The following is a U.S. contribution to the World Radio-communication Conference (WRC-19) Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 28 Oct – 22 Nov 2019:
ITU Radio Regulations defines a high-altitude platform station (HAPS) as “a station on an object at an altitude of 20 to 50 km and at a specified, nominal, fixed point relative to the Earth.”
Agenda item 1.14 was adopted by WRC-15 to consider, in accordance with Resolution 160 (WRC-15), regulatory actions that can facilitate deployment of HAPS for broadband applications. Resolution 160 resolves to invite the ITU-R to study additional spectrum needs of HAPS, examining the suitability of existing HAPS designations, and conducting sharing and compatibility studies for additional designations in existing fixed service allocations in the 38‑39.5 GHz band, on a global basis, and in bands already allocated to the fixed service in the 21.4‑22 GHz and 24.25-27.5 GHz bands in Region 2 exclusively.
Advances in aeronautics and transmission technologies have significantly improved the capabilities of HAPS to provide effective connectivity solutions and meet the growing demand for high capacity broadband networks, particularly in currently underserved areas. Recently conducted full-scale test flights have shown that solar-powered platforms in the upper-atmosphere can now be used to carry payloads that offer reliable and cost-effective connectivity, and a growing number of applications for the new generation of HAPS are being developed. The technology appears particularly well suited to complementing terrestrial networks by providing backhaul. A number of advantages of the new generation of HAPS are foreseen:
- Reach: HAPS platforms may operate at around 20 km above ground, which reduces their vulnerability to weather conditions that may affect service, provides large coverage areas and helps mitigate interference caused by physical obstacles.
- Geographical reach: HAPS that use the architecture of solar platforms can also provide connectivity where it is impossible to deploy terrestrial infrastructure: remote sites on land or sea.
- Wide-area coverage: Depending on the operational scenario, a single platform is capable of providing footprints on the order of up to 100 km in diameter, and recent technological advances in the development of optical inter-HAPS links now support the deployment of multiple linked HAPS, in fleets that can provide greater coverage within a country as needed.
- Low cost and environmental aspects: The cost of operating stratospheric platforms is projected to be lower than other connectivity solutions depending on geographical area, while mass production of the aircraft will significantly lower upfront capital expenditure for deployment. HAPS can run exclusively on solar power for long periods, connecting people with almost no environmental impact.
- Rapid deployment and flexibility: It may be possible to deploy HAPS services without long lead times and it is relatively simple to return solar platforms to the ground for maintenance or payload reconfiguration.
The ITU-R conducted sharing and compatibility studies to assess coexistence between HAPS and incumbent and proposed systems and services (including issues of overlap with WRC-19 agenda items 1.6 and 1.13). Associated regulatory provisions are proposed below based on the results of sharing studies.
For the frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz in Region 2, the USA proposes “no change” (NOC) to the Radio Regulations, as Resolution 160 (WRC-15) calls for identifications for HAPS in frequency bands already allocated to the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2, the bands in this frequency range are not already allocated to the fixed service. No studies have been conducted in the ITU-R to assess the sharing and compatibility of adding a new fixed service allocation to the 24.25-25.25 GHz band in Region 2. As a frequency band cannot be designated for fixed service HAPS use without a fixed service allocation, no change is proposed under agenda item 1.14. This proposal is aligned with Method 4A of the CPM Report to WRC-19.
Table of Frequency Allocations
|Allocation to services
Reasons: Resolution 160 (WRC-15) calls for identifications for HAPS in frequency bands already allocated to the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2, for the frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz, the bands in this frequency range are not allocated to the fixed service.
|Allocation to services
Reasons: Resolution 160 (WRC-15) calls for identifications for HAPS in frequency bands already allocated to the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2, for the frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz, the bands in this frequency range are not allocated to the fixed service.
Manish Vyas, President of Communications Business and Chief Executive Officer of Network Services, of Tech Mahindra said the India Department of Telecom needs to commence the auction of 5G spectrum now. He noted that regulators in some countries have already formulated policies and initiated spectrum auctions for the 5G roll out in their respective nations.
Vyas said 4G is yet to touch all parts of India and that needs to happens on a massive scale. Yet there are some “definite green-shoots” of 5G trials.
More than technology, the bigger impediment could be the India regulatory body’s policy on 5G spectrum. The experimental license by DoT will need modifications, and till that happens, the sector is in for a “waiting game” he said.
“US, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and more (have started 5G spectrum auctions). Spectrum is the life blood of any wireless network. For 5G, globally regulators have been licensing mid-band (3.5GHz) and in some countries mmWave (millimeter Wave) spectrum bands as well.
For 5G to be rolled out in India, the first necessary step is for the regulator to auction the 5G spectrum. Everything else will be gated on spectrum,” he wrote in an email to the Economic Times of India.
Vodafone Idea recently said the auction of 5G spectrum should not be held before 2020 as the industry needs time to develop India-specific use cases for the next-generation technology.
A DoT official in December last year said the government expects to complete processes for 5G spectrum auction by August, 2019.
Tech Mahindra established a strategic partnership with Intel on a wide range of topics spanning across Virtualization of RAN (radio access network) , Cloud native 5G Core and on Edge Computing, Vyas said.
“Intel brings best in class technology for 5G infrastructure and will form the foundation of 5G networks.
We are collaborating with Intel to maximise the benefits of their technology for 5G networks and we are also working on developing 5G use cases for specific industry verticals in the CoE,” he said.
A panel set up to recommend the scope of 5G trials in the country has submitted its report to the Department of Telecom (DoT), a source said.
The DoT-constituted committee chaired by IIT Kanpur Director Abhay Karandikar was tasked to give recommendations on the scope of trials, as well as size, quantum, pricing and other aspects for offering experimental/trial spectrum for 5G and other trials.
