Showing posts with label Internet of Things. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet of Things. Show all posts

Monday, 4 October 2021

Are there 50 Billion IoT Devices yet?

Detailed post below but if you are after a quick summary, it's in the picture above.

Couple of weeks back someone quoted that there were 50 billion devices last year (2020). After challenging them on the number, they came back to me to say that there were over 13 billion based on GSMA report. While the headline numbers are correct, there are some finer details we need to look at.

It all started back in 2010 when the then CEO of Ericsson announced that there will be 50 Billion IoT Devices by 2020. You could read all about it here and see the presentation here. While it doesn't explicitly say, it was expected that the majority of these will be based on cellular technologies. I also heard the number 500 Billion by 2030, back in 2013.

So the question is how many IoT devices are there today and how many of these are based on mobile cellular technologies?

The headline number provided by the GSMA Mobile Economy report, published just in time for MWC 2021, is 13.1 billion in 2020. It does not provide any further details on what kind of connectivity these devices use. I had to use my special search skills to find the details here.

As you can see, only 1.9 billion of these are based on cellular connections, of which 0.2 billion are based on licensed Low Power Wide Area (licensed LPWA, a.k.a. LTE-M and NB-IoT) connections. 

Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2021, has a much more detailed breakdown regarding the numbers as can be seen in the slide above. As of the end of 2020, there were 12.4 billion IoT devices, of which 10.7 billion were based on Short-range IoT. Short-range IoT is defined as a segment that largely consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio technologies, with a typical range of up to 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee.

Wide-area IoT, which consists of segment made up of devices using cellular connections or unlicensed low-power technologies like Sigfox and LoRa had 1.7 billion devices. So, the 1.6 billion cellular IoT devices also includes LPWAN technologies like LTE-M and NB-IoT.

I also reached out to IoT experts at analyst firm Analysys Mason. As you can see in the Tweet above, Tom Rebbeck, Partner at Analysys Mason, mentioned 1.6 billion cellular (excluding NB-IoT + LTE-M) and 220 million LPWA (which includes NB-IoT, LTE-M, as well as LoRa, Sigfox etc.) IoT connections.

I also noticed this interesting chart in the tweet above which shows the growth of IoT from Dec 2010 until June 2021. Matt Hatton, Founding Partner of Transforma Insights, kindly clarified that the number as 1.55 billion including NB-IoT and LTE-M.

As you can see, the number of cellular IoT connections are nowhere near 50 billion. Even if we include all kinds of IoT connectivity, according to the most optimistic estimate by Ericsson, there will be just over 26 billion connections by 2026.

Just before concluding, it is worth highlighting that according to all these cellular IoT estimates, over 1 billion of these connections are in China. GSMA's 'The Mobile Economy China 2021' puts the number as 1.34 billion as of 2020, growing to 2.29 billion by 2025. Details on page 9 here.

Hopefully, when someone wants to talk about Internet of Thing numbers in the future, they will do a bit more research or just quote the numbers from this post here.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

'5G RAN Release 18 for Industry Verticals' Webinar Highlights

5G PPP held a virtual workshop on RAN Release 18 for Industry Verticals on June 23rd, 2021. The workshop was organised by 3GPP Market Representation Partners (MRPs): 5G-IA, 5GAA, 5G-ACIA and PSCE.

It features a fireside chat with new 3GPP RAN TSG Chair, Wanshi Chen. In addition to this, the workshop then provides a deep dive on new requirements from verticals, spanning automotive (5GAA), manufacturing (5G-ACIA), critical communications and public safety (TCCA with PSCE), broadcasting and media (5G-MAG), satellite (ESOA), rail (UIC), maritime (IALA) and energy (EUTC).

5G-SOLUTIONS came on board as a 5G PPP project supporting verticals with the 5G-EVE and 5G-VINNI 5G network infrastructures alongside RAN specialists doing standardisation work applicable to multiple verticals.

The video of the webinar is embedded below. In addition, you will find timings of when a particular talk starts and a link to the slides (if shared/available)

Timings:

  • 0:04:21 Fireside chat with Wanshi Chen, Qualcomm and 3GPP RAN TSG Chairman
  • 0:21:00 NTN Requirements in Rel-18 by Nicolas Chuberre, Thales Alenia Space (slides)
  • 0:31:40 Multiple verticals: Andrea Di Giglio, 5G SOLUTIONS (slides)
  • 0:36:35 Media and Broadcasting: David Vargas, BBC and 5G-MAG Chair of CD-T WG, Proposals for 3GPP RAN Rel-18 (slides)
  • 0:43:19 Maritime: Hyounhee Koo, Synctechno and IALA, Maritime Requirements on 3GPP Rel 18 RAN Studies/Works Priorities (slides)
  • 0:46:12 Rail: Ingo Wendler, UIC, NR Narrowband Channel Bandwidth - Railway Use Case (slides)
  • 0:50:02 Utilities: Julian Stafford, EUTC 3GPP RAN Rel-18 Requirements (slides)
  • 0:58:35 Utilities: Erik Guttman, Samsung 5G Smart Energy Infrastructure (slides)
  • 1:05:45 Multiple verticals: Mathew Webb, Huawei and 3GPP RAN 3GPP Release 17 and Release 18 support for industry verticals (slides)
  • 1:15:19 Public Safety/Critical Communications: Tero Pesonen, TCCA Chair, joint presentation with PSCE, 3GPP MRP Mini Workshop: 3GPP Rel 18. Requirements from industry verticals (slides)
  • 1:20:15 Multiple verticals: Thierry Berisot, Novamint and 3GPP RAN, Industry Verticals and Rel-18 RAN (slides)
  • 1:32:56 Manufacturing/IIoT: Michael Bahr, Siemens and 5G-ACIA WG 1Chair and An Xueli, Huawei and 5G-ACIA WG1 Vice Chair 3GPP RAN Rel-18 for Industry Verticals (slides)
  • 1:42:20 Automotive: 5GAA Maxime Flament, CTO Input to RAN 18 Rel-18 Workshop (slides)
  • 1:53:35 Interactive Session 2
  • 2:04:36 Passive IoT for 5G-Advanced, Mathew Webb, Huawei and 3GPP RAN (slides)
  • 2:14:59 Template A for Interactive Session 2
  • 2:20:40 Critical Communications / Public Safety requirements for Release 18 
  • 2:26:00 Closing Remarks

