LTE standard for machines gets the green light

The NarrowBand IoT standard would let Internet of Things devices communicate for years on a battery

The international body in charge of LTE will standardize a version of that technology specifically for the Internet of Things, taking on rival systems for connecting low-power equipment like parking meters and industrial sensors.

At a workshop last week in Phoenix, members of the 3GPP agreed to define a standard for NB-IoT (NarrowBand IoT), which would be based on the dominant global cellular system but tuned for devices that typically rely on batteries and only send small amounts of information.

NB-IoT will be one of several technologies designed for low speed but long reach, key criteria for IoT networks. Devices like sensors and industrial equipment often are set up to operate for years in isolation with no service visits. Nearly 1.5 million devices will be connected to these so-called LPWA (low-power wide-area) networks by 2020, according to Machina Research.

Some major vendors are already planning to make low-power LTE products. Earlier this month, Intel, Ericsson and Nokia said they would work together to commercialize a technology called Narrow-Band LTE. Intel said it anticipates commercial rollouts next year.

At the Phoenix workshop, 3GPP explored both Narrow-Band LTE and another proposal called Narrowband CIoT. In a blog post, Dino Flore, the head of 3GPP's Radio Access Network group, said participants reached a compromise between two competing proposals. But no final decisions are expected until December.

NB-IoT will provide for better indoor coverage, low latency, low device cost and a massive number of connected devices, the 3GPP says. Service providers will be able to deploy it in portions of their existing LTE spectrum or on frequencies that have been repurposed from use with GSM. Many carriers offer IoT services over GSM and want to convert those channels to LTE, a much more efficient system that allows for smaller devices in the field.

While NB-IoT could reuse some LTE infrastructure, other LPWA systems are being built from scratch. Sigfox has set up networks in France, Spain and other parts of Europe and is starting a U.S. rollout. Ingenu, formerly On-Ramp Wireless, says it will build a network across the U.S. within two years.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?