LPWAN to Application standardization within the IETF

By Juan Carlos Zuniga, Sigfox, IETF Internet Area Co-Chair, (edited by Alan J Weissberger)

Introduction:

Amongst the plethora of different Internet of Things (IoT) technologies [see Addendum], Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) [1] offer mature and well-established solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Note 1.  A LPWAN is a type of wireless telecommunication wide area network designed to allow long range communications with low power consumption, low cost interface and a relatively low bit rate for the IIoT.  There are many types of LPWANs.  Some like LTE-M and NB-IoT use licensed spectrum, while others such as Sigfox and LoRaWAN use unlicensed spectrum.

LPWANs enables IoT systems to be designed for use cases that require devices to send small amounts of data periodically over often-remote networks that span many miles and use battery-powered devices that need to last many years.

LPWANs achieve those attributes by having the IoT devices (“things”) send only small packets of information periodically or even infrequently—status updates, reports, etc.—upon waking from an external trigger or at a preprogrammed time interval.

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In order to enable these IIoT connectivity solutions, a common standard is needed to allow the various types of LPWANs to communicate with applications using a common language.  For this to occur, each network must have the ability to connect to the Internet.  However, due to the severely restrictive nature of LPWANs, the abilities of Internet Protocols, specifically IPv6, cannot sufficiently meet the needs of these networks.

To overcome these issues, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) chartered the LPWAN working group (WG) in 2016 to identify common functionality needs across LPWANs and to standardize the protocols that could enable these functionalities across the various networks.

The goal of the IETF LPWAN WG is to converge the diverse LPWAN radio technologies toward a common hourglass model that will provide users with a standard management strategy across networks and enable common Internet-based services to the applications.

To achieve this goal, the IETF LPWAN WG has produced the Static Context Header Compression and Fragmentation (SCHC) [2] specification, an ultralightweight adaptation layer uniquely designed to support the extremely restricted communication resources of LPWAN technologies.

Note 2.  SCHC is expected to become a recognized acronym like several  other IETF protocols (e.g. HTTP, TCP, DHCP, DNS, IP, etc.).  Please see illustration below of SCHC Architecture.

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SCHC will soon be published as a new IETF RFC.  Again, it’s objective is to achieve interoperability across the leading LPWANs, including Sigfox, LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and IEEE 802.15.4w(LPWA) [3].

Note 3.  IEEE 802.15.4w or LPWA

Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) extension to the IEEE Std 802.15.4 LECIM PHY layer to cover network cell radii of typically 10-15km in rural areas and deep in-building penetration in urban areas. It uses the LECIM FSK (Frequency Shift Keying) PHY modulation schemes with extensions to lower bit-rates (e.g. payload bit-rate typically < 30 kb/s). Additionally, it extends the frequency bands to additional sub-GHz unlicensed and licensed frequency bands to cover the market demand. For improved robustness in channels with high levels of interference, it defines mechanisms for the fragmented transmission of Forward Error Correction (FEC) code-words, as well as time and frequency patterns for the transmission of the fragments. Furthermore, it defines lower code rates of the FEC in addition to the K=7 R=1/2 convolutional code. Modifications to the Medium Access Control (MAC) layer, needed to support this PHY extension, are defined.

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Why do LPWANs need their own interoperability standard?

The common characteristics of LPWANs include a power-optimized radio network, a simple star network topology, frame sizes in the order of tens of bytes transmitted a few times per day at ultra-low speeds, and a mostly upstream transmission pattern that allows devices to spend most of their time in sleep mode. These characteristics lead to ultra-long-range networks that allow for connected devices to have an extremely long battery life and be sold at a very low cost, enabling simple and scalable deployments.

LPWANs are especially well-suited for deployments in environments where battery recharging or swapping is not an option and where only a very low rate of data reporting is required. Also, LPWAN networks are fundamentally different than other networks, as they have been designed to handle infrequent message exchanges of payloads as small as approximately 10 bytes.

To manage these very specific constraints, the IETF has developed the SCHC adaptation layer, which is located between the network layer (e.g. IPv6) and the underlying LPWAN radio technology. SCHC comprises two independent sublayers – header compression and fragmentation – which are critical to meeting the specific characteristics of LPWANs.