A DoT source privy to the development said that the report was submitted recently and is currently being examined, but did not divulge details.
Some industry representatives had earlier informed the committee, during the past deliberations, that the various stages involved in the process of experimentation and trials such as import and release of equipment, logistic clearance, installation and commission of equipment, network integration, interoperability checking, and testing of applications require longer duration and that the existing validity of three months is very short and needs to be increased.
The National Digital Communications Policy 2018 outlines a mission to ‘propel India’ by enabling next generation technologies and services through investments, innovation and IPR generation.
In this regard, it underlines the need to harness the power of emerging digital technologies, including 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud and Big Data to enable provision of future-ready products and services.
A new report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight estimates that the global number of cellular IoT (e.g. NB-IoT, LTE-M, LTE, 2G, 3G, etc) subscribers increased by 70 percent during 2018 to reach 1.2 billion. IoT growth was driven by “exceptional adoption” in China.
The market research firm forecasts that there will be 9 billion IoT devices connected to cellular networks worldwide by 2023.
China, which accounted for 63% of the global installed base in 2018, is expected to continue to be the key driver for IoT adoption, as the Chinese government is actively driving adoption as a tool for achieving domestic and economic policy goals.
“China is deploying cellular IoT technology at a monumental scale”, said Tobias Ryberg, principal analyst and author of the report.
According to data from the Chinese mobile operators, the installed base in the country increased by 124% year-on-year to reach 767 million at the end of 2018.
China has overtaken Europe and North America in penetration rate with 54.7 IoT connections per 100 inhabitants, Ryberg said.
He said the role of the government is the main explanation for why China is ahead of the rest of the world in the adoption of IoT.
“The most distinctive characteristic of the Chinese IoT market is however the way that the government is systematically using new technology to implement its vision for urban life in the 21st century,” Ryberg said.
“At the same time the private sector also implements IoT technology to improve efficiency and drive innovation.”
China has witnessed widespread adoption of connected cars, fleet management, smart metering, asset monitoring and as well as new consumer services like bike sharing.
The report also analyses the IoT business KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) released by mobile operators in different parts of the world and found significant regional differences.
While China has the world’s highest IoT penetration rate, Europe seems is doing better job in terms of monetizing the IoT business.
According to the report, the monthly ARPU for cellular IoT connectivity services in China was only €0.22 ($0.25), compared to € 0.70 in Europe.
Global revenues from cellular IoT connectivity services increased by 19% in 2018 to reach €6.7 billion. The ten largest players had a combined revenue share of around 80%.
Editor’s Note: The most popular cellular IoT network in China is NB-IoT. China Telecom Offers NB–IoT Nationwide. ChinaTelecom has built the world’s largest NB–IoT network so far by upgrading 310,000 base stations acrossChina to support NB–IoT. … It is using the 800MHz spectrum band, which is being refarmed for 4G in China and enables good in-building penetration and very wide coverage.
A GSMA case study illustrates how China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom enable consumers and businesses to benefit from better services using NB-IoT, while opening up new business models for mobile operators and their partners.
Supporting extensive coverage and low power consumption, NB-IoT is making it feasible to securely remotely monitor and control very large volumes of everyday devices, appliance, machines and vehicles. Both consumers and businesses in China are now benefiting from greater convenience, better reliability, and improved safety and security.
Above image courtesy of GSMA
In a separate report, Berg Insight says 5G will reach the IoT market in late 2020.
The first 5G cellular IoT modules will become available to developers this year, enabling early adopters to create the first IoT devices based on the standard. Based on the experience of previous introductions of new standards, 5G will however not be an instant hit. By 2023, Berg Insight forecasts that 5G will account for just under 3 percent of the total installed base of cellular IoT devices.
“5G still has some way to go before it can become a mainstream technology for cellular IoT”, says Tobias Ryberg, Principal Analyst and author of the report.
“Just like 4G when it was first introduced, the initial version of 5G is mostly about improving network performance and data capacity. This is only relevant for a smaller subset of high-bandwidth cellular IoT applications like connected cars, security cameras and industrial routers. The real commercial breakthrough will not happen until the massive machine type communication (mMTC) use case has been implemented in the standard.”
mMTC is intended as an evolution of the LTE-M/NB-IoT enhancements to the 4G standard. Since NB-IoT has only just started to appear in commercial products, there is no immediate demand for a successor. Over time, fifth generation mobile networks will however become necessary to cope with the expected exponential growth of IoT connections and data traffic. The report identifies homeland security as an area where 5G cellular IoT can have a major impact already in the early 2020s.
“5G enables the deployment of high-density networks of AI-supported security cameras to monitor anything form security-classified facilities to national borders or entire cities”, says Mr. Ryberg.
“How this technology is used and by whom is likely to become one of the most controversial issues in the next decade.”
5G networks will be distinctly different then 4G-LTE networks, even though all so called “5G” pre-standard deployments use 3GPP Rel 15 5G-NR NSA (Non Stand Alone) for the data plane, with a heavy LTE anchor for: signaling, network management and mobile packet core (EVC). ITU-R will specify the radio related standards for 5G, while ITU-T will standardize the non radio aspects, as reported NUMEROUS times on this techblog website.
Several market research firms forecast that 5G base stations installed in China will be two to three times as many as 4G- LTE base stations. GSMA forecasts that from launch in 2020, Chinese 5G connections will scale rapidly over time, to reach 428 million by 2025. Beyond this date, further growth will be determined by incremental network rollout (and the ability of operators to earn ROI), and the price point at which 5G devices are available.
Definitions: C-RAN, DUs, and AAUs:
The Centralized Radio Access Network (C-RAN) mode where the Distributed Units (DUs) for many Active Antenna Units (AAUs) are placed at a centralized location significantly increases the fronthaul distance between DUs and AAUs. If all DU-AAU connections are through fiber, the amount of fiber required will rise by 10-fold. That entails heavy civil works and enormous investments.