Official page here.

The slide above nicely summarizes 3GPP RAN Verticals up to Release 17.

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Monday, 21 December 2020

Challenges and Future Perspectives of Industrial 5G

Andreas Mueller, Head of communication and network technology at Bosch Corporate Research and Chair of 5G ACIA recently spoke at 'What Next for Wireless Infrastructure Summit' by TelecomTV about Industrial 5G. The following is paraphrased from his presentation 'Industrial 5G: Remaining challenges and future perspectives' which is embedded below: 

5G has the potential to become the central nervous system of the factory of the future, enabling unprecedented levels of flexibility, efficiency, productivity and also ease of use.  At the same time it's also a very special application domain so in many cases there are very demanding QoS requirements. 

Industrial applications have multi-faceted requirements where one case may require very low latencies and high reliabilities for instance, while for others we may need very high data rates (for example HD cameras). There is no single use case with a single set of requirements but many different use cases with very diverse requirements which also have to be supported in many cases at the very same time. 

As we need only a local network with local connectivity, this performance is required only in a very controlled environment; inside a factory, inside a plant. This allows for specific optimizations and makes certain things easier but we also always have brownfields deployments in many cases that means we have to live what we have in place today so that's typically wired communication in some cases it's wi-fi and similar wireless solutions and we have to be able to smoothly integrate a 5G network into this existing infrastructure

The developments towards Industrial 5G started about three years ago i would say and in the meantime it really has become a hot topic everybody is talking about industrial 5G. It has become a focused topic in standardization in 3GPP and some key capabilities already have been standardized which have been briefly outlined in the presentation. 

Good progress has also been made in the ecosystem development so we've established the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation two and a half years ago which serves as a global forum for bringing all relevant stakeholders together and for driving industrial 5G and we have 76 members today which includes major players from the telco industry but also from the industrial domain and also of course some universities and so on. We have seen the advent of non-public networks (NPN) so for the first time it will be possible for a manufacturers to deploy and operate such non-public networks inside a factory which are to some extent decoupled from the public networks.

If we look at the standardization timeline this is what you get. The first version of 5G release 15 of 3GPP was approved mid last year and it still had a very strong focus on consumer application and enhanced mobile broadband. If you buy 5G today, this is what you get then. Release-16 has for the first time had a very strong focus on industrial applications this has been approved in June this year and it includes features like ultra reliable low latency communication, non-public networks, time-sensitive communication. It means support for time-sensitive networking 5G and also native layer 2 transport so that we don't necessarily need internet protocol but we can directly transmit ethernet frames over a 5G network which again is very important especially for the industrial domain.

Release 17 is currently underway and it will come along with several enhancements of these features. It also has a stronger focus on positioning which is again very important in manufacturing because knowing where things are is a very valuable information and it will be in this new transmission mode called NR RedCap which is somewhere somewhere in between this high-end mobile broadband mode and also this low-end a massive machine type communication and this might be especially suitable for industrial sensors for example and then of course the journey will continue with Release 18 which is still being defined but with a high probability i would say it will more focus on massive iot applications that means tiny little sensors for example which have to be connected using very low energy and low costs and not just the natural next step.

So many things have been done already towards supporting these industrial applications but if you look at factories today there are only very few of them which already make use of 5g and that's because there are still some challenges to be overcome some of them are listed here first of all having the features in the standard is nice but they also have to be implemented in the chipsets and infrastructure components and that still say test takes some time especially if we consider that really 16 is the first release which really has many of the features that make a difference to the industrial domain

Here is a list of the features that can be prioritised for future 5G releases or even for 6G. As Release-17 has just been delayed slightly, quite possible that some of the features expected in 5G may get pushed on to Beyond 5G and even 6G.

Here is the embedded talk

An interview by Dr. Andreas M├╝ller regarding Bosch 5G activities is available here (in German)

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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

5G Non IP Data Delivery and Lightweight M2M (LwM2M) over NIDD

Earlier this year, MediaTek had announced that its MT2625 NB-IoT chip has been validated for LwM2M over NIDD on SoftBank Corp.’s cellular network across Japan. This achievement marks the first global commercial readiness of LwM2M over NIDD; a secure, ultra-efficient IoT communications technique that is being adopted by operators worldwide. The benefits of LwM2M over NIDD include security improvements, cost-efficient scalability and reduced power consumption.