The SCHC header compression sublayer has been tailored specifically for LPWAN technologies, and it is capable of compressing protocols such as IPv6, UDP and CoAP. It relies on the infrequent variability of LPWAN applications to define static contexts that are known a priori to both protocol end points.

The SCHC fragmentation sublayer, on the other hand, offers a generic approach to provide both data reliability and the capability of transmitting larger payload sizes over the extremely constrained LPWAN packet sizes and the extremely severe message rate limitations. Even though the fragmentation sublayer mechanisms have been designed to transport long IPv6 packets, they can equally be applied to non-IP data messages and payloads, as the functionality can be implemented independent of the header compression.

In order to be fully operational across LPWAN technologies, SCHC has been developed by the IETF under a generic and flexible approach that aims to address the common and unique requirements of these networks. The SCHC specification offers enough flexibility to optimize the parameter settings that need to be used over each LPWAN technology.

The IETF LPWAN WG is now working on the development of different SCHC profiles optimized for each individual LPWAN technology, including Sigfox, LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and IEEE 802.15.4w. Future work also includes definition of data models to represent the static contexts, as well as operation, administration and management (OAM) tools for LPWANs.

Here’s an illustration of the Sigfox SCHC:

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From the early stage IETF Sigfox SCHC profile spec:

The Static Context Header Compression (SCHC) specification describes a header compression scheme and a fragmentation functionality for Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies.
SCHC offers a great level of flexibility that can be tailored for different LPWAN technologies. 
The present (early stage) document provides the optimal parameters and modes of operation when SCHC is implemented over a Sigfox LPWAN.

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Addendum –by Alan J Weissberger

IEEE definition of IoT:

“An IoT system is a network of networks where, typically, a massive number of objects, things, sensors or devices are connected through communications and information infrastructure to provide value-added services via intelligent intelligent data processing processing and management management for different different applications (e.g. smart cities, smart health, smart grid, smart home, smart transportation, and smart shopping).”
— IEEE Internet of Things Journal

IoT communications over LPWANs should be:
 Low cost,
 Low power,
 Long battery life duration,
 High number of connections,
 Low bitrate,
 Long range,
 Low processing capacity,
 Low storage capacity,
 Small size devices,
 Simple network architecture and protocols

Also see IETF draft RFC 8376  LPWAN Overview

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Sigfox Network Characteristics:

 First LPWAN Technology
 The physical layer based on an Ultra-Narrow band wireless modulation
 Proprietary system
 Low throughput ( ~100 bps)
 Low power
 Extended range (up to 50 km)
 140 messages/day/device
 Subscription-based model
 Cloud platform with Sigfox –defined API for server access
 Roaming capability

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References:

https://www.ackl.io/blog/ietf-standardization-working-group-enabling-ip-connectivity-over-lpwan

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2017/10/25/lora-wan-and-sigfox-lead-lpwans-interoperability-via-compression/

https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-lpwan-schc-over-sigfox-00

 

2019 IoT World: Market Research from Ovum & Heavy Reading; LPWAN Market to be >$65 billion by 2025

I.  IoT World May 14, 2019 presentation by Alexandra Rehak, Practice Leader IoT, Ovum and Steve Bell,  Sr. Analyst, Heavy Reading.

Edited by Alan J Weissberger

Ovum Forecasts:

  • IoT devices will grow to 21.5bn by 2023, while revenue will nearly double to $860bn.
  • Key trends driving IoT evolution in 2019: enabling technologies, new business models, (industry) verticalization, big data & analytics, new tools, e.g. AI/ML.
  • Drivers for IoT deployment still focus on efficiency and customer
    experience, but many enterprises are looking for new revenue.  Top 4 IoT drivers are to improve: operation efficiency, customer engagement & experience, strategic decision making based on actionable insights, new revenue streams from value added products/services.
  • The biggest enterprise IoT challenge is data – how to secure it, how
    to derive analytics value from it, how to integrate it.  Top 3 barriers to enterprise IoT deployment: data security & privacy (has been top concern for last 10+ years), data analytics skills/data scientists, difficult to integrate with existing IT (and likely OT too), complexity of technical implementation (and systems integration).

