Orange partnership to extend GSM coverage for IoT
I’m willing to bet that for every optimistic conversation about the ‘what’ will be connected in the Internet of Things, there’s a very practical discussion about the extended coverage needed to bring the IoT to life. Why? Simply because the “Things”, like smart meters for example, are often at locations with poor accessibility and network reach. Connecting these devices to the network will require robust coverage. Consider a water meter in a country cottage, at a remote countryside location with GSM coverage only, no 3G or 4G. Having the possibility to read the water meter remotely will cut meter reading costs and also allow for easy leakage surveillance.
Typically, water meters are located where the water pipe enters in the basement of buildings, where even the normal GSM signal is too weak. So how can water meters be successfully connected? Through a new technology called “EC-GSM-IoT” (Extended Coverage GSM for Internet of Things).
According to Olivier Simon, Wireless Technology Evolution Director at Orange: “This simplified example shows very nicely the connectivity challenge for the IoT. With EC-GSM-IoT, Orange can fully leverage its GSM networks and spectrum assets. This access technology addresses IoT markets in regions where LTE deployments are not widespread. Upgrading the GSM network to EC-GSM-IoT is the most efficient and standard way to provide connectivity not only to water meters, but to many other meters, sensors and other devices.”
Nokia showcased this scenario using EC-GSM-IoT with our chipset partners such as Intel and Mediatek at Mobile World Congress 2016.
“Everywhere connected objects that send, share and collect information require innovative chipset technology and advanced networks,” said JC Hsu, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the IoT Business Unit at MediaTek. “MediaTek continues to be at the center of the Internet of Things, collaborating with Nokia and Orange, and supporting technology for low power, low throughput, and low cost devices that will drive growth and innovation in the IoT marketplace.”
The common objective is to further develop the EC-GSM-IoT ecosystem by providing the best IoT connectivity through Orange’s extensive GSM coverage, and all it takes is a simple software upgrade to their existing cellular networks.
As active sponsors of the Mobile IoT initiative in GSMA, Orange and Nokia will run a live EC-GSM-IoT pilot this year. The pilot will test EC-GSM-IoT devices and demonstrate how the technology can support a massive number of devices (over 50,000 per cell), extend rural and in-building machine-to-machine coverage, and decrease IoT device cost (to 3-5 USD). And thanks to EC-GSM-IoT, battery life will be extended to over 10 years.
You can read more in these press releases:
Nokia helps network operators and enterprises develop new IoT revenue streams #MWC16
Nokia and MediaTek demonstrate Extended Coverage Enhanced General Packet Radio Service (EC-EGPRS) at Mobile World Congress 2016 #MWC16
Orange and MediaTek Announce Collaboration to Speed Adoption of Cellular Connectivity for Connected Objects
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