes by the ungainly name of Ericsson Networks Software 17A for Massive IoT, but it has features for connecting the smallest of devices without making them use up too much power. Many of those will be meters and machines for cities and companies, but some could be long-lasting wearables and consumer gadgets of the future.
New networks being built with far less fanfare than cell towers will connect objects that in some cases have never been linked before, like street lights and traffic signals. The latest, called Starfish, is now debuting in Silicon Valley.Forecast 2016: Security takes center stageAfter a year of high-profile hacks, security is top of mind for tech execs in 2016.READ NOWThe many new dedicated networks for the Internet of Things aren’t as fast as LTE or Wi-Fi, but they’re designed to reach devices across an entire region with lower cost and power consumption. That’s part of the equation that’s supposed to make IoT work.But as a new kind of network, these LPWA (low-power wide area) technologies are still a Wild West of competing vendors and approaches. Take your pick: Ingenu, SigFox, LoRaWAN, NB-LTE and more.
Ericsson will also work with Sequans to test out its Power Saving Mode (PSM) technology over GSM and LTE networks, which could help to extend some devices’ battery life by up to 10 years. The Telco also revealed some basic details about related cellular IoT trials with Ericsson. According to the press release, a key enabler in Orange’s strategy to become a major player in the IoT game is the standardization process at 3GPP of cellular networks and device capability enhancements.
Two new LTE modems have been launched which are designed specifically to improve device connectivity to the IoT.Qualcomm Technologies’ latest model, the MDM9207-1 and MDM9206, will support reliable, optimised cellular connectivity to a growing array of devices and IoT systems, according to the vendor, a subsidiary of chip maker Qualcomm.The MDM9207-1 model is purpose-built for situations where reliable, low power gadgets connect to cloud services. The main application of this modem will be in smart metering, security, asset tracking, wearables, point-of-sale and industrial automation, says the vendor. Among the customisable features this model offers are Category 1 LTE connectivity and features to optimise power and throughput.
Much of the Internet of Things will run on the same networks that smartphones use, cellular giant Verizon says.Despite the prospect of new networks that reach farther than cells and let IoT devices communicate for years on one battery charge, many of the power-sipping networked objects to be deployed in the coming years will use LTE and future 5G cellular systems, a Verizon executive said in an interview Wednesday.Many legacy IoT devices, also called M2M (machine-to-machine), use 2G or 3G networks now. Carriers want to phase those out in the coming years to shift their frequencies over to newer networks.