Enabling Technologies:

 1.  LPWAN will be a key enabler for cheaper, massive scale IoT
connectivity – and 2019 will be the year it finally takes off (Alan has heard that for several years now!  However, NB-IoT and LoRa are growing very quickly in 2019.)

• <$1 per month connectivity

• <$10 modules

• Low bandwidth, long battery life, extended coverage characteristics

• Use cases: smart cities, consumer IoT, asset monitoring, environmental monitoring

•  NB-IoT, LTE-M, LoRa, Sigfox are the big four LP WANs

2.  5G enables enhanced IoT digital capabilities:

▪ High bandwidth services – eg UHD video
▪ Critical applications, which require low latency – e.g., autonomous driving, industrial applications (3GPP Release 16 and IMT 2020 approved standard)
▪ High bandwidth, low latency services – e.g., augmented reality
▪ Information intensive routines, which require low latency performance– eg smart advertising, True AI (is what we have today fake AI?)
▪ Services that can – but don’t readily – work over 4G, e.g., mobile video conferencing

3.  Edge and the IoT opportunity:

Virtualized services (including gateways and vCPE), FOG nodes, life cycle management, linking silos (systems and data), many different applications, data analytics, AI/ML/DL, threat intelligence, device management services, security credential management.

4. Blockchain is still early-stage as an IoT enabler, but promising use
cases are emerging

  • Authentication of devices joining IoT network
  • Supply chain management and verification
  • Smart grid microcontracts
  • Autonomous vehicles

Blockchain will not suit all IoT security and contract requirements.  That’s because it’s: Complex, heavy processing load, not yet fully commercialized, private blockchain space is fragmented, need for supporting regulatory/legal frameworks Autonomous vehicles.

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Industrial IoT (IIoT):

It’s becoming a core focus for the market – and an important testbed for 5G. Requires ultra reliable and very low latency.

IIoT is moving beyond efficiency gains:
• IIoT will grow in importance in 2019
• Drivers: efficiency and margins, competitive positioning, ‘job lots of one’
• Challenges: IT/OT integration, security, traditional business models
• Applications: simple asset tracking/monitoring to complex propositions (predictive maintenance, digital twin, robotics, autonomy)
• IoT, 5G, and AI form virtuous circle for industrial sector and factory
campuses
Private LTE as another enabler (Steve Bell of Heavy Reading was very optimistic on this during the Thursday morning, May 17th round table discussion on 5G and LTE for IoT).  So is this author!

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IoT value chain: evolution from ‘platform providers’ to ‘end-to-end
solution providers,’ simplifying the buying process.  An end-to-end solution requires: sensors/devices/hardware, connectivity, platform (connectivity and device control/management), applications, analytics, integration.

Value chain evolution is also driving IoT business model innovation, for both enterprises and providers.  For connectivity, this includes: flat rate IoT connectivity pricing (e.g. $5 per year), bundled IoT device connectivity, alternative IoT connectivity providers (e.g. Sigfox, Zigbee mesh, BT mesh, etc), private LTE (licensed frequencies so not contention for bandwidth as with WiFi).

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Summary and Recommendations:

  • Enabling IoT technologies: 5G, LPWAN, edge, blockchain – developing
    quickly – but shouldn’t be seen in isolation.
  • IoT data usage & security: Focus of customer concern – stronger support,
    simpler tools needed to deliver value through analytics, eventually AI.
  • Vertical strategies: Industries face significant disruption – understand
    how IoT will help your customer to transform and address these shifts.
  • New IoT business models: increasingly sophisticated – end customers
    very interested, but need help to understand them, manage risk.

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II.  LPWAN Market Forecast from Global Market Insights, Inc.

The LPWAN market is set to grow from its current market value of more than $1.5 billion (€1.3 billion) to over $65 billion (€58.2 billion) by 2025, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.

Low power wide area network market growth is driven by the growing deployment of LPWA technologies, including LoRa, NB-IoT, and LTE-M, offering a wide range of connectivity options to enterprises. These technologies provide broader network coverage and better battery life to connect various devices. LPWAN networks are becoming very popular among enterprises to support various IoT use cases for verticals including healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, logistics, and utilities.

