lpwan - exploring the potential of iot · with lpwan operators using ism bands. nb-iot is a threat...

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Page | 1 LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT TATA TELE BUSINESS SERVICES Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

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    LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT


    Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

  • LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT

    Page | 2

    LPWAN - Exploring the potentoal of IoT

    IoT: A mesh of connectivity

    The wide spectrum of IoT

    LPWA standards

    An extended version of LPWA standards

    The influence of service providers on IoT

    Challenges for service providers

    Licensed spectrum vs ISM bands

    Deployment module


    Table of contents

    Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

  • IoT: A mesh of connectivity

    Page | 3

    Around the world, millions of battery-powered things in cities such as car-parking lots, street lights, utility meters (gas and water), pipelines, trash bins, location trackers, environmental sensors, smoke detectors, and water hydrants are now connected to the internet. These objects that are a part of the Internet of Things are forming plenty of applications to improve the operational efficiency of cities and the standard of living in them, for instance, asset tracking, smart parking, smart lighting, and smart building.

    These Internet of Things (IoT) use cases are supported by an emerging wireless IoT infrastructure: the low-power, wide-area (LPWA)

    network operating on unlicensed ISM band.

    The LPWA network is specifically designed and optimised for such use cases that require end devices to be battery powered and have long-distance wireless access over miles:

    • Zero-touch provisioning for scalable deployment

    and maintenance

    • Ease of use for end-device management

    • Tools for wireless packet logger, RF planning,

    and online channel noise scanning

    The wide spectrum of IoT

    Water and GasMetering

    Location Tracking

    Enviromnet Monitoring

    Public Security Street Lighting Smart Parking

    Leak Detection Disaster Precaution Livestock

    Smart Energy Waste Management Agriculture

    LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT

    Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

  • Page | 4

    LPWA standards are off to a good start, with networks in the field in many countries, active customer scenarios, and millions of client devices already in service.

    There are various LPWA standards such as: SigFox, LoRa, Weightless, RPMA, UNB, and others. These

    options vary with respect to distance, range or bandwidth capacity but they have few things in common such as low data rates, long battery life and low cost.

    An extended version of LPWA standards

    LPWA standards

    LTE Cat-1

    LTE Cat-0

    License-exempt spectrum

    LTE Cat-MNB-IoT






    10 Mbps

    1 Mbps

    100 kbps

    20 kbps

    100 kbps


    100 1,000 5,000 Range (m)


    License spectrum

    Solution Model Frequency Range(km) Data Tranfer Rate Packet Size Stage

    Sigfox Proprietary 868/902 MHz Rural: 30-50Urban: 3-10

    Upload: 10 bits Introduction

    Weightless-N Alliance

  • Page | 5

    As worldwide operators are rolling out LTE network, the research and standards are being worked around LTE. The mobile operators are implementing LTE-M and NB-IoT.

    High-bandwidth applications where customers are willing to pay for high reliability will naturally use variations of LTE and GSM. In these cases, the high cost structure of the 3GPP is acceptable.

    Mid-bandwidth applications between 100 kbps and 1 Mbps are likely to use scaled-back versions of LTE such as Cat-M1 or NB-IoT where wide-area perfor-mance is required, and short-range technologies such as Wi-Fi or Zigbee where only local links are required.

    The influence of service providers on IoT


    The low-bandwidth area is the battleground, where the most interesting applications are percolating. Here, LPWA formats are likely to dominate some vertical markets due to their early lead and due to the low cost structure that is developing today. LTE-based approaches are expensive and will be limited to high-reliability applications where a price premium is possible.

    When the NB-IoT standard is finalised and operators start to gain momentum, some operators will achieve wide coverage very quickly. In many cases, mobile operators will use NB-IoT on existing licensed bands, using existing radio equipment in the field. Through a software upgrade, an LTE oper-ator can turn on a nationwide NB-IoT network in a single day.


    Video surveillance, electronic

    billboards, automotive


    Smart home

    connected cars /


    LTE Cat-1



    >1 MbpsCost tolerant,power available

    < 1 MbpsCost sensitive, poweravailable

    Sensor &meters, smart city,agriculture enviromenttransport, industry

    Unidirectional /non-symmetrictraffic

    Multicast / broadcast




    LTE Cat - 1

    Requirements Technology

  • Page | 6

    • LTE Cat-m1 & NB-IoT standards are one year away, with anticipated commercial availability by late 2018 • LTE and other 3GPP based technologies suffer from a cost disadvantage in terms of the intellec tual property cost of LTE. The industry structure has evolved with 2G/3G/4G such that 5-10% of a client device’s cost is paid to a collection of royalty recipients. • The time gap gives advantage to LPWA ecosys tem to establish market presence, the present

    Licensed spectrum vs ISM bands

    equipment installed in the field may not support 3GPP standards.• The LPWA ecosystem has the advantage of diversity and vitality which include startups as well as major technology players that see LPWA as an opportunity. • Licensed-exempt spectrum saves more than money. The time delay associated with licensing a band, deploying equipment, and offering a service is measured in years.

    For this reason, mobile network operators have been making investments in LPWA technologies which are essentially insurance policies on future market uptake in light of the late arrival of a standardised technology.

    Challenges for service providers

    LPWAN on licensed spectrum / NB-IoT

    UsedFrequencies GSM / LTE frequency bands 434 MHz, 868 / 915 MHZ, 2.4 GHZ

    Associated Investment

    • Shared cost of mobile• Infrastructure and license• Frequency reframing cost• Firmware upgrade cost

    Base Stations and emission sites

    Prons• Quick rollout• Lower risk of interference• Creates value for unused resources

    No need for expensive licensedspectrum


    • Other LPWAN already in place• Need for dedicated spectrum to ensure QOS• Most suitable frequencies (700-800 MHz) also needed for LTE

    • Use of crowded bands• Need for new infrastructure to increase coverage

    LPWAN on ISM bands

    LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT

    Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

  • Page | 7

    Deployment module

    ConclusionIn dense cities, where most of the IoT market is located, mobile operators may have to use dedicated spectrum to ensure a better QoS (‘Stand-alone operation’ mode), instead of using scarce, unused LTE resources.

    To use this ‘Stand-alone operation’ mode, mobile operators will however most likely have to negotiate with regulatory authorities, as licenses usually specify which technology is to be used on the band by the operator. In particular, refarming GSM frequencies comes at a cost. Mobile operators will have to keep this cost down, if they want to compete

    Ethernet Backhaul

    Gateway CPE Device

    4G / 3G Antenna(If Cellular backhaul)


    Omni RF Antenna

    RF Feeder Cabel

    GPS Antenna

    POE / Cable

    with LPWAN operators using ISM bands.

    NB-IOT is a threat current to LPWAN operators. It is however unlikely that the associated costs (refarming, firmware upgrade, structure costs) allow for the development of a ‘low-cost’ solution such as the ones existing today.

    LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT

    Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

  • Page | 8

    LPWAN - Exploring the potential of IoT

    Author Name: Tata Tele Business Services

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