LwM2M over NIDD is a combination of the communication technology "NIDD (Non-IP Data Delivery)" that does not use an IP address in LTE communication NB-IoT for IoT and the device management protocol "LwM2M (Lightweight M2M)" advocated by the Open Mobile Alliance. It's been a while since I wrote about Open Mobile Alliance on this blog. OMA SpecWorks is the successor brand to the Open Mobile Alliance. You can read all about it here.


OMA SpecWorks’ LightweightM2M is a device management protocol designed for sensor networks and the demands of a machine-to-machine (M2M) environment. With LwM2M, OMA  SpecWorks has responded to demand in the market for a common standard for managing lightweight and low power devices on a variety of networks necessary to realize the potential of IoT. The LwM2M protocol, designed for remote management of M2M devices and related service enablement, features a modern architectural design based on REST, defines an extensible resource and data model and builds on an efficient secure data transfer standard called the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). LwM2M has been specified by a group of industry experts at the OMA SpecWorks Device Management Working Group and is based on protocol and security standards from the IETF.

You can get all the LwM2M resources here and the basic specs of 'Lightweight M2M 1.1: Managing Non-IP Devices in Cellular IoT Networks' here.
The 5G Americas whitepaper 'Wireless Technology Evolution Towards 5G: 3GPP Release 13 to Release 15 and Beyond' details how Current Architecture for 3GPP Systems for IOT Service Provision and Connectivity to External Application Servers. It also talks about Rel-13 Cellular IoT EPS Optimizations which provide improved support of small data transfer over control plane and user plane. Control Plane CIoT EPS Optimization transports user data (measurements, ID, status, etc.) via MME by encapsulating user data in NAS PDUs and reduces the total number of control plane messages when handling a short data transaction. Control Plane CIoT EPS optimization, designed for small infrequent data packets, can also be used for larger data bursts depending in UE Radio capability.

User data transported using the Control Plane CIoT EPS Optimization, has special characteristics, as different mobility anchor and termination nodes.

Therefore, the Preferred Network Behavior signaling must include information on:
  • Whether Control Plane CIoT EPS optimization is supported
  • Whether User Plane CIoT EPS optimization is supported
  • Whether Control Plane CIoT EPS optimization is preferred or whether User Plane CIoT EPS optimization is preferred
These optimizations have enabled:
  • Non-IP Data Delivery (NIDD) for both: mobile originated and mobile terminated communications, by using SCEF (Service Capability Exposure Function) or SGi tunneling. However, it has to be taken into account that Non-IP PDUs may be lost and its sequence is not guaranteed
  • For IP data, the UE and MME may perform header compression based on Robust Header Compression (ROHC) framework
  • NB-IoT UE can attach but not activate any PDN connection
  • High latency communication handled by the buffering of downlink data (in the Serving GW or the MME)
  • SMS transfer
  • EPS Attach, TA Update and EPS Detach procedures for NB-IoT only UEs, with SMS service request
  • Procedures for connection suspend and resume are added
  • Support for transfer of user plane data without the need for using the Service Request procedure to establish Access Stratum context in the serving eNodeB and UE
When selecting an MME for a UE that is using the NB-IoT RAT, and/or for a UE that signals support for CIoT EPS Optimizations in RRC signaling, the eNodeB’s MME selection algorithm shall select an MME taking into account its Release 13 NAS signaling protocol.

Mpirical has a nice short video explaining 5G Non IP Data Delivery. It is embedded below.

IoT has not taken off as expected and prophesised for years. While the OMASpecWorks is doing some fantastic work by defining simplified approach for IoT deployment, its current member list doesn't have enough operators to drive the uptake required for its spec adoption. They would argue that it doesn't matter how many members there are as the NIDD approach is completely optional and over-the-top. Let's wait and see how it progresses.

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Sunday, 19 July 2020

Mobile Initiated Connection Only (MICO) mode in 5G System


Mobile Initiated Connection Only (MICO) mode is designed for IoT devices that send small amounts of data and do not need to be paged. An example of this could be a smart bin that sends a message to the waste collection company saying it is 50% full, etc. This way the bin emptying lorry can plan to empty it in the next collection round. Here there is no reason to page the bin as there is no mobile terminated data that would be required.

MICO mode has to be negotiated between the device and AMF in 5GC. A device in MICO mode cannot be paged as it would not listen to paging to conserve battery power. This extreme power saving mode can ensure that the battery can last for very long time, ideally years thereby making this vision of billions of connected IoT devices a reality.


In an earlier post on RRC Inactive state, we looked at NAS states, along with RRC states. When the UE is in MICO mode, the AMF in 5GC will consider the UE to be unreachable when it is in CM-IDLE state. In addition, a periodic registration timer is also allocated to the MICO mode UEs. The UE has to confirm the MICO mode again during registration update.

The video and presentation are embedded below:





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Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Embedded SIM (eSIM) and Integrated SIM (iSIM)

It's been a while since I wrote detailed posts explaining UICC and SIM cards. Since then the SIM cards have evolved from Mini SIM to Micro SIM and Nano SIM. They are evolving even further, especially for M2M / IoT devices as embedded SIM (eSIM or eUICC) and integrated SIM (iSIM).