For instance, the rising penetration of Industrial IoT (IIoT) in the manufacturing industry has increased the demand for LPWA technologies, particularly NB-IoT and LTE-M, to enable reliable machine-to-machine communication. Industrial IoT connections are expected to increase nearly five times between 2016 and 2025, from 2.4 billion to around 14 billion connections.

By deploying LPWAN connections, manufacturing companies can increase their operational efficiencies to drive high productivity. Another factor fuelling the LPWAN market growth is increasing investments by companies in LPWAN technologies. For instance, in June 2017, Cisco contributed to a US$ 75 million Series D funding round for Actility, a LPWAN startup. Cisco’s investments in Actility enabled it to accelerate the development of IoT solutions.

The LPWAN platforms held a major market share of over 70% in 2018 owing to the deployment of various platforms, including NB-IoT, LoRaWAN, Sigfox, and LTE-M. Massive IoT deployments in various industry verticals, including utilities, manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare, has increased the demand for LPWAN platforms to support connected devices requiring low power consumption, long range, and low costs. Among all the platforms, LoRaWAN platforms held the highest market share of over 50% in 2018 as they use unlicensed spectrum and are best suited for applications that generate low traffic and require low-cost sensors.

In the services segment, the managed services segment is expected to hold low power wide area network market share of around over 30% in 2025. Managed services enable organisations to accelerate the deployment of LPWAN and reduce the time & expenses spent on training the IT staff. The on-premise deployment model is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 50% over the projected timeline. The demand for this deployment model will increase as it enables organisations to build & manage their own LPWAN for IoT-based applications.

 

References:

Ovum’s latest video on IoT with Alexandra Rehak: https://ovum.informa.com/products-and-services/research-services/internet-of-things

https://ovum.informa.com/resources/product-content/lpwan-tracker-update-lorawan-leads-live-network-deployments-iot002-000005

http://images.intelligence.informa.com/Web/InformaUKLimited/%7B1307c76d-8210-41e4-bec3-ff2db28b0403%7D_Research_Agenda_2019_-IoT.pdf

https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/low-power-wide-area-network-lpwan-market

https://www.iot-now.com/2019/05/22/96056-low-power-wide-area-network-market-valued-us65bn-2025-gmi-report-says/

 

2019 IoT World: T-Mobile is Changing the Game for Massive IoT via NB-IoT

Introduction:

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.  [1]

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. 

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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. 

Figure 1: Cellular IoT segments

Above chart courtesy of Ericsson.

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T-Mo has wireless networks to meet all of the above IoT market segmants.  In particular, NB-IoT, 4G-LTE, and (soon) 5G.

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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

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NB-IoT meets the requirements for Massive IoT:

Operates in guard bands of T-Mobile’s LTE network. [2]

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.

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Here’s a comparison chart showing: 2G,  licensed spectrum NB-IoT vs unlicensed band Sigfox and LoRa (WAN):

Chart courtesy of T-Mobile USA

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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.

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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.

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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%.

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References:

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/americas-first-narrowband-iot-network

https://iot.t-mobile.com/narrowband/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/04/27/t-mobile-u-s-profit-beats-estimates-plan-to-launch-5g-on-600-mhz-in-2h-2019/

https://www.gsma.com/iot/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/NB-IoT_Deployment_Guide_v2_5Apr2018.pdf

https://iot.t-mobile.com/hackathon/

https://iot.t-mobile.com/wp-content/themes/T-Mobile/device_images/pdf_download/Whitepaper_NarrowBand_IoT_March2019.pdf

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/05/15/2019-iot-world-verizons-narrowband-iot-nb-iot-network-now-covers-92-of-u-s/

 

2019 IoT World: Verizon’s Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) Network now covers 92% of U.S.

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.

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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.

Conclusions:

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.