25Gbps WDM-PON is Ideal for 5G Fronthaul:
WDM-PON is a passive optical networking technology that can be used to address the fiber deployment challenges. A WDM-PON design can be used to separate optical-network units (ONUs) into several virtual point-to-point connections over the same physical infrastructure, a feature that enables efficient use of fiber compared to point-to-point direct fiber connection and offers lower latency than TDM-based technologies. A notable benefit of this technology is high bandwidth, low latency, and fiber savings. 5G fronthaul based on 25Gbps WDM-PON technology has the following technical advantages:
- Support for CPRI and eCPRI standards as well as 4G/5G hybrid networking.
- 25Gbps high bandwidth per wavelength, which can smoothly evolve to 50Gbps in the future.
- Up to 20 pairs of wavelengths on a single trunk fiber.
- Colorless ONU technology allows flexible wavelength allocation and wavelength routing.
- In the future, a colorless Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) ONU can be directly inserted into the AAU for easy installation.
- The Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG) incurs a power loss of about 5.5 dBm, which is lower than that of the optical splitter.
5G+FTTH Converged Gigaband Access Solution
WDM-PON is a key innovation that enables 5G+FTTH converged gigaband access. Compared with direct fiber connections between DU and AAU, the WDM-PON based fronthaul mode saves trunk fibers by more than 90 percent (shown as Figure 1). Another advantage of WDM- PON is that wavelengths can be flexibly allocated and resources can be remotely, centrally managed.
WDM PON enriches and perfects 5G fronthaul technology, giving operators more options by allowing for 5G+FTTH converged gigaband access in dense urban areas.
Based on the above principles, ZTE and China Telecom jointly launched the 5G+FTTH Converged Gigaband Access solution. The solution has unique advantages in trunk fiber, equipment space and power savings. Specifically, it:
- Cuts 95 percent trunk fiber by allowing up to 20 AAUs to share the same trunk fiber.
- Saves 10 percent power and shrinks space through OLT reuse.
- Reduces overall investments by 50 percent.
In addition to the high-density WDM-PON cards, the OLT also innovatively provides TDM-like channels to ensure a processing latency of less than 7µs in the OLT. If the distance between OLT and ONU is 5 kilometers, a transmission latency of 25µs will ensue over the fiber. Consequently, the total end-to-end latency is less than 32μs, which is 68 percent lower than the 5G URLLC requirements. The TDM-like channel handles traffic sent from 5G AAUs in real time without the queuing, buffering, forwarding, routing and searching processes. The resulting low-latency forwarding meets the stringent latency requirements of 5G fronthaul for URLLC applications.
Industry’s First WDM-PON for 5G Fronthaul Validation:
In December 2018, ZTE and the Technology Innovation Department and Optical Access Research Department of China Telecom jointly completed the industry’s first validation of Nx25Gbps WDM-PON for 5G fronthaul on the live network of China Telecom Suzhou Branch. The validation demonstrated that 25Gbps WDM-PON could carry 5G fronthaul services stably and transparently, with the data rate and end-to-end latency equal to those in a point-to-point direct fiber connection.
Achievements in WDM-PON Standards and Technologies:
ZTE and China Telecom collaborate to actively participate in the standardization of WDM-PON. The collaboration has produced numerous achievements including:
- Editor of “ITU-T G.Sup66 : 5G wireless fronthaul requirements in a passive optical network context” in October 2018.
- Submitted five proposals to the ITU-T, applied for 23 patents and released two papers.
3) Co-led the formulation of the “Nx25Gbps WDM-PON for 5G Mobile Fronthaul” series standards of China Communications Standards Association (CCSA).
4) Formulated the industry’s first enterprise standard on Nx25Gbps WDM-PON management channels for China Telecom.
5) Proposed the concept of SFP ONUs, which has been accepted by CCSA and is being incorporated into its standards.
Besides the achievements in WDM-PON standards, ZTE has also made breakthroughs in key WDM-PON technologies, including:
1) Developed 25Gbps WDM-PON optical modules with low cost, low power consumption, and high transmission power.
2) Developed the technology of ultra-low latency forwarding of CPRI/eCPRI traffic based on cell switching.
Summary and Prospects:
25Gbps WDM-PON is ideal for 5G fronthaul. It is a key innovation to enable 5G+FTTH converged gigaband access in an economical way. ZTE is currently extending WDM-PON based fronthaul from outdoor AAUs to a 5G indoor distribution system. When indoor 5G fronthaul is combined with the Passive Optical LAN (POL), 5G+FTTO (Fiber To The Office) converged dual-gigabit rates can be achieved in industrial parks.
FirstNet is a dedicated LTE network for public safety users, which passed 600,000 “connections” earlier this month. It has been built by AT&T and has has engagements with more than 7,000 public safety agencies.
FirstNet is built in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority). This helps to ensure that the FirstNet communications platform and service offerings meet the short- and long-term needs of the public safety community.
FirstNet is improving communications to allow for improved response times and outcomes for first responders from coast-to-coast, in rural and urban areas, inland and on boarders – leading to safer, and more secure communities. It provides innovation and dedicated capacity so public safety can take advantage of advanced technologies, tools and services during emergencies, such as:
- Applications that allow first responders to reliably share videos, text messages, photos and other information during incidents in near real-time
- Devices configured to meet the focused needs of public safety
- Improved location services to help with mapping capabilities during rescue and recovery operations
- Deployables available for planned and unplanned emergency events
Speaking this past week at the MoffettNathanson’s 6th Annual Media & Communications Summit in New York City, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer John Stephens discussed how the carrier’s deployment of FirstNet is progressing rapidly and laying the groundwork for 5G.
According to AT&T, FirstNet is 25% faster than any domestic commercial network. That claim is based on Ookla test data covering average download speeds in Q1 2019.
