ON World

LTE NB1 Crashes the LPWAN Party

San Diego, California, November 9, 2016— Cities have numerous networking challenges for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) offering compelling advantages, according to a recently published study by ON World.

“Cities are starting to consider significant investments in IoT technologies as carrier standards efforts such as 3GPP’s Release 13 are in place along with a rapidly growing ecosystem,” says Jeff Kreegar, ON World’s chief technologist.  “This presents a growing threat to other LPWAN technologies such as LoRa, SigFox and RPMA that have networks rolling out in hundreds of cities using unlicensed spectrum.”

3GPP Release 13 is a major standards achievement for intelligent city networks.  Mobile carriers are now entering the IoT ecosystem using their existing and enormous LTE infrastructure.  One option is LTE-M1 that supports two-way communications of up to 1 Mbps for battery powered nodes with a new power saving mode.  The second, longer term option is Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), also called LTE-NB1, that provides carriers with long range, low node power, large node gateway densities with fast time to market capabilities by using existing LTE infrastructure.  LTE-NB1 will be deployed in-band and with unused resource blocks within a LTE carrier’s guard-band as well as standalone for dedicated spectrum deployments.

The first LTE-M1 chips and modules have been announced by Altair, Link Labs, Sequans, Sierra Wireless, Telit and u-Blox.  Telit also has announced a LTE-NB1 module for the European market.  Both AT&T and Verizon are planning widespread commercial availability of LTE-M1 by 2017.  LTE-NB1 commercial networks and devices are targeted for 2018 and pilots are underway by Vodafone, Huawei and others.

One of the limitations of 3GPP Release 13 of LTE-NB1 is that it does not support multicasting and that means over-the-air firmware/security updates is still a few years off.  This will slow smart city adoption because IoT device makers and network operators will not want to assume the liability or pay for “truck rolls” to update deployed devices.   

ON World’s recently published study includes several network tests on smart city IoT applications using LPWAN gateways and end nodes with some interesting results on their network range, power consumption and network performance.  In one test, all tested LPWAN technologies had close to 99.9% system throughput in networks with up to 50,000 nodes.  In other tests, all could achieve multi-year battery lifetimes with multi-mile transmissions and sampling rates of 1 per hour.

ON World welcomes feedback on its “Smart Cities LPWAN Ecosystem,” study and contributors will receive a free copy.

About ON World:
ON World (http://www.onworld.com) provides global business intelligence on Internet of Things markets.

About ON World:
ON World provides business intelligence on Internet of Things markets. Our market research is used by Fortune 1000 companies, startups and investors worldwide.

Media contact:
Mary Purvis
e: purvis at onworld.com
ph: 858-259-2397

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