 

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-extends-iot-leadership

https://thingspace.verizon.com/partners/aws/

Narrowband – Internet of Things (NB-IoT)

Rogers Communications to launch national LTE-M network for IoT in Canada

Rogers plan to launch an LTE Cat M1 network (LTE-M) to help businesses connect and track their assets in real time – using solutions such as logistics tracking, alarm monitoring, and smart metering. LTE-M will connect fixed and mobile low-power IoT devices to carry critical information over long distances, with longer battery life and better network coverage in hard to reach areas. This investment in LTE-M will make IoT solutions more accessible for Canadian businesses, to help them innovate and save money and time.   Network speeds and pricing weren’t announced.

LTE-M is used for fixed and mobile low-power IoT devices sending/receiving data over long distances, particularly for devices needing longer battery life and better network coverage in hard to reach areas.  Telecommunications companies have a long list of potential IoT uses including monitoring pipelines, tracking tools, pallets and factory equipment, home smart meters, monitoring waste bins, street lighting sensors and building infrastructure (HVAC).

“As leaders in IoT, we are committed to supporting our customers as they explore the capabilities and benefits available through Rogers rapidly growing IoT ecosystem,” said Dean Prevost, President, Enterprise, Rogers Communications. “With the launch of LTE-M, we are empowering the adoption of reliable, low cost, and secure IoT solutions that support a variety of use cases such as asset tracking, smart cities, utilities, transportation, and supply chain management.”

The national rollout of LTE-M will start with an initial launch in Ontario by the end of 2018, followed by additional provinces throughout 2019, and a full national rollout completed by 2020. This investment is a stepping stone in Rogers multi-year technology plan to bring 5G to Canadians with its network partner, Ericsson.

“Rogers has a strong history of innovation in IoT. LTE-M continues that leadership and is a key part of our plan towards building a 5G-ready network,” said Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology Officer, Rogers Communications. “LTE-M will bring Massive IoT to life – a market with tremendous scale for connected devices – and will fundamentally improve how Canadian businesses and cities operate.”

LTE-M is also a great alternative option for all machine-to-machine connections that are still using the 2G network. As LTE-M is rolled out, Rogers will provide its customers with clear and simple options to enhance their service experience when they choose to migrate and upgrade their 2G IoT devices and benefit from all the new capabilities provided by LTE-M. In addition, LTE-M will also enable future consumer IoT applications such as wearables, monitoring and tracking solutions.

“IoT is now a mainstream tool of Canadian businesses, with 81% of medium and large-sized Canadian organizations using IoT solutions today, up from 70% last year[1],” said Nigel Wallis, Vice President, Internet of Things and Industry Research, IDC Canada. “The development of industry-specific IoT solutions addresses unique business needs, like smart utilities and smart asset tracking. Low-power wide area networks (LPWAN) enable businesses to re-think traditional operations practices, and to innovate in ways they would not have attempted before.”

Rogers’ LTE-M website notes that while an IoT device can be installed in an underground parking garage, thick concrete walls can impact coverage, An LTE-based network will help.

The site says LTE-M will offer enhanced wireless coverage; low device cost, because devices for that network are less expensive than current devices; less power drain and extended battery life. LTE-M also can handoff from a Wi-Fi to a cellular network, making it practical for mobile asset tracking needs such as monitoring shipping containers, fleet vehicles or people (for example, patient monitoring). LTE-M supports voice recognition, which is important for alarms and security applications.

Rogers is expanding its portfolio of IoT solutions to meet the needs of Canadian businesses and municipalities. IoT solution providers who are interested in working with Rogers, or participating in LTE-M field trials are invited to submit an application here.

To learn more about LTE-M, visit the Rogers Business Forum.

About Rogers:
Rogers is a leading diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada’s largest provider of wireless communications services and one of Canada’s leading providers of cable television, high-speed Internet, information technology, and telephony services to consumers and businesses. Through Rogers Media, we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, sports, televised and online shopping, magazines, and digital media. Our shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI).