The FirstNet build-out is instrumental to AT&T 5G deployment plans, Stephens said. “The FirstNet contract, which is enabling us to go through a process from an LTE to evolve into a 5G network, is really working. We’re getting dramatic speed uptakes. If you look at the two fastest networks in the United States right now, they’re both ours…That’s what’s driving the business. That’ll drive innovation, that’ll drive opportunity.”
As AT&T upgrades its cell sites to deploy Band 14  for FirstNet, crews are upgrading other equipment to support the 5G New Radio specification. Stephens said the operator is working toward “national coverage of 5G” by the “middle of the next year.”
Note 1. Band 14 is the spectrum licensed to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to create a nationwide public-safety wireless broadband network. Band 14represents 20 MHz of highly desirable spectrum in the 700 MHz band that provides good propagation in urban and rural areas and decent penetration into buildings.
This week, AT&T announced it would resell Mutualink to enhance interoperable communications for public safety. This new relationship will allow AT&T to bring Mutualink’s Interoperable Response and Preparedness Platform (IRAPP) to first responders and supporting agencies using services provided over FirstNet public safety communications platform.
Mutualink states on their website: “This network is the largest nationwide network of public safety agencies, critical infrastructure, schools and private enterprise security. The IRAPP is transport agnostic, device agnostic and media agnostic. It leverages your current communications assets and incorporates new devices as needed. Connect to the IRAPP network via public or private LTE, satellite or terrestrial broadband.”
“FirstNet brings public safety one, nationwide platform for consistent, reliable communications across agencies and jurisdictions,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T. “As apps and mobile data increasingly become critical components of the public safety response, we want to help make sure the flow of information that FirstNet provides remains seamless. Our agreement with Mutualink aims to do just that, taking the interoperability that FirstNet provides to the next level.”
FirstNet already facilitates multi-agency communications to aid in incident response and resolution. The agreement with Mutualink builds upon this, expanding the reach, reliability and capability of FirstNet services today. FirstNet subscribers can use the Mutualink IRAPP solution to enhance their ability to easily and quickly communicate across systems and applications, sharing voice, data, video and more in a highly secure environment.
By bringing the Mutualink solution to the FirstNet platform, first responders using Mutualink’s IRAPP will be able to simultaneously take advantage of key FirstNet capabilities – like First Priority™, which enables priority and, for first responders, preemption.
“Adding Mutualink’s Interoperable Response and Preparedness Platform to the FirstNet communications platform will increase the level of interoperability for public safety, especially with respect to on-demand cross-agency interoperability. Our solution enables highly secure sharing of video and data across systems and integration with smart sensor and IoT systems,” Mark Hatten, chief executive officer and chairman, Mutualink. “This will help FirstNet subscribers scale up their access to emerging information as the situation unfolds, creating a common operating picture for all involved.”
“FirstNet is helping first responders solve long-standing interoperability challenges and arming them with the information they need to coordinate action plans and make critical decisions. We’re pleased to see AT&T form innovative collaborations that will help foster a new era of situational awareness for public safety,” said FirstNet Authority Acting CEO Edward Parkinson.
T-Mobile USA was the first U.S. wireless carrier to provide nationwide NB-IoT coverage last July. The “uncarrier” is very proud to have 81 million cellular customers and a very low churn rate. The company has invested billions of dollars in the last five years to modernize and transform its wireless network. As of February 7, 2019, T-Mobile’s LTE network now covers 325 million people, according to a recent earning report..
During his May 14th 2019 IoT World keynote, Balaji Sridharan, VP of IoT & M2M at T-Mobile US, described the challenges to overcome to realize massive IoT at scale and T-Mobile’s wireless networks that might be used for three different classes of IoT connectivity. Balaji also enumerate key features and attributes of NB-IoT and showed an interesting comparison chart of LPWANs. He said its 600 MHz spectrum is deployed throughout the U.S. 
Note 1. During its April 2019 earnings call, CTO Neville Ray said: “we have over 1 million square miles of 600 megahertz LTE rolled out. It’s working in 44 states and Puerto Rico. And we have a 100 million covered PoPs on 600 megahertz LTE. So we’ve said that in 2020, we’ll have a nationwide footprint on 5G.
IoT Classification and Characteristics [from Ericsson white paper]:
Massive IoT: Connecting billions of devices, small amounts of data volumes, (mostly) sent infrequently, low power required for long battery life (years not days, weeks or months).
Broadband IoT will need high throughput and/or low latency.; large data volumes.
Critical IoT will require ultra high reliability/availability and very low latency. Industrial automation (and robotic surgery) will require time sensitive information delivery and precise positioning of devices.
Industrial Automation is tailored for advanced industrial automation in conjunction with the other cellular IoT segments. It includes Radio Access Network (RAN) capabilities to facilitate the support of deterministic networks which, together with ethernet-based protocols and other industrial protocols, will enable many advanced industrial automation applications.
These applications have extremely demanding connectivity requirements and require very accurate indoor positioning and distinct architecture and security attributes. Industrial Automation IoT reinforced by Critical IoT connectivity is the key enabler for the full digitalization of Industry 4.0 for the world’s manufacturers, the Oil and Gas sectors as well as smart grid components for energy distribution companies.
Above chart courtesy of Ericsson.
T-Mo has wireless networks to meet all of the above IoT market segmants. In particular, NB-IoT, 4G-LTE, and (soon) 5G.
Challenges to overcome for Massive IoT:
- Support billions of devices at scale (that includes provisioning and (re) configuration).
- Long battery life (via low power consumption of devices/things)
- Coverage enhancements
- Global reach
NB-IoT meets the requirements for Massive IoT:
Operates in guard bands of T-Mobile’s LTE network. 
Wide range of devices to be connected to the Internet using existing mobile networks (rather then new network infrastructure).
