A globe-spanning network for the Internet of Things (IoT) has been built over the past 20 years that provides the coverage, security and reliability needed to connect us and bring intelligence to the things that surround us. Cellular networks already cover 90% of the world’s population, but even with the networks in place, a number of roadblocks to supporting mass-market adoption of IoT have remained.
That’s why Ericsson is addressing these challenges with a targeted new suite of software upgrades and ecosystem advances that will accelerate the uptake of IoT for the benefit of both industry and consumers.
There are already more than 230 million cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions for IoT devices, but certain challenges have limited the potential for large-scale adoption across a variety of use cases, namely: the cost of IoT devices, device battery life, and cellular coverage in both remote areas and deep inside buildings.
Working with its ecosystem partners, advances in Ericsson’s new IoT Networks Software 16B delivers:
* Reduced IoT device cost – The new software supports LTE Category 0 with half-duplex operation in FDD, which effectively limits functionality and capability to those specifically required for IoT applications, such as large-scale sensor and smart meter deployments. This reduced complexity cuts device cost by 60% compared to Category 4.
* Extended battery life – 10-year battery life is one of the goals for 5G and Ericsson is introducing two new software upgrades for energy efficiency that achieve that goal on today’s IoT devices. Device Power-saving Mode for LTE & GSM is a new device power-saving capability that introduces a deep sleep state, while Extended Discontinuous Reception (DRX) for GSM extends the sleep cycles in inactive mode.
* Improved indoor coverage – Extended coverage software for GSM delivers a 20 dB improvement leading to a seven-fold extension in the range of low-rate applications. This enables the usage of IoT applications in remote locations and deep within buildings underground.
An additional capability included in this software release is the enablement of service prioritizstion to optimize network resources while addressing the diversity of IoT use cases.  As more IoT devices connect to the network, it is important that they and the services they provide can be prioritised, especially during times of heavy traffic.
IoT QoS Admission Control for GSM enables the prioritization of devices trying to access the network, such as giving medical equipment priority over a utility meter, and it can even disconnect low-priority devices temporarily to mitigate any capacity limitations. This functionality is already supported in LTE.
Arun Bansal, senior vice-president and head of business unit radio at Ericsson, says: “We are accelerating IoT growth on existing LTE and GSM networks to ensure a global foundation for a vast range of new consumer, industry and government applications, from Smart Cities to connected farms.
“With our leading national and multi-national operator customers, like SK Telecom and Orange, and ecosystem partners like Intel, we are co-creating end-to-end IoT network and device solutions that harness the power of reliable, globally scalable, standards-based systems and services. These innovations put our mobile operator customers solidly on the road to 5G.”
Gartner predicts that IoT will provide a $1,9-trillion increase in value across sectors in 2020. Ericsson plays a role in all levels of IoT transformation, from rollout to enterprise and business processes, platforms and cloud and radio connectivity.