1 State of IoT Adoption in Canada: 2018, IDC Canada

SOURCE Rogers Communications Canada Inc

CONTACT: media@rci.rogers.com, 647-747-5118

Superb Article on What’s Wrong with Communications Industry by Steve Saunders, co-founder of Light Reading

Here’s the url for Steve Saunder’s spot on the money article:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-communications-steve-saunders/

The only add on I have to Steve’s  exquisite post is that the lack of standards is pervasive throughout the WAN space:

  1. SD WANs are a single vendor solution  – no UNI or NNI specified or being worked on by an accredited standards body.
  2. NFV: No standards for exposed interfaces, APIs (NFV orchestrator (NFVO) to/from virtual appliances), no backward compatibility between virtual appliances and physical appliances, no standard for network management or fault isolation/repair, etc.
  3. Every major Cloud Service Provider (CSP) has their own defacto standards/specs and APIs, e.g. Amazon, Google, MSFT, etc
  4. Every major CSP has their own connectivity solution(s) from customer premises network to their point of presence (PoP);  and their own method for realizing a virtual private cloud (VPC)
  5. Every CSP and network service provider has their own definition and implementation of SDN, including one or more southbound API (s) to/from Control Plane to data plane.  That southbound API was supposed to be ONLY OpenFlow according to the ONF.  The Northbound API was never standardized and there are many  options.  Many SDNs use an overlay network and virtualization of network functions while others do not.  Equipment and software built for one provider’s SDN won’t operate on another’s as the specs are different and usually proprietary.
  6. Far too many LPWANs for IoT:  Sigfox (by company with same name), LoRa WAN,  Weightless SIG (unidirectional Weightless-N, bidirectional Weightless-P and Weightless-W), NB-IoT, LTE Cat M1, many other proprietary versions like RPMA (from Ingenu).
  7. The message sets between “things”/IoT devices  and the cloud controller have not been standardized.  Neither is the functions of an “IoT Platform” which has become a wild west menagerie of incompatible platforms from hundreds of vendors.
  8. Every so called “5G” deployment planned before IMT 2020 has been completed (end of 2020) is proprietary.  The only thing in common seems to be use of 3GPP release 15 “5G New Radio” which is not a standard.   That implies mobile 5G will have severe roaming problems when moving from one 5G carrier to another.

 

And the list goes on and on and on……………………………………….

Without agreed upon standards, the upshot is that the big cloud players (Google, Amazon, FB, Microsoft, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, etc) will dominate communications in the future (I think they already dominate all of IT!!)

Also, the rise of open source hardware organizations (OCP, TIP, ONF, etc) along with Taiwan/China ODMs have profoundly changed the communications industry.  With so many open source white boxes and bare metal switches available, there is little or no value add for vendor specific network equipment other than possibly higher performance (e.g. throughput).

Global Data: 5G Enterprise Market Business Case May NOT Be Compelling

Is it possible for anyone to throw cold water on the 5G market potential  and diminish ultra hyped expectations?  YES!

5G use cases may not be compelling enough for massive uptake by businesses, according to Kathryn Weldon, technology research director at GlobalData.  Weldon offered her view on upcoming challenges for mobile operators:

“While 5G services are not yet ‘live’ this next generation of wireless technology is already top of mind for service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other telecom market ecosystem players. Aside from gearing up to build out the technology, they will be working together to make sure that 5G use cases are compelling – that is, different enough from 4G to matter to customers. As with any new generation of wireless, the stakes are high, and operators are hoping that they’ll make back their substantial investments in 5G. For most operators, this should come via a ‘massive’ uptake of connectivity, plus revenues from advanced services spanning both consumers and business customers.”

Operators need to move beyond their current barrage of technology build-out narratives and discussions of fixed vs. mobile services, she emphasized. “Rather, it’s the use cases and business outcomes that will make the difference. Operators need to deliver novel and compelling capabilities that change how business customers see and use cellular services.”

Enterprises have different requirements than consumers:

“As 5G communications traffic is expected from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in industrial robots, roads, and vehicles and can leverage the technology’s reliability and low latency to control critical services and infrastructure for public safety, healthcare, government organizations, and utilities. But the ROI for these applications must be compelling.”

Weldon further acknowledged that questions remain:“Will the enterprise appetite to spend more to use these futuristic use cases exist when 5G networks become a reality? Will devices to support these applications be in place once those networks are ready? Will businesses finally see wireless as a valid replacement for wireline broadband? And lastly, will operators be able to offer all these futuristic services profitably? Only time will tell.

