ICS telecom EV is the first radio planning solution supporting all IoT technologies and proprietary standards available on the market. Here are our advanced IoT features:
IoT networks and services are very different from « Classical Networks » in many aspects and especially from a Planning Perspective.
There is an undisputed agreement that Internet of things, i.e. the automatic (with no human intervention) collection of data through a wireless network of sensors or actuators and their analysis will make the world smarter and represent a deep brow.
Most experts expect an explosion of connected devices by 2020: 26Bn according to Gartner, 50Bn according to Cisco) up to 80 Bn IDATE. Connected devices will be pervasive in our everyday life.
IoT opens limitless opportunities
The first goal will be therefore to secure the connectivity – when required- of a massive number of objects by ensuring network availability all over the nation territory at minimum, and over the continent as needed, and whether the object is located indoor or outdoor, in static position or in move with a quality of service grade (in term of packet loss or latency, uplink / downlink speed) according to the class of data: critical or not, real-time or only for trend analysis, etc.
There is currently a large panel of wireless technologies available for the transmission of data over long distances. Some LPWAN technologies are proprietary and others are standardized by 3GPP.
While classical or 3GPP technologies rely on licensed frequency bands (700Mhz, 800Mhz, 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 2600Mhz), proprietary LPWAN technologies are using free of access bands such as 868Mhz. While these band do not require access cost, operators should however respect power levels (between 25mW and 500mW) and spectrum occupancy.
In an environment where it’s difficult to predict which wireless technology will prevail, where designer need to consider multiple network model and customers expect same quality of service than carrier grade mobile network it is crucial for either consultants, equipment suppliers, network operators or private companies to be able to accurately plan or evaluate the deployment of wireless technologies and/or the impact of spectrum usage on others spectrum stakeholders.
Deploying a successful IoT radio network means being able to take into account a wide variety of parameters, some specific to IoT radio environment such as:
ATDI offers the industry most advanced network planning and optimization software for IoT that predicts with an unmatched precision the effective coverage of base stations and incorporates all kind of standards and wireless radio IoT technologies: 3GPP GSM, UMTS, LTE, NB-IoT, LTE-M, EC-GSM, and upcoming 5G,LPWAN LoRaWAN, Sigfox, Qowisio, Ingenu, Weightless-N, IEEE 802.15.4 etc, broadcast, microwave, satellite, and PMR.
ATDI solution relies on the highest available resolution cartography, take into account 3D urban, suburban and rural environments and integrates in its software more than 25 years of experience on + 50 propagation models – that are continuously analyzed against real radio measurements - to evaluate all kind of attenuation effects and carry out coverage analysis. ATDI core expertise also relies on its capability to put in the equation a myriad of variables and massive calculation processing to complete classical operations such as simulating automatically the coverage according to parameters up to most complex scenarios, from few kHz to 350GHz, with an easy to use interface. ATDI methodology and expertise offers the highest degree of accuracy and precision that others technologies cannot achieve thanks to a 3D map-based deterministic propagation model to fulfill all V/U/S/EHF requirements at the same time: Line of Sight, diffraction, subpath, troposcattering, ducting, absorption, diffuse and partial specular reflections, scintillation, rain, snow, fog, ga, etc, valid for mixed Indoor and Outdoor studies.
Beyond traditional capabilities of radio network planning & optimization software, ATDI solution is shaped to address the specific needs of IoT network design:
A mesh network architecture can continuously maintain the connectivity between a set of IoT sensors and gateways/hubs and offers the advantage to be scalable and flexible and it’s the reason why it is particularly relevant to IoT networks. The radio-planning of mesh networks should provide the dimensioning of the mesh node in order to achieve the coverage requirements and analyze the links between the nodes in order to optimize the dynamic routing that guarantee minimized latency level and finally build the gateways backhauling.
Cluster assignment functionality of ATDI platform performs a clustering connections between the different IoT devices with constraints such as the distance between two linked devices, the maximum number of devices per station and per cluster, with a way to sort the devices. The connections between two subscribers will be made if the power received is greater than the predefined threshold. Parenting between Subscribers/Clusters and Gateways can be performed by Parenting function, limited to the maximum number of devices allowed. In order to check how many hops are required for each subscriber to reach a Gateway, there is the Hopping report function. ATDI solution finally offers a Prospective planning functionality and add additional repeater nodes to ensure connectivity for all devices that cannot be directly connected to a gateway.
NB-IoT network should provide coverage for different use cases with different requirements and challenges. What needs to be appraised: impact of indoor vs outdoor, traffic model and battery life. During a NB-IoT network deployment scenario, most of the candidate sites are likely to be selected from a list of friendly sites (2G, 3G or LTE existing sites) and the task of the RF planner will consist in finding the best candidates and densify the network. In this case the main goal network design phase will be to determine the required number of sites and their location to achieve the target coverage and throughput for different types of subscribers.