Embedded SIMs (eSIMs) or embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Cards (eUICCs) are physical SIMs that are soldered into the device and enable storage and remote management of multiple network operator profiles (remote SIM provisioning). The form factor of eSIM is known as MFF2.

The integrated SIMs (iSIMs) moves the SIM from a separate chip into a secure enclave alongside the application processor and cellular radio on a purpose-built system on a chip (SoC).

We made a short tutorial explaining UICC & SIM and then looking at eSIM, iSIM and how remote SIM provisioning works. The video and slides are embedded below. The slides contain a lot of useful links for further reading.







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Thursday, 27 February 2020

5G and Industry 4.0


Telef├│nica published an infographic on 'Benefits of 5G in Industry 4.0' last week. You can download it on their website here. This reminded me that we have now completed the third video in our series of IoT.

  1. The beginners guide to M2M, MTC & IoT is discussed here and video is available here.
  2. Industrial IoT (IIoT) vs IoT is discussed here.
  3. This blog post with with embedded video / slide looks at Industrie 4.0 (a.k.a. I4.0 or I4)



Slides and Video is embedded below, let us know what you think.






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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

New 3GPP Release-17 Study Item on NR-Lite (a.k.a. NR-Light)

3GPP TSG RAN#84 was held from June 3 – 6, 2019 at Newport Beach, California. Along with a lot of other interesting topics for discussion, one of the new ones for Release-17 was called NR-Lite (not 5G-lite). Here are some of the things that was being discussed for the Study item.
In RP-190831, Nokia proposed:
  • NR-Lite should address new use cases with IoT-type of requirements that cannot be met by eMTC and NB-IoT:
    • Higher data rate & reliability and lower latency than eMTC & NB-IoT
    • Lower cost/complexity and longer battery life than NR eMBB
    • Wider coverage than URLLC
  • Requirements and use cases –
    • Data rates up to 100 Mbps to support e.g. live video feed, visual production control, process automation
    • Latency of around [10-30] ms to support e.g. remote drone operation, cooperative farm machinery, time-critical sensing and feedback, remote vehicle operation
    • Module cost comparable to LTE
    • Coverage enhancement of [10-15]dB compared to URLLC
    • Battery life [2-4X] longer than eMBB
  • Enable single network to serve all uses in industrial environment
    • URLLC, MBB & positioning

The spider chart on the right shows the requirements for different categories of devices like NB-IoT, eMTC (LTE-M), NR-LITE, URLLC and eMBB.
The understanding in the industry is that over the next 5 years, a lot of 4G spectrum, in addition to 2G/3G spectrum, would have been re-farmed for 5G. By introducing NR-Lite, there would be no requirement to maintain multiple RATs. Also, NR-Lite can take advantage of 5G system architecture and features such as slicing, flow-based QoS, etc.
Qualcomm's views in RP-190844 were very similar to those of Nokia's. In their presentation, the existing 5G devices are billed as 'Premium 5G UEs' while NR-Lite devices are described as 'Low tier 5G UEs'. This category is sub-divided into Industrial sensors/video monitoring, Low-end wearables and Relaxed IoT.

The presentation provides more details on PDCCH Design, Co-existence of premium and Low Tier UEs, Peak Power and Battery Life Optimizations, Contention-Based UL for Small Data Transmission, Relaying for Wearable and Mesh for Relaxed IoT
Ericsson's presentation described NR-Lite for Industrial Sensors and Wearables in RP-191047. RP-191048 was submitted as New SID (Study Item Description) on NR-Lite for Industrial Sensors and Wearables. The SID provides the following details:

The usage scenarios that have been identified for 5G are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive machine-type communication (mMTC), and time critical machine-type communication (cMTC). In particular, mMTC and cMTC are associated with novel IoT use cases that are targeted in vertical industries. 

In the 3GPP study on “self-evaluation towards IMT-2020 submission” it was confirmed that NB IoT and LTE M fulfill the IMT-2020 requirements for mMTC and can be certified as 5G technologies. For cMTC support, URLLC was introduced in Release 15 for both LTE and NR, and NR URLLC is further enhanced in Release 16 within the enhanced URLLC (eURLLC) and Industrial IoT work items.

One important objective of 5G is to enable connected industries. 5G connectivity can serve as catalyst for next wave of industrial transformation and digitalization, which improve flexibility, enhance productivity and efficiency, and improve operational safety. The transformed, digitalized, and connected industry is often referred to as Industry 4.0. Industrial sensors and actuators are prevalently used in many industries, already today. Vast varieties of sensors and actuators are also used in automotive, transport, power grid, logistics, and manufacturing industries. They are deployed for analytics, diagnostics, monitoring, asset tracking, process control, regulatory control, supervisory control, safety control, etc. It is desirable to connect these sensors and actuators to 5G networks. 

The massive industrial wireless sensor network (IWSN) use cases and requirements described in TR 22.804, TS 22.104 and TS 22.261 do include not only cMTC services with very high requirements, but also relatively low-end services with the requirement of small device form factors, and/or being completely wireless with a battery life of several years. 