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Last year, Global Data said 5G networks will become mainstream by 2020, but Europe will lag behind Asia and the US, as operators seek to make the most of 4G, according to GlobalData, a recognized leader in providing business information and analytics. The company’s 5G report forecasts that while over half of all mobile subscriptions will be 5G-capable in South Korea by 2022, compared only around 7% in Europe.

5G will, for the first time, go beyond increased bandwidth and capacity, as was the focus in previous wireless generations, adding low latency, high density and high reliability. These capabilities will enable a variety of use cases, opening the door to new, predominantly business-focused services such as self-driving cars and smart cities. 5G also supports the focus that many operators have in looking for new, adjacent revenue streams, including fixed-mobile integration, digital content and the Internet of Things.

Peter Jarich, Chief Analyst for GlobalData Technology, adds: “Hopes are running high for the potential of 5G to truly transform mobile business models, and tap new revenue opportunities moving beyond consumers and into diverse digital industries. The implications go beyond any individual operator to impact national and regional competitiveness.

“Despite this, for all the efforts to fast-track early 5G deployments, it’s important to recognize that 5G rollouts will take years to complete; no region or country has won or lost the race to 5G yet.”

 

IoT Market Research: Internet Of Things Eclipses The Internet Of People

by Patrick Seitz, Investors Business Daily

For years, technologists have talked about the coming age of IoT, or the Internet of Things.   For every person on the internet doing work or being entertained, a multitude of machines are automatically reporting device location, temperature, speed and other status data online. About 4 billion people use the internet. But that number is dwarfed by the roughly 12 billion devices sending data over the internet, often with little or no human intervention.

And the movement is just getting started. Research firm IHS Markit expects the number of machines linked to the internet to more than quadruple, reaching 55 billion, by 2025. That leaves a lot more room to run.

“We’re just starting to move out of the pilot phase,” IDC analyst Carrie MacGillivray said.

Tech companies big and small are scrambling to make their mark in the still-emerging IoT field, which promises to be a huge financial opportunity. They range from chip companies selling sensors and processors for IoT devices to software firms that want to store and analyze data collected from those billions of devices.

IDC predicts that spending on IoT hardware, software and services will reach $1.2 trillion by 2022. That compares with $630 billion in 2017. IDC sees the market posting a compound annual growth rate of 13.5% over that period.  “It will reach critical mass by 2020,” IDC’s MacGillivray said.

Internet of Things (IoT) concept

One analyst expects the number of machines linked to the internet to more than quadruple, reaching 55 billion, by 2025. (©Dave Culter)

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Some niches are well into deployment, such as smart meter readers. Instead of sending out workers house to house to record water, gas and electricity usage, devices transmit that data directly to the company.

The basic building blocks of the Internet of Things are connectivity, distributed computing and platforms, IHS Markit’s Short said. Those building blocks are available today, but companies are still sorting out best practices.

“They’re not sexy to talk about, but they are legitimately transformative,” he said.

Whichever companies can establish the leading software platforms and ecosystems will win the market, Short said.

IHS Markit is tracking over 400 different IoT software platforms now covering connectivity, applications and data exchange. Customers are having to mix and match from a dizzying array of offerings to make complete IoT systems.

Short expects to see major players like Microsoft acquiring smaller software firms so they can build out their Internet of Things offerings and reduce the complexity of systems. Security for those systems also is a major concern that’s being addressed.

“Obviously there is going to be a lot of consolidation as those companies get bought up,” he said.

The way Zebra sees it, the business of Internet of Things involves three steps: sense, analyze and act. Sensors report the status of inventory or equipment, systems analyze the data and then businesses take action based on what they interpret from the data.

The next step for the Internet of Things will involve artificial intelligence and automation of responses to the collected data.

The exciting part of the industrial Internet of Things will come when companies start analyzing all the data they are collecting from IoT devices to garner useful insights to improve their operations, Short says.

That means going beyond simple asset tracking into data mining and simulations using artificial intelligence.

“When you start to implement multiple of these technologies is where you start to see the power,” Short said.

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From Business Insider:

 

 

Here are some key takeaways from Business Insider report:

  • We project that there will be more than 55 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 9 billion in 2017.
  • We forecast that there will be nearly $15 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2017 and 2025, with survey data showing that companies’ plans to invest in IoT solutions are accelerating.
  • The report highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; deployment and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.

