Massive IoT, the new focus of IoT standardization: 5G Americas

5G Americas

Standardization challenges in IoT are being addressed with active participation of 3GPP in defining standards for the successful deployment of a wide variety of services across multiple industries,  says 5G Americas in its latest whitepaper LTE Progress Leading to the 5G Massive Internet of Things.

However, Massive IoT (MIoT), a relatively new term referring to the connection for potentially tens of billions of devices and machines, will require further definition in the standards for LTE and later for 5G.

IoT is predicted to be a key driver for telecom industry, but it will require new technology requirements to address varied use cases.

Today, Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) is already gaining attention and it is anticipated that cellular-based technologies such as LTE-M (Machine) and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) will become the leading LPWA standards by 2020. This would allow operators to choose from several Cellular IoT (CIoT) technologies based on their spectrum portfolio, legacy networks, and requirements of their offered services.

LTE-M is the commercial term for enhanced Machine-Type Communication (eMTC) LPWA technology published in the 3GPP Release 13 specification along with NB-IoT. Both technologies will continue to evolve in subsequent releases. It co-exist with earlier generation technologies.

The generic requirements for IoT are low cost, energy efficiency, ubiquitous coverage, and scalability (ability to support a large number of connected machines in a network), the study said.

In the 3GPP Release 13 standard, eMTC and NB-IoT meet the generic IoT requirements: they support in-band or guard band operations; device cost and complexity are reduced; a large quantity of IoT devices can be supported in a network; and battery life is extended.

3GPP Release 14 in 2017 introduces enhanced mobility, Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), support of higher data rates, broadcast (enhanced Multicast Downlink transmission) and improved positioning capabilities, among other innovations for CIoT.

To reach massive scale, which is defined by 3GPP as at least 1 million devices per square kilometer, mobile networks must more efficiently support the simplest devices that communicate infrequently, and are ultra-energy efficient so they can deliver an extremely long ten-year battery life.

Given the wide variety of use cases, environments and requirements, no single connectivity technology or standard can adequately serve all use cases. This is where development of multiple 3GPP cellular technology standards can cater to the future. 3GPP is keeping up with the growth of IoT to address the market demand,” confirmed Chris Pearson, president, 5G Americas.