The most low-end services could already be met by NB-IoT and LTE-M but there are, excluding URLLC, more high-end services that would be challenging. In summary, many industrial sensor requirements fall in-between the well-defined performance objectives which have driven the design of eMBB, URLLC, and mMTC. Thus, many of the industrial sensors have connectivity requirements that are not yet best served by the existing 3GPP NR technology components. Some of the aforementioned requirements of IWSN use cases are also applicable to other wide-area use cases, such as wearables. For example, smart watches or heath-monitoring wearables require small device form factors and wireless operation with weeks, months, or years of battery life, while not requiring the most demanding latency or data rates. 

IWSN and wearable use cases therefore can motivate the introduction of an NR-based solution. Moreover, there are other reasons why it is motivated to introduce a native NR solution for this use case: 
  • It is desired to have a unified NR based solution.
  • An NR solution could provide better coexistence with NR URLLC, e.g., allowing TDD configurations with better URLLC performance than LTE.
  • An NR solution could provide more efficient coexistence with NR URLLC since the same numerology (e.g., SCS) can be adopted for the mMTC part and the URLLC part.
  • An NR solution addresses all IMT-2020 5G frequency bands, including higher bands and TDD bands (in FR1 and FR2).
The intention with this study item is to study a UE feature and parameter list with lower end capabilities, relative to Release 15 eMBB or URLLC NR, and identify the requirements which shall be fulfilled. E.g., requirements on UE battery life, latency, reliability, connection density, data rate, UE complexity and form factor, etc.  If not available, new potential NR features for meeting these requirements should further be studied.

There were other description of the SID from Samsung, ZTE, etc. but I am not detailing them here. The main idea is to provide an insight for people who may be curious about this feature.


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Saturday, 6 July 2019

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Presentations from ETSI Security Week 2019 (#ETSISecurityWeek)


ETSI held their annual Security Week Seminar 17-21 June at their HQ in Sophia Antipolis, France. All the presentations are available here. Here are some I think the audience of this blog will like:


Looks like all presentations were not shared but the ones shared have lots of useful information.


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Friday, 12 April 2019

Slides from Parallel Wireless Webinar: 5G at #MWC19

I hosted a webinar for Parallel Wireless* yesterday about all the stuff related to 5G at Mobile World Congress 2019. The slides are embedded below and can be downloaded from BrightTalk here. You can also listen to the webinar there.




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*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

ITU-NGMN Joint Conference on “Licensing practices in 5G industry segments"


IPR, Licensing and royalties are always an interesting topic. In the end they decide what price a device would be sold at. If I put it simply, the cost of device = cost of manufacturing + marketing + sales and distribution + support and insurance + profit + IPR. The licensing cost is often added in the end as it could be applicable on the selling price of the device.
The above tweet is interesting as it lists out the IPR costs by major patent holders. I wrote a post earlier detailing the 5G patent holders here. Since then this have moved on significantly. In addition to the royalty charged by the 5G patent holders (it also includes legacy technologies like 2G, 3G, 4G &Wi-Fi), there are patents for messaging, Codecs (seperate for audio / video), etc. To be fair it's a complex process. This is why I sometimes get shocked when I see 4G smartphones selling for £20 ($25).

Coming back to the conference, all the presentations are available on ITU page here.

Sylvia Lu, who wears many different hats including one for CW, UK5G and uBlox and a friend of 3G4G blog was one of the speakers at this conference. Here is a tweet on what she had to say about this event:
For those who may not know, FRAND stands for Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory. Wikipedia has a nice article explaining it here.

NGMN Press Release on this conference mentions the following:

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has jointly organised and executed a successful conference on Licensing Practices in 5G Industry Segments with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), bringing various experts from around the world together to discuss licensing practices and challenges of 5G.

The conference featured moderators and speakers from some of the biggest names in telecoms, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Ericsson, Nokia and Microsoft. Also in attendance were key stakeholders of vertical industries, including Audi, Bosch, Panasonic and u-Blox, and patent pool administrators, namely Avanci, MPEG-LA, Sisvel and Via Licensing, who co-sponsored the event, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Japanese and the European Patent Offices, and the European Commission.

Focusing on the development of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), the conference facilitated sharing and discussing of present-day licensing practices and related issues across different industry segments.

A host of insightful sessions took place igniting an inclusive exchange on:
  • Patent licensing practices with interactive discussions that focused on issues stakeholders need to be aware of.
  • Sharing licensors’, licensees’ and pool administrators’ requirements on patent pools/platforms.
  • Identifying proposed practices and conducts for licensors and licensees.
  • Listing requirements for increasing transparency and assessing essentiality of Standard Essential Patents declared to Standards Developing Organisations.
“It’s great to notice that our joint ITU-NGMN conference has been such a success,” said Dr. Peter Meissner, CEO of NGMN. “Obviously, the 5G Eco-System is different. New use cases beyond mobile broadband - like massive IoT as well as highly demanding requirements from vertical industries on low latency, ultra-high reliability and security - are causing substantial network transformations. All these challenges have implications on the intellectual property of mobile network operators and across the different industry segments. Conferences like this are key in identifying IPR issues and exploring solutions for the enlarged eco-system.”

If you have any insights on this topic, or just any comment in general, feel free to add them as comments below.