Key benefits include: better battery life (again via low power consumption for connectivity), cheaper device costs ($5 certified NB-IoT module is now available), optimized data usage, reduced IP header and ability to transmit/receive non-IP data (which results in 30% to 40% less data transmission than if traditional IP was used), enhanced security via GSMA standards, licensed spectrum (no interference),, SIM based, and encryption.
Balaji said: “Improved network coverage is achieved via repetitions, which are used to enhance coverage.” [3.]
Note 2. NB-IoT can also be implemented in “standalone” for deployments in dedicated spectrum.
Note 3. From an IEEE published paper titled: Enhancing Coverage in Narrow Band-IoT Using Machine Learning:
NB-IoT needs only a small portion of the existing available cellular spectrum to operate without interfering with it. Hence, NB-IoT provides more reliability and more quality of service (QoS) as it operates in regulated spectrum. Moreover, NB-IoT uses existing cellular network infrastructure, which reduces the deployment costs.
However, since repeating transmission data and control signals has been selected as a major solution to enhance coverage of NB-IoT systems, this leads to reducing the system throughput and thereby a spectral efficiency loss.
Here’s a comparison chart showing: 2G, licensed spectrum NB-IoT vs unlicensed band Sigfox and LoRa (WAN):
Chart courtesy of T-Mobile USA
Balaji highlighted several Massive IoT applications that could effectively use NB-IoT for connectivity. Those include: asset tracking, smart metering, smart lighting, equipment monitoring, smart packaging, and intelligent waste management.
In addition to the $5 NB-IoT modules now available Balaji revealed T-Mo has a $5/year NB-IoT service plan.
T-Mo hosted the U.S.’ first NB-IoT Hackathon to develop IoT applications that would leverage NB-IoT as a viable wireless network. Sensing the presene of forest fires was an example he provided.
T-Mo partnered with Twillio to get NB-IoT to market. They created a new development kit that allowed Hackathon participants to access the NB-IoT network. [4.]
Note 4. More than 100 new and seasoned developers descended on T-Mobile HQ to help shape the future of NB-IoT at the Hackathon. 20 creative and unique IoT concepts for prospective IoT solutions emerged that could leverage the low cost and power efficiency of NB-IoT and its reliability over long distances.
U.S. Carrier Comparison for NB-IoT Deployments:
T-Mobile launched its NB-IoT network last July. AT&T’s NB-IoT network went live two weeks ago. Sprint said it is testing NB-IoT technology, but it plans to merge with T-Mobile in the not-too-distant future so may not roll out its own NB-IoT offering.
NB-IoT Chipset Forecast:
Research & Markets predicts the NB-IoT chipset market is expected to grow from USD 272 million in 2019 to USD 2,002 million by 2024 at a CAGR of 49.1%.
Winners of the first-ever IoT World Awards were named May 15th at the 2019 Internet of Things World conference. The awards program highlighted exemplary IoT projects, products and people in 11 categories, with 51 entries named as finalists.
A mix of editors, analysts, researchers, consultants and others participated in the judging process for the non-personal IoT World awards. The personal awards were chosen based on votes by nearly 5,000 industry professionals.
Here are the winners:
- Startup of the Year: Apana. Five-year-old Apana won in the startup category for its intelligent water management system, which helps to reduce water waste and optimize its use for industrial and commercial customers. Apana’s LoRa-based technology is installed as a retrofit kit and sends real-time water use data to the cloud. The service analyzes the data to identify patterns and sends information about water misuse to frontline workers, who could then take action to stop the waste.
- Enterprise IoT Deployment: Avis Budget Group. Avis Budget Group took home this prize in recognition of its multiyear program to connect its 600,000 vehicles to its IoT platform and mobile app. In 2018, partnerships with vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota and Ford, hardware companies such as ID Systems and technology providers such as Continental figured prominently in its plan to connect more than 100,00 vehicles. In Kansas City, it showcased connectivity of all 5,000 vehicles in its regional fleet there. Late last year, it announced its tech platform would be hosted on AWS Connected Vehicle Cloud. Avis Budget Group touts benefits of the program, both for the company and its customers. Internally, Avis has reduced operational costs and cut revenue loss from fuel and vehicle recovery. Externally, it says, customer satisfaction associated with the mobile app has increased in the double digits, measured by Net Promoter Scores.
Achievements in IoT Integration: Siemens MindSphere integration efforts. According to the company, its integration differentiators fall into three categories:
- Connectivity. Siemens provides connectivity to a range of assets and systems, including industrial and enterprise systems, data historians, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), distributed control systems (DCS), manufacturing execution system (MES), manufacturing operations management (MOM), product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), quality management (QM) and supply chain management (SCM) systems and service platforms.
- Digital twin capability. Siemens said its digital twin platform integrates operational asset data; data from product, production and performance twins; and industrial IoT analytics.
- Ecosystem support. The company’s integration services encompass devices and systems (including on-premises and cloud-based systems) from Siemens as well as other manufacturers.
According to Siemens, its R&D team’s efforts related to integration focus on data lakes, data contextualization and data connectors for additional data integration within MindSphere. The company boasts of a benchmark it recently completed at an automotive company, with all integration and analytics work completed in two weeks — after two competitors spent five weeks without finishing either the integration or analytics work, it said.
IoT Merger/Acquisition of the Year: IBM and Oniqua. IBM acquired Oniqua, a maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) company focused on the mining, oil and gas, utilities, process manufacturing, and transportation industries, in June 2018 and then folded it into the Global Business Services and Watson IoT business units. IBM intends to leverage Oniqua to enhance its software as a service (SaaS) offerings aimed at digital transformation of asset-intensive industries, giving clients the ability to monitor, manage and proactively maintain their assets; minimize operational downtime; and optimize inventory costs. According to IBM, Oniqua gives the company the ability to improve its asset optimization portfolio, which includes Maximo enterprise asset management, predictive maintenance and prescriptive repair.
