& cplSiteName &

Narrowband Cellular IoT Offers Clean Slate

Steve Bell
9/2/2015
50%
50%

2016 looks to be a very exciting year in the low-power wide-area (LPWA) market, with a number of major players positioning to assist mobile operators to take advantage of the blossoming Internet of Things opportunities.

The recent announcement by the GSMA that it has established a "Mobile IoT Initiative" was yet another confirmation that LPWA solutions are an absolute necessity to fulfill the full potential of IoT. Twenty-six of the world's leading mobile operators, along with infrastructure manufacturers, OEMs, module and chipsets vendors, are lending support to this initiative to accelerate development of LPWA solutions in licensed spectrum.

The group will provide analysis and feedback to assist 3GPP in achieving standardization of the technologies as rapidly as possible. The GSMA's statement identified that there is an expectation for initial specifications for LPWA solutions to be completed by the end of 2015, with first implementations in early 2016 and full commercial solutions by year-end.

After years of convergence toward a single technology -- LTE -- the industry is recognizing that, in order to be able to serve the diverse but relatively simple connectivity and data requirements of the machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT markets, a single technology may not be capable of delivering on all use cases. Consequently, the GSMA identified that its initiative will focus on three complementary licensed 3GPP standards: LTE evolutions, GSM evolutions and clean-slate technologies. LTE evolutions were covered in 3GPP Release 12 (Low-Cost MTC), and will be further refined in Release 13 (LTE eMTC).

With regard to GSM evolutions and clean-slate technologies, it is interesting to note that both were part of a GERAN #62 study item by 3GPP, entitled "Cellular System Support for Ultra Low Complexity and Low Throughput Internet of Things." The intent of the study was to evaluate the evolution of the current GERAN system via an extended coverage version of GSM (EC-GSM), as well as clean-slate technology.

Both GSM evolutions and the clean-slate solutions had to enhance coverage by 20 dB compared with legacy GPRS, and achieve ten-year battery life for devices that were also cost effective. These are not dissimilar goals to those of the GSMA initiative. The study tested EC-GSM and six clean-slate technologies compliance against a set of performance objectives that included improved indoor coverage, support for massive numbers of low-throughput devices, reduced device complexity, improved power efficiency and latency.

An August 14, 2015 report from the TSG GERAN #67 meeting summarizing the study concluded that, against these five performance objectives, NB-CIoT is the only one of the six clean-slate solutions that is fully compliant, and EC-GSM is the GSM evolution that is fully compliant, whereas the other five candidate technologies were only partially described.

The study also determined that EC-GSM and NB-CIoT met the requirements for coexistence with existing GSM UMTS and LTE systems and hardware. Now these two compliant technologies will move to the next stage in September 2015, with EC-GSM becoming a work item within GERAN and NB-CIoT becoming a work item within 3GPP RAN, with the expectation that standards for both will be frozen by March 2016.

With NB-CIoT on schedule to be part of 3GPP Release 13 in March 2016, it appears to be the strongest contender for the preferred GSMA clean-slate solution, given the results from work already being carried out within the 3GPP standards body. If consensus can be reached among the operators and the GSMA to support NB-CIoT as the clean-slate technology of choice, then the timeline identified in the GSMA's announcement looks to be achievable. Undoubtedly, the fact that the NB-CIoT standard is being backed by some of the largest M2M players should help drive this outcome.

— Steve Bell, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

This blog is sponsored by Huawei.

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
SuranKarunatilaka
50%
50%
SuranKarunatilaka,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/11/2015 | 9:44:01 AM
IoT may require differentiated service levels
IoT covers a large range of applications. It can be machine to machine or consumer or healthcare or automotive etc. These applications will have varying degrees of requirements for connectivity as well as data transmission. While a healthcare device may collect continuous amount of data a smart appliance may not have to be transmitting continuously. We can even consider within an automobile for an exampke example various systems, all systems related to safety may need continious monitoring and real time feedback however an infotainment system may have different requirements. Environmental applications such as clean air and water monitoring systems may have another set of requirements. All these applications will transfer varying degrees of data, some large some small and others will be a mix of these and at various inetrvals vs. Real time. It maybe important to understand these requirements from a systems perspective and offer differentiated class of services within a network that provides connectivity
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
SPRING has sprung in the routing community.
Call it Industry 4.0, Industry-X, Industrial IoT, the Industrial Internet – by any name, it offers tremendous opportunities to transform productivity across many sectors of the economy.
Just like 3G, 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE), 5G isn't kicking WiFi to the curb. Mixing WiFi with LTE and 5G networks offers mobile operators numerous market opportunities.
Service providers surveyed for this report are cautiously optimistic about automating business/operations support system (B/OSS) – more than half are already taking steps to automate B/OSS, and even more plan to do so within the next two years.
Automation was one of the key themes discussed at the recent Big Communications Event (BCE), including how artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, intent-based networking and open source solutions are all helping CSPs on their journey to zero-touch automation.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
5G & Industrial Automation: Creating the Factory of the Future
Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading, 6/11/2018
Comcast's Bid for Content, Growth & Whatever Comes Next
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 6/13/2018
Ciena CTO Says No to Skynet, Advocates Adaptive Networks
Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Editor, 6/14/2018
Source Packet Routing Gets Real in 2018
Sterling Perrin, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading, 6/15/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed