Promise of IoT – the next big application: Page 2 of 4

October 27, 2016 // By Harpinder Singh Matharu, Xilinx Inc.
Continuous evolution of mobile broadband networks and related technologies is critical to address the growing demand for connectivity and bandwidth. It is equally important to incorporate capabilities and mechanisms to monetize the network in order to sustain continued investments. Considering currently deployed services, the LTE based mobile broadband consumer market is approaching maturity and saturation from a revenue standpoint. Targeting new applications, use cases, and markets is a must have to set the stage as the industry embarks to prepare for 5G deployment in 2020.

IoT requires low-power long range communication, asymmetric asynchronous low data rate connectivity, and low-cost end nodes with long battery life (>10 years). Attributes of IoT connectivity and devices are likely to vary based on the end market/ applications. 5G industry forums have classified IoT into two broad use cases: low energy massive machine communication and low latency mission critical machine type communication. Machine to machine communication is envisaged to be an integral part for both of these use cases. An example of low energy massive machine communication is a network of connected sensors and actuators that have the potential of bringing significant productivity and efficiency to industries such as health-care, shipping, agriculture, food industry, water and energy management, smart homes and buildings. Connected wearable gadgets are an integral part of this use case scenario and the hold promise of improving every aspect of our lives. The cost of a device, battery life, ease of deployment, and efficient asynchronous communication are the key requirements for low energy, massive machine type communication. Typical data rates per IoT node are in the range of 100 Kbps.

Industrial IoT, automotive, smart energy grids, traffic safety, and emergency response services are some of the examples of low latency machine type communications. Reliability, resiliency, and low latency are critical components for this segment. Typical data rates are in the range of 100 Kbps to 1 Mbps. Industrial IoT will bring multiple vertical markets within the fold of mobile broadband networks, opening new healthy revenue streams for operators.

Proprietary low power wide area network technologies such as LoRa, SigFox, Ingenu, Starfish, and Weightless exist today for IoT deployments. These technologies use unlicensed bands. For automotive, dedicated short range communication (DSRC) as known in the US and cooperative intelligent transport system (ITS) elsewhere are emerging Vehicle to Everything (V2X) radio connectivity solutions. This is primarily geared for safety applications. DSRC uses 75 MHz bandwidth, seven 10 MHz channels in a 5.9 GHz licensed spectrum. LTE offers a good framework to harmonize proprietary technologies and fragmented standards to provide scale, ease of deployment and maintenance. LTE-M, extension of LTE for machine to machine communication, as part of 3GPP RAN Release 12, narrow band LTE (NB-LTE) as part of 3GPP RAN Release 13, and extended coverage GSM (EC-GSM) as part of GEREAN Release 13 are standards based technologies that will use licensed spectrum.

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