IBM says that Oniqua provides an ROI of between 100% and 400% in the first year of deployment; 15% to 50% reduction in inventory; 30% to 50% reduction in stock-out risk; 15% to 40% reduction in maintenance budgets; and 20% to 25% improvement in supplier performance.
Consumer IoT Solution: Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff. According to the Phyn, the product gives homeowners an unprecedented understanding of their water use, toward the goal of avoiding leaks, conserving water and saving money. It monitors a home’s entire plumbing system from a single location on the water line, measuring changes in water pressure 240 times a second. It alerts homeowners immediately upon detection of a leak, diagnosing potential problems before they wreak havoc. The Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant + Shutoff develops a “fingerprint” of each plumbing fixture in the home to be able to ID the source of a leak. If a home experiences a sudden large leak, the Phyn Plus can automatically turn off the water.
The product has a mobile app that allows remote monitoring of water usage, remote control of water use in up to six properties, and integration with Alexa for voice queries and commands.
Edge Computing Solution: Dell Technologies’ “open edge” software stack. The “open edge” approach consists of commercially supported versions of the open source EdgeX Foundry framework. It runs on Photon OS, is managed by VMware’s Pulse IoT Center and has builds available for Dell Gateway hardware or other ARM reference boards. The company describes the stack as modular and open, able to work with any device, hardware, app or cloud service. It has integrated device management and pre-built software connectors (to sensors and devices as well as to the cloud) that help accelerate the implementation, deployment and operation of IoT projects. Its open architecture allows developers to quickly move between projects without having to learn custom code, and components can be reused in multiple projects.
Best Edge Computing Solution shortlisted entries: Dell Technologies, EdgeX Foundry, FogHorn, Itron Inc., Lantronix Inc. and Relayr.
IoT Security Solution: AWS’ IoT Device Defender. This product audits device-related resources (such as X.509 certificates and client IDs) for compliance with best practices, such as the principle of least-privilege. It detects unusual behavior by continuously monitoring security metrics from the device and AWS IoT Core, and it reports devices that are out of compliance. It also facilitates mitigation steps, such as revoking permissions or rebooting a device.
The company cites customers across vertical markets, from industrial to consumer to enterprise.
IoT Connectivity Solution: Senet’s Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network. Senet said it takes a “revolutionary approach to providing IoT connectivity.”
Senet connects all customer network and gateway deployments through its Low Power Wide Area Network Virtual Network (LVN), where participating connectivity providers have access to the largest global LoRaWAN network and benefit from a revenue share model based on the role they play in the larger network ecosystem.
Senet’s LVN, Managed Network Services for IoT (MNSi) and public network are powered by its proprietary Network Operating System, which is built on a common cloud-based services architecture. The Senet operating system provides extremely efficient, scalable and secure options to connect and manage low-power, low-cost sensors at massive scale and simplifies historically complex operations related to application and device registration, message accounting and settlements.
The Low Power Wide Area Virtual Network allows device connectivity on any LoRaWAN network using Senet’s OSS and BSS platforms, which eliminates the need for roaming contracts and delivers low-cost connectivity. According to Senet, third parties can build IoT-related services on top of the Senet network. The company points to distribution partnerships with SenRa (India) and Inland Cellular (Northwest U.S.) and to deployments by New York City (LoRaWAN gateways on city-owned buildings in all five boroughs) and propane and oil tank monitoring company WESROC.
Best IoT Connectivity Solution shortlisted entries: Emnify, MediaTek, Nordic Semiconductor, PTC and Senet.
Industrial IoT Solution: IBM Watson IoT Platform. This service (available across public or private cloud or in a hybrid cloud deployment model) aims to simplify the process for industrial shops in a variety of markets to capture and explore data from IoT devices, equipment and machines. The service comprises three components:
- IoT Platform Connection Service. This service helps to securely register and connect resources to IoT Platform.
- IoT Platform Analytics Service. This service focuses on visualizing and analyzing IoT data, enabling AI-driven predictions about the assets connected to IoT Platform.
- IoT Platform Blockchain Service. This service aims to validate transactions among IoT resources within IoT Platform, delivering the ability to track and trace assets as, for instance, they move through a supply chain.
IBM touts the impact of IoT Platform across a range of industrial verticals, including cosmetics manufacturing, mineral mining, home appliance manufacturing, the shipping industry, railways, energy supply companies and offshore drilling operations.
Enterprise CxO of the Year: Joanna Sohovich. The CEO of access control and smart home integration company Chamberlain Group snagged this award based on her work on Chamberlain’s myQ technology, which enables users to control or monitor garage access via smartphone.
Solution Provider CxO of the Year: Kevin Brown. Kevin, senior vice president of innovation and CTO in the Secure Power Division at Schneider Electric, is known for creating high-impact strategies and teams to maximize revenue, profit and competitive advantage.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will put aside its work freeing up TV white spaces until Microsoft and broadcasters reach an accord on sharing the spectrum for wireless broadband, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told the House Communications Subcommittee. He cited “tricky” technical and policy matters the agency needs to address even as Microsoft and TV stations try to find middle ground on the band’s use.
Pai was asked by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) about the status of the white spaces “experiment,” who said that probably every part of his district has such white spaces. Pai said he had seen the promise of white spaces technology in places like South Boston, Va., a town in rural southern Virginia,
The chairman said there had been a lot of “tricky” technical issues and policy issues the commission had been hammering out (a number of them involving how to use that spectrum without interfering with licensed broadcast transmissions nearby).
The FCC in March resolved a number of petitions to reconsider the remote sensing database works, which is how unlicensed mobile devices can use the spectrum without–hopefully–interfering with TV station signals. So far broadcasters have questioned the efficacy of that process.
