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May 21, 2015

LTE for IoT

By M&E Tech Staff

M&E TECH-May 21, 2015, Imagination Summit, Santa Clara, CA—Eran Eshed from Altair presented talking points about cellular infrastructure for the IoT. The greatest challenges are in overcoming the perceptions that LTE is a high-power, high-performance data transport technology that is very expensive. New technology developments and the latest revision to the LTE standards enable the cellular technology to be the backbone for IoT devices.

The greatest value for LTE technologies is that the 4G ecosystem is already ubiquitous in the developed countries. The infrastructure has proven to be robust and scalable within some limits. The LTE Advanced spec 3GPP Release 13 provides for machine-to-communications (MTC) systems connections at reduced power, which allows for longer battery life. An assumption is that the majority of IoT devices will be stationary which eliminates the hand-off requirements and its accompanying power demands. The technology is now capable of being the wireless backbone for many discrete data devices.

The LTE will provide the wireless WAN functions while other protocols will handle the short-range communications. The availability of a cellular backbone means that the many devices that currently require a cell phone as a hub can be tied to a fixed hub to perform the same functions. the fixed nature of the hub means that the individual devises can use the wide-band communications for long-range connections, BluTooth or Zigbee for short range contacts, and WiFi for the mid-range LAN capabilities. Together, the various connections media and protocols can use very low power for data communications.

The use cases for the combination of technologies include industrial apps, connected and smart cities, connected health, connected consumer electronics, connected homes, and connected cars. The automobiles will use their connections for telematics. The LTE-MTC standard features contribute to lower power consumption and reduced costs. Security is enhanced through virtualization of the apps environment for the simple tasks.

The approaching IoT is going to be the next frontier for explosive growth in the industry. The various assumptions about connectivity and interoperability will drive the industry towards highly integrated multi-protocol systems that take the best of many types of communications. Ideally, the IoT will be secure and user friendly.

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