& cplSiteName &

NB-IoT Gets Insecurity Complex

Iain Morris
6/6/2017
0%
100%

When it comes to providing connectivity for the billions of devices that will make up the future "Internet of Things," security is deemed an essential requirement. But the purveyors of NB-IoT seem far from secure about the outlook for the much-ballyhooed connectivity technology.

Concealed by an outward display of braggadocio, their worry is that NB-IoT will miss out on a lot of business and end up with a smaller share of the market than expected. Last year, Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), one of the technology's chief backers, argued that NB-IoT would "crush" its technology rivals when it emerged this year. Yet the alternatives continue to attract supporters amid reports that NB-IoT has missed rollout targets, remains far too expensive for customers and is beset by interoperability problems. (See Vodafone to 'Crush' LoRa, Sigfox With NB-IoT, Vodafone to Miss NB-IoT Launch Targets NB-IoT? Not at Those Prices, Say DT Customers and Ericsson, Huawei Incompatibility Threatens NB-IoT – Sources.)

The industry's reactions to those reports are what betray the insecurity. Talk of interoperability problems between equipment vendors Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is now rife at industry events. Numerous industry experts have also flagged the issue in discussions with Light Reading. Yet Ericsson and Huawei have pleaded ignorance, while operators have either denied there are problems or declined to comment.

The timing of one recent statement on interoperability also looks odd. Vodafone this week said it was carrying out NB-IoT interoperability tests more than two months after it was supposed to have launched commercial services in some European markets, and having never previously acknowledged that interoperability is a concern. Those tests have shown that all is tickety-boo, it insists.

Even if interoperability is not a serious issue, perceptions to the contrary could prove damaging. But trying to explain how those views have taken shape might necessitate some embarrassing disclosures about NB-IoT's history. Instead, the people behind the technology have largely clammed up. "I can't get anybody to talk to me about it," says Syed Hosain, the founder and chief technology officer of IoT operator Aeris Communications Inc.


Want to know more about the Internet of Things? Check out our dedicated IoT content channel here on Light Reading.


What seems undeniable is that NB-IoT was a rushed job following an abrupt rethink by the cellular industry on the need for a so-called low-power, wide-area (or LPWA) technology. Two and a half years ago, cellular industry folk at the GSM Association (GSMA) were "dismissive" of LPWA, according to Tom Rebbeck, a director at the Analysys Mason market research business. "Then within a year they had turned around because they saw the momentum behind Sigfox and LoRa," he says.

Indeed, in the absence of a suitable cellular technology, several Tier 1 operators have made commitments to the technologies that Rebbeck cites. Based on unlicensed spectrum, both Sigfox and LoRa have put the cellular industry under considerable pressure to bring NB-IoT to market as quickly as possible. "That there are interoperability problems is not surprising," says Bengt Nordström, the CEO of the Northstream market research and consulting group. (See SK Telecom Sees LTE-M, LoRa as Its 'Two Main IoT Pillars', Orange Hails LoRa Breakthrough as Bouygues Ups IoT Game and Sigfox 'Only Option' Today, Says Telefónica.)

Whether or not the rush to standardize NB-IoT did lead to problems, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications body made "corrections" to the standard as recently as March, according to Ericsson. The Swedish vendor recently shared this information when speculating why there might have been talk about NB-IoT interoperability problems, saying the ecosystem would have to catch up with the 3GPP's changes. It initially described the corrections as "atypical," but subsequently said this label was "probably incorrect," in a further sign of insecurity. The 3GPP, meanwhile, did not respond to Light Reading's requests for comment on the matter.

Next page: Slowly does it

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
iotman
100%
0%
iotman,
User Rank: Lightning
6/7/2017 | 6:28:03 PM
This guy is a classic!
Here we go everybody.......buckle in for yet another anti NB-IOT article from our acclaimed author. He should really disclose where he gets his (mis)information. Yes, Vodafone have done commercial launches (in regions where interoperability probably wasn't the major concern...ie RAN/core all from a single provider). The change to the new interoperable versions of both network and chipsets is a SIMPLE SOFTWARE upgrade)... so once the IODT in completed (imminent) then the system is complete as originally planned.

Yes it's taken longer than everyone would have liked, but the proprietary players have only scratched the surface in terms of roll outs. Any enterprise worth their salt is willing to wait an extra 6 months to get a much better solution for the 10+ year of their IoT assets. If you just want to track the odd dog or bike, then jump on board now with the low-end, low-cost providers. If you want true global standards and a reliable and robust technology, its about to be on your doorstep.

As NB-IOT starts hitting the millions in world-wide rollout numbers in the next 12 months, I'm sure this author will pen his next article titled "But NB-IOT said it would reach billions of devices and its only reached millions so far....what a failure". Rag
CEO/Co-f00573
50%
50%
CEO/Co-f00573,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/6/2017 | 1:47:28 PM
Hello marketing? It's procurement. We've got some good news and some bad news.
"A likelier explanation is that customers are not ready for NB-IoT prices. Modules still cost somewhere between €10 ($11.25) and €15 ($16.87), according to Deutsche Telekom, against an industry target of just $5."

That's the bad news. The good news is ... hang on I'll call you right back.

 

 
sarcher60555
50%
50%
sarcher60555,
User Rank: Lightning
6/6/2017 | 10:44:05 AM
Re: Uh-oh
http://www.vodafone.com/content/index/what/technology-blog/nbiot-commercial-launch-spain.html
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/6/2017 | 9:51:49 AM
Uh-oh
Looks like NB-IoT is DOA for IoT
More Blogs from Morris Lore
The obsession with being a software company is getting out of hand.
Operators want 5G and they want it now, but they don't know how much it will cost or whether it will make them any money.
T-Mobile's ambitious scheme appears to extend America's 5G lead over Europe, but is it all just bluster?
The biggest challenge to NB-IoT might come from another 3GPP standard that vendors are positioning as a 'complementary' technology.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
Facing the Facebook Video Threat
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, 7/17/2017
Brocade, Broadcom Merger in Doubt
Iain Morris, News Editor, 7/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.