The FCC is permitting the use of white space devices (notably computers), both fixed and mobile, in unused channels, ch. 37, guard bands between broadcast and wireless spectrum and between uplink and downlink spectrum in the 600 MHz band–which they are sharing after the incentive auction.
It is part of the FCC’s focus on freeing up more spectrum for advanced wireless and closing the rural digital divide, which computer companies argue “white spaces” play a key role.
Pai praised Microsoft, the prime mover behind a white spaces rural broadband project, and the National Association of Broadcasters, who have agreed on a number of outstanding issues, though not on Microsoft’s desire to use adjacent channels, which NAB has argued is too close for comfort.
“If there is a consensus that allows us to move forward, we would like to do so,” he said, though he could not provide a timeline.
Verizon announced yesterday that its NB-IoT network is now available coast-to-coast covering more than 92% of the U.S. population. NB-IoT focuses on applications needing data rates below 100K bits/sec which makes it ideal for solutions that aren’t designed to be always mobile such as alarm panels, environmental sensors, industrial appliances, factory equipment and parking meters.
NB-IoT is specifically designed for IoT applications that could benefit from access to lower cost chipsets, superior coverage and significantly prolonged battery life. The NB-IoT Network provides the ability to manage both IP and non-IP data traffic. This ability to handle non-IP data traffic allows for the creation of much simpler and more cost-effective IoT devices which are ideal for solutions that aren’t designed to be always mobile such as alarm panels, environmental sensors, industrial appliances, factory equipment and parking meters.
Other viable use cases for NB-IoT include:
- Smart cities – improve citizen experience and municipal operations through parking sensors, waste management and smart lighting.
- Smart buildings – enhance building safety and incident response times through connected smoke detectors including regular auto-test, battery check and real-time alerts to the relevant parties in case of fire.
- Industrial – improved machinery maintenance cycles and factory safety through machinery control such as equipment status, factory control, and process and safety monitoring.
- Environment monitoring – increase focus on environmental responsibility through status reporting of manhole covers, fire hydrants and chemical emission levels.
- Agricultural – improve efficiency in the agricultural industry with livestock tracker, connected greenhouse, stationary tracking and monitoring of air quality, humidity, moisture, temperature, and weather conditions of air and soil.
- Asset Tracking – improve efficiency and decrease costs by using pallet tracking and geo-fencing.
- Utilities – improve efficiency and decrease waste by using gas and water metering, including smart meter consumption tracking and pipeline monitoring.
Verizon has partnered with chipset and module manufacturers for its NB-IoT network. The carrier said three module makers – Telit, SIM-COM and Quectel, are in the final stages of testing modules, and will be available for use in IoT development on the new network.
NB-IoT adds another connection option for businesses:
Verizon maintains a strong leadership position in IoT technology and solutions with a history of providing customers with many options to meet their needs including nationwide deployment of 4G LTE, LTE Cat 1, and LTE Cat M1 networks. While CAT-M1 targets a wide range of applications for business customers such as wearables, fleet and asset management, NB-IoT focuses on applications needing data rates below 100 kbps. NB-IoT technology occupies a dedicated frequency of 180 kHz bandwidth designated for IoT applications which does not share spectrum resources with commercial smartphone traffic.
“We have engineered our NB-IoT network in the Guard Band of our spectrum. By using the more complex Guard Band solution for our Narrow Band IoT Network, we are demonstrating very efficient use of spectrum assets while giving customers the breadth of options they need to best meet their needs. This strategic use of spectrum is one of the many variables that has resulted in Verizon’s continued performance superiority and strong capital management over the years,” said Bill Stone, Vice President of Technology Development and Planning at Verizon.
During his IoT World Tuesday keynote speech, Shamik Basu, Director of IoT Products at Verizon, said that massive IoT sensor networks could be deployed today using Verizon’s NB-IoT or LTE-M networks. “They make critical infrastructure intelligent….NB-IoT and LTE-M will co-exist in some networks (i.e. the IoT device module supports both as does the wireless base station). You don’t need gateways to deploy massive sensor networks today.”
Verizon is ready to support developers and manage commercial traffic:
Verizon continues to expand its already robust ecosystem of partners to help develop, bring to market, connect and manage IoT solutions. Verizon has partnered with leading chipset and module manufacturers so that IoT makers can immediately start working towards building their devices for the Verizon NB-IoT network. Three module manufacturers in final stages of testing – Telit, SIM-COM and Quectel – have modules on Verizon’s Network which are ready to be used in development efforts. Additionally, customers will be able to manage their connections securely using the integrated ThingSpace platform that supports connectivity management, location and device security.
Verizon has announced an initial NB-IoT Standard Price Plan, offering 50 KB of data with a $1.00 monthly access fee per device. The data allowance can be shared with other NB-IoT devices on the same price plan and on the same account.
Verizon at IoT World 2019, Santa Clara, CA: Booth 510
Verizon’s NB IoT demo, permits conference attendees to experience Verizon’s NB IoT network in action.
At Verizon’s 5G for enterprise demo, conference attendees will explore the possibilities that will result from the ultra-low latency and massively scalable characteristics of the Verizon’s 5G technology.
Mixed reality developer Arvizio will be on hand demonstrating their MR Studio mixed reality platform for XR experiences on Microsoft HoloLens. Arvizio has converged Verizon’s ThingSpace IoT platform and augmented/mixed reality technologies to transform how businesses connect and use the data flow from IoT devices.
At the ThingSpace Ready demo, conference attendees will learn about ThingSpace Ready, Verizon’s IoT Accelerator program, which enables easier IoT onboarding with Verizon. We curated partnerships with design houses, system integrators, module/modem providers, and SIM manufacturers, so OEMs (device makers) get easy access to the hardware and solutions needed to create the next generation of IoT devices, all with upfront and transparent pricing.
