by Mark Harms, Senior Consultant, Award Solutions

Is the Internet of Things (IoT) complicated or relatively simple? Well, perhaps both.  

In describing IoT, I like to paint a picture using an acronym coined by Numerex many years ago – DNA. An IoT solution has three main components – Devices, Networks, and Applications.   

Each IoT device will have: 

  1. Sensor(s) – to monitor temperature, humidity, flow, pressure, etc.  
  2. Compute – to collect information, send information to a central application, and perhaps take immediate action  
  3. Network components – to connect to wireless networks (LTE), Wi-Fi, and/or wireline networks 

IoT devices of all sorts are available on the market. The Arduino Portenta H7, recently made available for beta test, is a modular platform designed to help kickstart new IoT development efforts.  

Many IoT solutions span multiple networks. They may connect via LTE, Wi-Fi, or other networks. Two new LTE categories of devices that have serious momentum today are LTE-M and NB-IoT.  Check out this Mobile IoT Deployment Map from GSMA that showcases national and regional deployments of LTE-M and NB-IoT networks.  

The application is the brains. The application collects data, is programmed to take action on that data, and provides a user-interface, plus much more. Amazon is just one of the new players in the application space, looking to become a catalyst for IoT industrial, consumer, and commercial solutions. 

Herein lies the simplified view of IoT:  Devices are connected through networks to applications that collect data and control devices. The complexity is that there are hundreds of devices, dozens of networks, and dozens or hundreds of applications from which to choose. These complex decisions can slow down the deployment of IoT solutions. 

You can learn more about the inner workings of technologies like NB-IoT Performance Analysis on Award Solutions’ YouTube Channel.  You can also get a guided tour of the IoT space by attending the IoT Tour at MWC. You will hear from companies making waves in IoT: those focused on the device side, the network side, and the application side. More importantly, you will see real solutions that are available today.  

Don’t allow the complexity of IoT to slow you down and overshadow its simplicity. Choose some solid partners, begin deploying solutions, and learn and grow them as you move forward.

Learn more about Mark Harms and join the IoT Tour at MWC to learn more about this topic. See you there soon!

By Dr. Jyrki Penttinen, Senior Technology Manager, GSMA North America

The benefits of 5G include faster data speed, lower latency, and the support of massive IoT traffic. Nevertheless, in order to take full advantage of its capacity, the mobile network operators need more bandwidth.The ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) is in a key role to make this happen in the global scale. The recently held WRC-19 discussed and updated the radio frequency allocations. This very event was so far the most relevant in the efforts to pave the way for high-capacity mmWave bands of 5G. The new bands include 26 GHz, 40 GHz, and 66 GHz, and regulators can allocate national bands based on those. This activity is of utmost importance to ensure a fair balance between the commercial operations and other entities needing the spectrum.

While the low-bands, referring to frequencies below 1 GHz, are capable to cover largest areas, their available bandwidth is rather limited so they are suitable for relatively low bitrate services. Their large coverage makes them an excellent base for the users on rural areas and for the remotely located IoT devices.

The mid-band, referring to the frequency range of 1-6 GHz, supports wider bands, which translates to higher data speeds and greater capacity for simultaneously connected consumer and other 5G devices. The mid-band coverage is smaller than that of low-band but it offers a good compromise between the coverage and capacity. Mid-band is thus especially useful in sub-urban and urban environments.

The high-band is less congested and has large blocks of capacity. Nevertheless, its coverage is very limited, making the high-band most useful in the densest city centers. As a rule of thumb, the high-band small-cells offer the most performant 5G services in focused areas while the overlapping lower bands take care of the more basic services.

Thanks to the new bands of WRC-19, the operators will have now more options for their 5G deployment strategies.

Please find more information on the 5G frequencies here:

Dr. Jyrki Penttinen has worked in mobile telecommunications in Finland, Spain, Mexico, and the USA. At present, he assists operator members with the adoption, design, development, and deployment of GSMA specifications and programmes. Dr. Penttinen has also authored 5G and other telecommunication books. You can find more of his articles on LinkedIn.

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