Related Article:


Monday, 7 January 2019

The business case of densifying LoRaWAN deployments

LoRaWAN has recently emerged as one of the key radio technologies to address the challenges of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) deployments, namely power efficiency, long range, scalable deployments, and cost-effectiveness.

The LoRa Alliance has had an exponential growth with 500+ members with the recent arrival of heavyweight members such as Google, Alibaba, and Tencent joining the alliance.

The first wave of LoRaWAN was primarily focused on large country-wide deployments led by operators such as KPN, Orange, Swisscom and many more. However, the next wave that is already coming is the arrival of private LoRaWAN deployments from large enterprises and enabling roaming for inter-connection amongst public/private networks (esp. for use cases which involve LPWAN Geolocation [8] [9]]). As the IoT deployments grow in both the densification and geographical footprint, it is inevitable that network design becomes one of the important factors ensuring long-term success and profitability of both operators and end-customers relying on LoRaWAN connectivity for their IoT use cases.


A typical example is the recent 3 million water meter contract awarded by Veolia Birdz to Orange [12]: such large-scale projects require careful network planning to achieve the required densification and quality of service while optimizing costs.

A Closer Look at Densification techniques for LoRaWAN


LoRaWAN deployments use a star topology with a frequency reuse factor of 1 which allows simplicity in network deployment and ongoing densification: there is no need for frequency pattern planning or reshuffling as more gateways are added to the infrastructure.

Compared to mesh technologies, the single hop to network infrastructure minimizes power consumption as nodes do not need to relay communication from other nodes. Another advantage is that gradual initial network deployment in sparse mode with low node density is possible, compared to mesh which requires minimum node density to operate. Even more importantly, LoRaWAN is immune from the exponential packet loss suffered by multi-hop RF mesh technologies in presence of increasing interferers and noise floor power.

Another unique feature of LoRaWAN networks is that messages in uplink can be received by any gateway (Rx macro-diversity), and it is the function of a network server to remove duplicates in uplink and select the best gateway for downlink transmission based on the uplink RSSI estimates. This allows enabling of features such as geolocation to be easily built into LoRaWAN deployment and enables uplink macro-diversity that significantly improves network capacity and QoS (Quality of Service).

LoRaWAN also supports features such as Adaptive Data Rate (ADR) that allows network server to dynamically change parameters of end-devices such as transmit power, frequency and spreading factor via downlink MAC commands. Optimization of theses settings is key to increase the capacity and reduce the power consumption of end-devices.

The optimization of LoRaWAN parameters along with densification can lead massive amounts of capacity increase in the network. In fact, the LoRaWAN capacity of the network can scale almost indefinitely with densification.

Figure 1: Actility Webinar - Designing LoRaWAN network for Dense Deployment  [1] [2] [3]


The future of LoRaWAN networks, particularly in urban environments where the noise floor is expected to get higher due to increased traffic, goes towards micro-cellular networks

How does densification lead to lower TCO for Enterprise deployment?


As the network is densified by deploying more LoRaWAN Gateways and adaptive data rate and power control algorithms are applied intelligently in the network, this leads in dramatic reduction of power consumption of end-device and thus reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of end devices. The figures below show clearly that densification can lead to upto 10X savings in both power consumption and overall reduction in 10-year TCO for enterprise deployment. Changing the batteries require manual labor and is the cost that can significantly dominate 10-year TCO of large-scale enterprise deployment (for ex. Smart gas/water meters).

Figure 2: Battery Lifetime Improvement with densification [1] [2] [3]


Figure 3: Impact on 10-year TCO due to densification [1] [2] [3]



Densification leads to very dramatic reduction in power consumption of the end-devices thus reducing overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)


LoRaWAN offers disruptive Deployment Models


LoRaWAN is generally deployed in unlicensed spectrum which allows anyone to roll-out IoT/LPWAN network based on LoRaWAN. This allows three deployment models:


1. Public Operator Network: In this traditional model, the operator invests in a regional or nation-wide network and sells connectivity services to its customers.


2. Private/Enterprise Network: In this model, enterprise customers typically setup LoRaWAN gateways on private premises (e.g. an airport), and either have these gateways managed by an operator, or use their own LoRaWAN network platform.


This mode of deployment is a game changer for dense device use cases, as network capacity and enhanced QoS can be provided at marginal increased cost. It becomes possible because LoRaWAN runs in unlicensed spectrum and gateways are quite inexpensive and easy to deploy.


3. Hybrid model: This is the most interesting model that LoRaWAN allows due to its open architecture.

This is not possible or rather difficult in other competing LPWA technologies or Cellular IoT (due to licensed spectrum and absence of roaming/peering model between private and public networks). There are initiatives like CBRS and MulteFire from 3GPP Players but they are still in progress and far from maturity for large scale IoT deployments (esp. for use cases that demand 10-15 years+ battery lifetime).

In hybrid model, operator provides light country-wide outdoor coverage, but different stakeholders such as private enterprises or individuals help in densifying the network further based on their needs on their premises, via managed networks. This model enables a win-win private/public partnership in sharing the costs and revenues from the network and densify the network where the applications and devices are most present.

This model is possible because multiple gateways can receive LoRaWAN messages and network server removes duplication. In the cases where different operators/enterprises run their networks, LoRa Alliance already has approved roaming architecture in “LoRaWAN Backend Interfaces 1.0 Specification” [6] [7] to enable network collaboration.

