NB-IOT – a driving paradigm shifts in industrial IOT

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In continuation of earlier blog, we had highlighted key challenge in terms of battery life which hampers the adoption of IIOT infrastructure. Here, are some more deterrent factor which impede the IIOT growth in remote areas where network coverage is utmost critical

Enabling new wave of Industrial connectivity

The NB-IoT standard has a capability to offer maximum coverage of 23 dB against LTE. However, the coverage is highly reliant based network deployment & configuration. The key limitations of NB-IoT coverage are based on the performance of the IoT devices and network equipment, network design, deployment & configuration as well as interoperability amongst devices platforms. Thus, the real coverage gains are likely to be limited.

Deepening coverage: offers ubiquitous connectivity

For the faster adoption of IIOT, seamless coverage in remote locations or the terrains which are yet in-accessible particularly indoors or underground applications are paramount. For instance, a wireless sensor at the underground smart parking facility needs network coverage to trigger a notification in case of parking availability. Similarly, smart meters and other IOT sensors which are employed into the basement or deep in-building needed adequate coverage to transfer data. In both cases, deep coverage and access are requisite for smooth functioning which LTE network fails to deliver.

Hence, coverage needs to be augmented with NB-IoT standard, which has a capability to offer maximum coverage of 23 dB over LTE. However, the coverage is highly reliant on the network deployment & its configuration. The key limitations of NB-IoT coverage are based on the IoT’s devices performance, network equipment, network design as well as interoperability amongst devices platforms. Thus, the real coverage gains may be limited in real world scenarios.

To strengthen their coverage and optimised cost, operators can deploy NB-IOT along with the existing LTE infrastructure, to attain deeper in-building or underground coverage. Although, the coverage boost in NB-IoT comes at the expense of Quality of Service.

Monitoring and aligning stimulated results

The device manufacturer needs to stimulate various RF scenarios which include remote areas, underground installation and other industrial environment. This is paramount as RF conditions are quite unique in each use case scenario. Once, the IIOT network established, the service provider needs to perform field test to ensure the simulated results which are aligned with real-time conditions. These results provide the necessary parameters which allow optimizing network coverage as well as ensure optimal Quality of Service (QoS).

Collaborative approach: enhanced coverage & seamless connectivity

NB-IoT holds a great potential in rapidly expanding in Industrial IOT. However, the success of NB-IoT devices depend significantly on various elements across the value chain viz. network design, OEMs, device manufacturer and service providers. A collective effort will likely to address key challenges in terms of battery life and network coverage. Moreover, performing field tests enable to assess the actual performance of the network, which is essential for the function IoT network. Thus, collaborative and joint efforts within the ecosystem will lead to the success of NB-IOT which in turn enhances coverage and seamless connectivity.

NB-IOT is characterised by enhanced indoor coverage, support number of low throughput devices, low delay sensitivity, low power consumption, optimised network architecture, and is ultra-cost efficient.

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