In full, the report:

  • Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem.
  • Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward, and highlights areas of interest in the coming years.
  • Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why.
  • Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies that are implementing IoT solutions

AT&T acquires AlienVault; says its customers demanded NB-IoT

1. AT&T buys AlienVault:

AT&T has announced plans to acquire cybersecurity company AlienVault. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2007, AlienVault offers a number of tools for detecting and responding to security threats through its Unified Security Management (USM) platform, while its Open Threat Exchange (OTX) platform serves as an online community where security professionals and researchers can share their latest findings and threat data.

2.  AT&T to offer NB-IoT:

AT& already offers cellular LPWAN services (LTE Category 1 and LTE Category M1) for its IoT customers who want to connect devices, assets and equipment to the cloud.  Now, AT&T says NB-IoT opens up new use cases for IoT.  However, the company did not reveal pricing for its NB-IoT data plan(s).

“We already are using LTE-M, and based on a lot of customer feedback we felt that we needed complementary services for other use cases, such as in a fixed asset tracking environment with very low bandwidth uses,” said Shiraz Hasan, VP, IoT solutions at AT&T. “The motivation is cost savings primarily, and the other thing is the ability to utilize the tech a little better because it penetrates even better than LTE-M.”

Shiraz said AT&T has a lot of customers in the security and alarm industries, and that many of these companies are evaluating IoT technology and learning that NB-IoT may serve their needs best. Alarms and locks are often located deep within buildings, so using cellular connectivity to monitor equipment health requires radio transmissions that can penetrate thick walls.

https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/at-t-says-customer-demand-prompted-nb-iot-launch

 

AT&T – Nokia Partnership for Reliable IoT Connectivity

AT&T is partnering with Nokia to provide reliable connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  Chris Penrose, the President of the IoT Solutions of AT&T, said the carrier’s enterprise customers will benefit from this partnership through the simplified adoption of IoT devices and the improved ability of the network operator to respond to the concerns of its customers. Furthermore, the carrier noted in its announcement that this partnership enables AT&T to address specific business concerns of companies using latest technologies including 5G network slicing.

Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING), a service that is developed and managed by Nokia, will be used by AT&T.  WING assists network operators in managing IoT devices, securing connected appliances, and facilitating the billing of the carrier’s customers. Another advantage of utilizing Nokia’s WING service is that it allows AT&T’s customers to access the global IoT ecosystem and infrastructure of the Finnish tech firm. It is expected that the core network assets of Nokia’s WING service will become available in 20 different countries by 2020.

AT&T will also utilize its own cloud-based service dubbed as the Multi-Network Connect platform. This platform enables businesses to manage their IoT devices remotely using a variety of communication technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), and satellite. Aside from the compatibility with a variety of communications standards, the carrier claims that another benefit of using its Multi-Network Connect platform is the ability to manage and monitor the devices using a single portal.

The partnership will begin developing, testing and launching IoT offerings this year. Offerings will be available in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and the Middle East by the first quarter of 2020. The partners will target a number of industries, including transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, utilities, consumer electronics and smart cities. The initiative will “help set the stage for the evolution to global 5G,” according to the companies.

More specifically, the partnership will:

  • Address specific business requirements through capabilities like 5G network slicing that allows a single network to be partitioned into multiple networks.
  • Meet local regulatory requirements for IoT devices.

This is not the only IoT partnership in which AT&T is involved. In February, the mega telco and Ericsson said that they are teaming  up for IoT device certification. The collaboration includes testing, verification and “white glove” assistance with regulatory approval process. The program is available in more than 150 countries.

Early last year, AT&T said that Carrier, one of the world’s largest appliance and equipment manufacturers (made famous by Donald Trump’s visit), will build AT&T’s IoT functionality into its heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) product line.

 

References:

https://www.androidheadlines.com/2018/06/att-nokia-to-provide-reliable-iot-device-connectivity.html

https://www.business.att.com/solutions/Portfolio/internet-of-things/

http://www.telecompetitor.com/att-nokia-iot-partnership-targets-enterprises-worldwide/

 

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