This model significantly reduces the operator investment and offers a disruptive business model to build IoT capacity where it is mostly needed.

Figure 4: LoRaWAN Hybrid Deployment Model (source : Actility)


LoRaWAN enables Public-Private deployment that allows disruptive model for cost/revenue sharing and densifying the network where it is needed most, depending on IoT application needs

LoRaWAN densification: A Key driver for reduction in Operator TCO

When designing and deploying a LoRaWAN network, the system operator must balance the cost of a dense network (and it's served sensors) against the cost of a sparse network (and it's served sensors).

Traditional vs Opportunistic network designs


In the traditional deployment model, the operator deploys LoRaWAN gateways on telecom towers. This entails leasing the space from the tower owner, purchasing a waterproof outdoor gateway, climbing the tower to hang the gateway, and perhaps paying for additional power, zoning, permitting, and backhaul. The operator does the detailed RF propagation study and hangs enough gateways to provide coverage for the sensor locations required to provide the services he wants to provide.


Another option is to opportunistically deploy “femto” gateways in devices that the operator is already fielding. The gateways are stateless, and thus do not add much complexity to the hosting device. An 8-channel LoRaWAN reference design is mated to the host device using either USB or I2C. The options here are quite diverse. The operator can embed a simple 8 channel gateway into ongoing WiFi hotspots, power supplies, amplifiers, cable modems, thermostats, virtual assistants, or any mass-produced device that already has backhaul. The Bill of Materials adder is quite modest, the power consumption and heat dissipation are less than 3 Watts, and the size delta is roughly 7 cm by 3 cm.


Calculating the number of opportunistic gateways to provide adequate coverage for a given deployment can be challenging. The height of the gateways has a large impact on the coverage of the gateway. A gateway deployed in a 20th story of an apartment building has a much better coverage pattern than the same gateway deployed in the basement of a single-family home. Gateways deployed in WiFi hotspots mounted on power poles have a different coverage area than a gateway deployed on light poles. So, the actual number of gateways deployed in each scenario varies widely. When you complete the detailed design of each network type, you typically find that an opportunistic deployment model allows the operator to cover a given area by deploying roughly 100 times as many gateways for roughly 1/10th of the cost (when compared to the traditional 3rd party leased tower model).

Example use-case with water meters


For the rest of this analysis, we will assume that the operator needs to deploy a LoRaWAN network to service 100K water meters. Water meters represent a difficult RF propagation model. They are installed at or below ground level, must last 20 years, and suburban meters tend to have accumulations of grass and dirt collect over time. Let’s assume a North American deployment model, and we have the option of using a high power (27dBm) or a low power (17dBm) meter.

One possible design is to use a tower-based approach. In a tower-based approach, the operator typically ends up deploying high power water meters in order to reduce the number of (expensive) tower leases. In order to run at high power, the North American regulations require the sensor to send across 50+ channels, which drives the operator to deploy 64 channel gateways. Let’s assume that the average distance between a water meter and a tower-based gateway is ~3km and the sensors need to send one reading per day. Many of the meters thus operate at SF10 at 27dBm. The sensor designer includes a high-power RF amplifier, calculates the energy requirements over the life of the sensor, and sizes the battery appropriately.

Another possible design is to opportunistically deploy thousands of femto gateways into the area. The question boils down to “How many femto gateways do I need to cover the desired area?”. Working backwards from the densest possible deployment, most MSOs (Multiple-System Operator) serve 1/3 of the households in their footprint. In many urban environments, the average distance between a given operator’s subscribers is 30 meters. If such an operator could opportunistically deploy in most of those sites, they would have inter-gateway distances as small as 30 meters. For the purposes of this analysis, let’s say that the average distance between the sensor and the closest gateway is reduced from 3000 meters to 100 meters. When a sensor is 100 meters from a gateway, it can typically operate at SF7 at 17dBm (or lower). Clearly, the network designer must account for a distribution of distances between a given sensor and its closest gateway, but the overall power savings is significant.

It is also instructive to compare the overall capacity of a tower-based LoRaWAN network to the overall capacity of the opportunistic LoRaWAN network. Remembering that 100 eight channel opportunistic gateways cost about 1/10th of a single 64 channel gateway, we realize that we get ~13 times as much network capacity for 1/10th of the cost. As the sensor density increases, we could deploy additional opportunistic gateways and get ~130 times as much network capacity for the same cost as a tower-based network.

When we compare the cost to build a sensor designed to last 20 years using SF10 at 27dBm to the cost to build a sensor designed to last 20 years using SF7 at 17dBm, we find that we can save more than $10 per sensor by deploying the denser network.

So, in addition to saving a significant amount of capital by opportunistically deploying the gateways, the operator can save more than $10 per water meter by opportunistically deploying a dense network. This saves more than $1M on the 100K water meter deployment. When one layers in additional use cases, the dense LoRaWAN network provides sensor savings on each additional set of sensors. Most of the sensors do not have the 20 years requirement and thus do not save the same amount of money, but batteries are one of the primary drivers for any sensor’s cost.