At the ThingSpace Manage demo, conference attendees will learn how Verizon’s ThingSpace Manage platform will enable customers to provision, monitor, diagnose and control their IoT devices using connectivity APIs, as well as value-added microservices. The exhibit will demonstrate key capabilities on the ThingSpace Manage Portal such as device activation, network diagnostics, and coarse location. A demonstration of SIM-secure will also showcase how Verizon can help protect devices if the SIM are removed.
At the Critical Asset Sensor demo, conference attendees will experience how Verizon made it simple for customers using public clouds to get the data they need to drive their businesses. Critical Asset Sensor is an Edge to Enterprise solution with 7 sensors, GPS, LTE-M connectivity, and the ThingSpace platform with APIs to consume data into Amazon Web Services or any other cloud platform that drives your business.
Deploying IoT Massive Sensor Networks:
In his IoT World keynote, Mr. Basu suggested that companies deploying IoT massive sensor networks match the technology to their needs. Those needs might include: long battery life (10+ years), long range (network) coverage, ubiquitous, low improvement cost, security, reliability/availability, and longevity. Putting a NB-IoT interface in a sensor module facilitates data collection in real time which can then be tabulated and analyzed at the edge or in the cloud.
Shamik recommended Verizon’s ThingSpace to manage a rich suite of services for IoT. Companies can then monetize their IoT solutions and use public clouds, like Amazon Web Services (AWS). By pre-integrating software on development kits pre-approved by Verizon and Amazon, developers have all the key building blocks to create an IoT solution out of the box. AWS’s reliability and scalability make it an ideal foundation for your solution.
The ThingSpace Cloud Connectors program allows you to build a powerful IoT solution by combining your AWS solution, the Verizon network and ThingSpace device lifecycle management tools.
In summary, NB-IoT combined with Verizon’s ThingSpace IoT accelerator/ management platform, new pricing and rich ecosystem of partners who have modules ready for development, enterprise customers have the ability to bring unique NB-IoT solutions to market quickly.
by Ofer Weill, Director of Product Marketing at DriveNets; edited and augmented by Alan J Weissberger
Networking software startup DriveNets announced in February that it had raised $110 million in first round (Series A) of venture capital funding. With headquarters in Ra’anana, Israel, DriveNets’ cloud-based service, called Network Cloud, simplifies the deployment of new services for carriers at a time when many telcos are facing declining profit margins. Bessemer Venture Partners and Pitango Growth are the lead VC investors in the round, which also includes money from an undisclosed number of private angel investors.
DriveNets was founded in 2015 by telco experts Ido Susan and Hillel Kobrinsky who are committed to creating the best performing CSP Networks and improving its economics. Network Cloud was designed and built for CSPs (Communications Service Providers), addressing their strict resilience, security and QoS requirements, with zero compromise.
“We believe Network Cloud will become the networking model of the future,” said DriveNets co-founder and CEO Ido Susan, in a statement. “We’ve challenged many of the assumptions behind traditional routing infrastructures and created a technology that will allow service providers to address their biggest challenges like the exponential capacity growth, 5G deployments and low-latency AI applications.”’
Network Cloud does not use open-source code. It’s an “unbundled” networking software solution, which runs over a cluster of low-cost white box routers and white box x86 based compute servers. DriveNets has developed its own Network Operating System (NOS) rather than use open source or Cumulus’ NOS as several other open networking software companies have done.
Fully disaggregated, its shared data plane scales-out linearly with capacity demand. A single Network Cloud can encompass up to 7,600 100Gb ports in its largest configuration. Its control plane scales up separately, consolidating any service and routing protocol.
Network Cloud data-plane is created from just two building blocks white boxes – NCP for packet forwarding and NCF for fabric, shrinking operational expenses by reducing the number of hardware devices, software versions and change procedures associated with building and managing the network. The two white-boxes (NCP and NCF) are based on Broadcom’s Jericho2 chipset which has high-speed, high-density port interfaces of 100G and 400G bits/sec. A single virtual chassis for max ports might have this configuration: 30720 x 10G/25G / 7680 x 100G / 1920 x 400G bits/sec.
Last month, DriveNets disaggregated router added 400G-port routing support (via whitebox routers using the aforementioned Broadcom chipset). The latest Network Cloud hardware and software is now being tested and certified by an undisclosed tier-1 Telco customer.
“Just like hyper-scale cloud providers have disaggregated hardware and software for maximum agility, DriveNets is bringing a similar approach to the service provider router market. It is impressive to see it coming to life, taking full advantage of the strength and scale of our Jericho2 device,” said Ram Velaga, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Switch Products Division at Broadcom.
Network Cloud control-plane runs on a separate compute server and is based on containerized microservices that run different routing services for different network functions (Core, Edge, Aggregation, etc.). Where they are co-located, service-chaining allows sharing of the same infrastructure for all router services.
Multi-layer resiliency, with auto failure recovery, is a key feature of Network Cloud. There is inter-router redundancy and geo-redundancy of control to select a new end to end path by routing around points of failure.
Network Cloud’s orchestration capabilities include Zero Touch Provisioning, full life cycle management and automation, as well as superior diagnostics with unmatched transparency. These are illustrated in the figures below:
Image Courtesy of DriveNets
Future New Services:
Network Cloud is a platform for new revenue generation. For example, adding 3rd party services as separate micro-services, such as DDoS Protection, Managed LAN to WAN, Network Analytics, Core network and Edge network.
“Unlike existing offerings, Network Cloud has built a disaggregated router from scratch. We adapted the data-center switching model behind the world’s largest clouds to routing, at a carrier-grade level, to build the world’s largest Service Providers’ networks. We are proud to show how DriveNets can rapidly and reliably deploy technological innovations at that scale,” said Ido Susan CEO and Co-Founder of DriveNets in a press release.