LTE can compete with upstart IoT networks, Verizon says

LTE's huge ecosystem can help create cheap and efficient ways of connecting, the carrier says

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.

Verizon wants to be a one-stop shop for IoT, the collection of sensors, wearable devices and networked machines that's now rolling out around the world. It's an important growth opportunity for the carrier, one of the two dominant mobile operators in the U.S., though Verizon says it's got services to offer IoT companies even if they use someone else's network.

The LTE technology that is the bread and butter of Verizon and other cellular carriers is designed primarily for bandwidth-heavy smartphone uses like games, voice calls and videos. Now there are alternatives emerging that are like cellular in some ways but designed specifically for IoT. They're coming from upstarts like SigFox, which builds networks it says are slower but cheaper than LTE.

These LPWANs (low-power, wide-area networks) are tailor made for IoT devices, which typically use only small amounts of data and may have to work untouched for years in remote locations. SigFox, for one, has networks spanning most of France and Spain and plans to cover 10 major U.S. cities by early 2016. The first of those systems, in San Francisco, is now being developed in partnership with city government. Other vendors and industry groups are also pursuing new LPWANs.

Machina Research expects more than 3 billion devices to be connected to LPWANs by 2023.

Verizon says better and cheaper chips from the vast LTE ecosystem, including silicon vendors like Intel and Sequans, will make LTE competitive with LPWANs. So-called Category 0 and Category 1 LTE devices, some of which are already commercially available for use on Verizon's network, will have battery life of one to five years, depending on the application, said Mark Bartolomeo, Verizon's vice president of IoT and connected solutions. The cost of IoT chip modules will fall below US$2 as economies of scale grow, he said.

Early next year, Verizon will roll out a new, more efficient network core just for IoT. It won't have back-end processes that were designed for connecting with smartphones but aren't needed for the new types of devices. This will lower costs and let Verizon scale up its network for the shift from millions to billions of connections, said Mike Lanman, Verizon's senior vice president of enterprise and IoT products.

Those changes, along with the evolution of standards toward the 5G specification expected in 2020, will make LTE well suited to IoT over time.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?