Vodafone Group, Huawei, and u-blox announced that they have
completed what they claim to be the first successful commercial trial of pre-standard
narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) using cellular bands. Vodafone and
Huawei successfully integrated the technology into the operator’s existing
mobile network in Spain, and then sent the first pre-standard NB-IoT message to
a u-blox module installed in a water meter.
NB-IoT is a new technology that will extend the use of IoT
by making it more efficient to connect objects that require a long battery life
and are located in areas of poor Internet coverage. NB-IoT promises to provide
up to ten years of battery life and deep indoor penetration. Industry
technology standards for NB-IoT will be set with Release 13 from the global
standards organization Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
Korea’s operator, KT, and Nokia announced that they have
conducted what they claim to be the industry’s first enhanced machine-type communications
(eMTC) field trial. The trial was conducted on KT’s LTE network using Nokia’s
Flexi Multi-radio 10 Base Station, wherein eMTC used only 1.4 MHz of the full 20-MHz
LTE system, leaving the remaining spectrum free for normal LTE traffic. Also
referred to as LTE-M with a 1.4-MHz bandwidth, eMTC is a feature that will be
fully standardized with 3GPP Release 13, the first step in the evolution of LTE
Advanced to LTE Advanced Pro. It will provide data rates of up to 1 Mb/s, up to
four times better coverage, and reduce device complexity by up to 80% in
comparison to conventional LTE.
Ericsson, Orange, and Intel have completed what they claim
to be one of the first live trials of extended coverage global system for
mobile communications (EC-GSM) technology for IoT. EC-GSM (formerly enhanced
coverage data rates for GSM evolution, or EC-EGPRS) is a new technology that
enables new capabilities of existing cellular networks for low-power wide-area
IoT applications. EC-GSM can be activated through new software deployed over a
very large GSM footprint, adding even more coverage to serve IoT devices. This
trial was conducted using the 900-MHz band. Coverage extension of 20 dB beyond
GSM coverage was reached, showing a sevenfold improvement in the range of low-rate
applications. It also showed the ability to reach challenging locations such as
deep indoor basements, where many smart meters are installed, or remote areas
in which sensors are deployed for agriculture or infrastructure monitoring use.
The live trial proved that full coexistence of such devices with legacy mobile
devices is possible. According to the companies, cellular networks optimized
for IoT will be operational by 2017.
Full article: IEEE
Vehicular Technology Magazine, Volume 11, Number 2, June 2016