Conclusion

This analysis is somewhat simplified, and a very large-scale deployment may require a certain amount of traditional gateway placement to provide an “umbrella” of coverage that is then densified using opportunistic methods. By densifying the network, the overall sensor power budget is decreased significantly. One could also envision a deployment model in which an opportunistic gateway is deployed in conjunction with a set of services. The operator would add IoT based services to an existing bundle (let’s say voice/video/data, thermostat control or personal assistant) and know that the sensors would be co-resident with the gateway.

What is the future of LoRaWAN?



LoRaWAN exhibits significant capacity gains and massive reduction in power consumption and TCO when ADR algorithms are used intelligently in the network. We showed how LoRaWAN networks are deployed for coverage and how network capacity can be scaled gracefully by adding more gateways.

There are already 16 channels in EU, but there have been recent modifications of the regulatory framework to relax the spectrum requirements and increase transmit power, duty cycle and number of channels [22].

Moreover, Semtech released the latest version of LoRa chipsets [23] with the following key features:
  • 50% less power in receive mode
  • 20% extended cell range
  • +22 dBm transmit power
  • A 45% reduction in size: 4mm by 4mm
  • Global continuous frequency coverage: 150-960MHz
  • Simplified user interface with implementation of commands
  • New spreading factor of SF5 to support dense networks
  • Protocol compatible with existing deployed LoRaWAN networks

The above LoRaWAN features and upcoming changes to EU regulations will allow significantly scaling of unlicensed LoRaWAN deployments for years to come to meet the needs of IoT applications and use cases. LoRaWAN capacity depends indeed on the regional and morphology parameters. As we have showed in the above results, if the network is deployed carefully and advanced algorithms such as ADR are used, there can be dramatic increase in network capacity and massive reduction in TCO. This will be one of the main factors that will determine the success of LoRaWAN deployments as the demands and breadth of IoT applications scale in future.

We also showed earlier how LoRaWAN offers innovative public/private deployment model in which operators can build capacity incrementally and supplement with extra capacity by leveraging gateways deployed from private individuals/enterprises. Typically, for cellular networks there can be anywhere from 5-10% IoT devices on cell-edge which are in outage [10]. This applies especially to deep indoor nodes (for example, smart meters with additional 30 dB penetration loss). Such nodes can only be covered by densification of cellular network which is expensive considering it is being done only for 5-10% of IoT devices. One way to address this problem is deploying private LoRaWAN on cell-edge and using multi-technology IoT platform that combines both LoRaWAN and Cellular IoT [11].

On the other hand, LoRaWAN offers a cost-effective way to augment network capacity where it's needed most. LoRaWAN gateways are very cost-effective and can be deployed using Ethernet/3G/4G backhaul with minimal investment in comparison to 3GPP small cells. This allows building IoT network in cost-effective manner and scale it progressively based on the application needs. We believe that his deployment model has dramatic effect on ROI for IoT connectivity based on LoRaWAN.

The LoRa Alliance has standardized the roaming feature, which enables multiple LoRaWAN networks to collaboratively serve IoT devices. Macro-diversity used across deployments enables operators/enterprises to jointly densify their networks, hence providing better coverage at lower costs. The future of LoRaWAN as shown below will be private/enterprise network deployments and disruptive business models through roaming with the public networks [4] [5] [6] [7].

Figure 5: Future of LoRaWAN deployments


LoRaWAN does provide horizontal connectivity solution to address wide-ranging needs for IoT applications for LPWAN deployments. However, these benefits are only possible with intelligent network server algorithms proprietary to network solution vendors

For any questions, contact the author below,

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohit-gupta-2b51503a/



References:
[1] Actility webinar Replay: Designing a LoRaWAN Network for Dense Deployment,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQOZWUQdvf0

[2] Actility webinar slides: Designing a LoRaWAN Network for Dense Deployment, https://www.slideshare.net/Actility/designing-lorawan-for-dense-iot-deployments-webinar.

[3] Actility Whitepaper: Designing a LoRaWAN Network for Dense Deployment, https://www.slideshare.net/Actility/designing-lorawan-networks-for-dense-iot-deployments

[4] Actility webinar slides: Industrial IoT - Transforming businesses today with LoRaWAN, https://www.slideshare.net/Actility/actility-and-factory-systemes-explain-how-iot-is-transforming-industry

[5] Actility webinar Replay: Industrial IoT - Transforming businesses today with LoRaWAN, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRoEbWjffBA

[6] Actility webinar slides: LoRaWAN Roaming Webinar, https://www.slideshare.net/Actility/lorawan-roaming

[7] Actility webinar Replay: LoRaWAN Roaming webinar, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWP6VV1CKEg

[8] Actility webinar slides: Multi-technology IoT Geolocation, https://www.slideshare.net/Actility/multi-technology-geolocation-webinar

[9] Actility webinar Replay: Multi-technology IoT Geolocation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzFZqMBI2QA

[10] http://vbn.aau.dk/files/236150948/vtcFall2016.pdf

[11] Actility Whitepaper: How to build a multi-technology scalable IoT connectivity Platform, https://www.slideshare.net/Actility/whitepaper-how-to-build-a-mutiltechnology-scalable-iot-connectivity-platform

[12] https://www.orange.com/en/Press-Room/press-releases/press-releases-2018/Nova-Veolia-and-its-subsidiary-Birdz-choose-Orange-Business-Services-to-help-them-digitalize-Veolia-s-remote-water-meter-reading-services-in-France