Ixia presents LTE test solution for cellular IoT

Ixia testing IoTIxia announced IxLoad-Wireless, a LTE test solution for cellular IoT enhanced Machine-Type Communication (eMTC) and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technologies.

The US-based network testing solutions company said these technologies are new 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)-defined and will help manage the density expected with IoT and lay the foundation for 5G.

According to Ericsson’s Internet of Things Forecast, 70 percent of wide-area IoT devices will use cellular technology in 2022, and the number of cellular IoT devices will surpass mobile phones in 2018.

3GPP consortium requires that standards being developed for 5G must support a connection density of 1 million devices per square kilometer. Until 5G is ready, LTE carriers need to head off the avalanche of new cellular use with software upgrades that enable them to employ existing base stations for IoT connectivity.

IxLoad-Wireless generates real-world traffic enabling network equipment makers and carriers to test the performance of LTE components and networks.

IxLoad-Wireless supports multiple Cellular IoT interfaces including S1-Lite, a modified version of the existing S1-MME interface used for the control plane to signal or control messages, and the user plane the data being transferred between users, plus S11u for small data transmission. This allows IxLoad to emulate both the network and IoT user equipment (UE) to test IoT network nodes in isolation or the entire IoT ecosystem.

IxLoad simulates IoT network traffic details such as the signaling and messaging for Power-Save Mode and eDRX (extended Discontinuous Reception), where a UE stays inactive for set periods of time to extend battery life.

Cellular IoT market

Shipment of cellular IoT devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.7 percent from 155.6 million units in 2016 to 530.1 million units in 2022 — fueled by demand in China and the global adoption of connected car technology in the automotive industry.

“LTE-M and NB-IoT are the latest in a long line of cellular standards already connecting hundreds of millions of devices worldwide,” said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst and author of the report.

Berg Insight said shipments of non-cellular LPWA devices for IoT reached 13.5 million units in 2016. 802.15.4 WAN accounted for 8 million units, while shipments of LoRa and Sigfox were around 4 million and 1.5 million units respectively.

LoRa and Sigfox will outgrow 802.15.4 WAN and achieve annual shipments in the range of 50–100 million units each by 2022. Volume segments for non-cellular LPWA in the near to medium term will be asset tracking, buildings & security and smart cities.