NB-IOT revolutionizing connectivity in Industrial IOT space

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Enhanced wireless network coverage density

The evolution of wireless technologies from 2G to 5G have paved the ways for interconnecting network opportunities for IOT in commercial as well as industrial space; which describes the concept of an inter-connected network of physical devices. IoT sensors are increasingly being employed in Internet of Things (IoT) devices not only in commercial applications such as home lighting and security control, but also in industrial applications such as energy and utility management, asset tracking, and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, which in turn opens the new avenues in the industrial IoT, but it also highlight key issue. The present wireless technologies are in-efficient to meet prerequisites standard of surging IIoT like efficient coverage, low power and low data transfer rates. Although, low-power wireless area network (LP-WAN) technologies have been advancing continuously; however, to comply with the requirements, the deployment of such devices may pose security and reliability concern. Particularly, in mission-critical applications where the compatibility issue results in higher operational costs.

As per the latest IHS estimates, ~75 billion smart devices will be in use by 2025, accounting nearly 400% increase over the roughly 15 billion devices in 2019. Thus, telecom operators are investing significantly in such technologies which aid billions of devices.

Narrow band: Enabling efficient coverage

While wireless opportunities in industrial IoT space keep augmenting, the key concerns like in-efficient coverage and battery drainage needs to be addressed for the faster adoption. This is where Narrow Band-IOT fits rightly. Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) is a low data rate, long-range extension of the LTE network defined under 3GPP, which optimized IIoT applications such as smart-metering, smart grid and so on where robust coverage and scalability are imperative. NB-IoT devices are essential, as low bandwidth, seamless connectivity and battery life are requisites for successful deployment IIoT.

Optimising power consumption to enhance battery life

In low coverage areas, more repetitions are essential to transfer data. The more repetitions require longer the duty cycles of the IoT modems which in turn increase power consumption, which reduces battery life. Frequent repetitions due to network misconfiguration or network implementation also have a similar impact. Thus, longer battery life needed to avoid higher cost as battery life is impacted by low coverage.

For long battery life, operational devices need to be categorized under active, idle and sleep modes w.r.t power consumption. Also, device manufacturer needs to comprehend operating conditions better in terms power consumption in various instances, such as remote software update, transmission repetition in extreme coverage, or a device unable to connect to the server. Considering such measures are effective to an extent, however, they are not enough to meet IIoT requirements.

Efficient power saving mechanism

The 3GPP standard stipulates a ‘Power Saving Mode’ to strengthen battery life. PSM enables a device to be in deep-sleep mode and switch-off its circuitry when it is not in active state. This method is quite effective for IoT which characteristically sleep, except when they need to transfer data as per their trigger schedule like smart meter, environmental devices and so on.

NB-IoT enables a high volume of low complexity, connected devices intended to transmit data packages that enhanced coverage while bringing the network closer for deeper indoors and more reliable connectivity

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