M2M Platforms

Ingenu Races Sigfox for US IoT Network Firsts

With the number of networked machines coming online expected to expand faster than a horde of rats breeding inside a New York dumpster, it's no wonder that companies are scurrying to be the first to deploy dedicated networks for the Internet of Things (IoT) in the US and beyond.

The latest contender is Ingenu, formerly known as On-Ramp Wireless, which revealed Tuesday that it hopes to have low-power wide-area (LPWA) proprietary networks for IoT applications up in 30 US cities by the end of 2016. The deployment is starting in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and Phoenix, Ariz., and is expected to expand to nine cities in the South in the first quarter of 2016. (See Ingenu Launches the US's Newest IoT Network .)

Ingenu claims that once the first phase is operational it will have the largest exclusive IoT and M2M network, serving more than 100 million users across the US, and covering an area of nearly 100,000 square miles. The company is using its own Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) protocol on 2.4GHz spectrum to deploy the network.

The Internet of Things describes the overarching concept whereby billions of previously disconnected devices -- from sensors to toasters -- will get networked. Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications refers to how that happens.

Want to know more about IoT strategies? Check out Light Reading's IoT section with news on applications, strategies and technology which you can find here.

Ingenu rival Sigfox has made very similar claims for its budding LPWA IoT network in the US recently. The French startup said at the end of October that it will be in ten US cities with its ultra-narrow band (UNB) network in the first quarter of 2016. It is starting its US push in San Francisco. (See There's a Sigfox at the Golden Gate.)

So why the rush to deploy dedicated LPWA networks? There's a few different -- but connected -- reasons:

  • The first companies to get reliable LPWA networks have a chance of becoming a de-facto standard if they get enough devices on the network to lock carriers and other users in.
  • Specifications like Narrow Band-LTE (NB-LTE) aren't even going to have initial silicon on the market until the second half of 2016, there's an opportunity to get ahead of the game. (See Ericsson Expects 4G for the Machines in 2016.)
  • Current low-power options are either short-range (Zigbee) or have a limited shelf-life before the networks get switched off (specialized 2G connections).

    So will carriers, cities and enterpises gamble on the LPWA upstarts? How IoT grows in 2016 and 2017 will give us an idea. It is a market that is predicted to be so vast there is probably room for a few different technologies to co-exist, but there will be winners and losers too.

    — Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

  • BrianRayLinkLabs 11/11/2015 | 6:10:34 PM
    Re: Build it and they will come? I couldn't agree more. LTE networks are in advanced stages of deployment, and internet is accessible almost anywhere you'd want a LPWAN network. We have found that connecting an access point in the building, plant, or city block that you need the system to work is not a significant barrier, and does not necessitate building a billion dollar network first. 

    We have not found any customers willing to build products for Sigfox or LoRaWAN in advance of network deployment. 

    LPWAN is a fascinating space to watch either way. Train wreck or miracle....time will tell.
    DayTelensa 11/11/2015 | 4:29:36 AM
    Build it and they will come? Seems to me that a lot of people are looking at these network systems as though they are cell phone networks, forgetting that there is no legion of of consumers queing-up to pay for them. Away from the vanity projects, the economics of the industrial internet are about low cost and low margins, with applications expected to show a business case over decades.

    That's before you question the utility of a one-way sensor network or the limited real-world capacity of spread spectrum networks.

    Away from the network hype, there are real wireless IoT applications being deployed at scale. 





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