To model a use case such as smart metering in deep indoor areas, the ATDI platform Subscriber functions can be used, with additional losses in subscriber parameters. ATDI platform Prospective planning function allows to find the best locations for new sites in case of greenﬁeld and densiﬁcation scenarios. This function is based on coverage target assumption. Parenting function is based on a population of IoT devices (profiles in term of traffic can be defined by user). This function takes into account DL/UL coverage criteria and traffic assumption. Automatic site searching function will automatically perform the NB-IoT network design taking into consideration the RSRP threshold requirement.
Whatever LoRa or NB wireless system - there are RF limitations inherited from the use-case itself. M2M communication networks are P-MP in nature with sensors installed at different floors including basement. These requirements push network planners to adopt 3D digital maps and apply path-specific full deterministic propagation models. LoRa supports multiple spreading factors from 6 to 12. With 12 being the most robust but also the longest in terms of air-time occupancy. Network dimensioning must rely on accurate signal level prediction to work out the SF distribution amongst target End-Points. A GPS-free LoRaWAN geo-location device should be covered by at least 3 gateways to make a time difference of arrival (TDOA) calculation on the received LoRa signal and calculate the position.
ATDI platform comes with a set of full 3D and deterministic propagation models proven in case-studies and validated by field measurements for urban/suburban/rural environment. These models are described as path-specific. Unlike classical models such as Extended Hata which is typically used for macro-coverage predictions and street level mobile receivers. ATDI platform provides SF distribution map based on SINR calculation for link adaptation analysis and target air-time thresholds. Network analysis functions provide instruments to analyze zones with more than 3 gateway diversity for providing geolocation services in LoRaWAN network.
NB-IoT has been designed to satisfy a plethora of use cases and combination of these requirements, but especially NB-IoT targets the low-end Massive MTC scenario with following requirements: Less than 5$ module cost, extended coverage of 164 dB maximum coupling loss, battery life of over 10 years, ~55000 devices per cell and uplink reporting latency of less than 10 seconds.
NB-IoT supports Half Duplex FDD operation mode with 60 kbps peak rate in uplink and 30 kbps peak rate in downlink. Highest modulation scheme is QPSK in both uplink and downlink. As the name suggests, NB-IoT uses narrowbands with the bandwidth of 180 kHz in both, downlink and uplink. The multiple access scheme used in the downlink is OFDMA with 15 kHz sub-carrier spacing.
On uplink multi-tone SC- FDMA is used with 15 kHz tone spacing or as a special case of SC-FDMA single tone with either 15kHz or 3.75 kHz tone spacing may be used. These schemes have been selected to reduce the User Equipment (UE) complexity. NB-IoT can be deployed in three ways. In-band deployment means that the narrowband is multiplexed within normal LTE carrier.
In Guard-band deployment the narrowband uses the unused resource blocks between two adjacent LTE carriers. Also standalone deployment is supported, where the narrowband can be located alone in dedicated spectrum, which makes it possible for example to refarm the GSM carrier at 850/900 MHz for NB-IoT. All three deployment modes are meant to be used in licensed bands.
The maximum transmission power is either 20 or 23 dBm for uplink transmissions, while for downlink transmission the eNodeB may use higher transmission power, up to 46 dBm depending on the deployment.
LoRaWAN is an alliance focused on creating a LPWAN technology for IoT devices. LoRa uses spread-spectrum technology that lets the LoRa chip decide the best spectrum to use for data rates, interference, and battery life.
It's strongly adopted and deployed, with multiple vendors selling proven LoRa hardware. Because it's relatively inexpensive to cover a new area with LoRa, it's a good technology choice for LPWAN IoT products that need to be placed in areas without cell service.
Sigfox uses Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) radio technology and operates in the unlicensed bands (ISM). Radio messages handle by the Sigfox network are small (12-bytes payload in uplink, 8 bytes in uplink) thanks to lightweight protocol. Sigfox uses 200 kHz of the publicly available and unlicensed bands to exchange radio messages over the air (868 to 869 MHz and 902 to 928 MHz depending on regions).
Sigfox uses Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) technology combined with DBPSK and GFSK modulation. Each message is 100 Hz wide and transferred at 100 or 600 bits per second data rate, depending on the region. The transmission is unsynchronized between the device and the network.
The device broadcasts each message 3 times on 3 different frequencies (frequency hopping). The base stations monitor the spectrum and look for UNB signals to demodulate.
Should be deployable on existing LTE networks without hardware upgrades. That means the Verizon and AT&T could cover most of the US with LTE M1 with just a software upgrade (and both have announced plans to do just that).
M1 has a high data rate, but devices are capable of sleeping to reduce power. We don't know what the power consumption will look like until we get our hands on a working M1 radio, but watch this technology closely.
It's a major threat to LoRa and SigFox, which require the installation of new radio towers to deploy coverage. It could be a very good choice for products that target massive areas like nations, states, or cities.
This ISA standard is intended to provide reliable and secure wireless operation for non-critical monitoring, alerting, supervisory control, open loop control, and closed loop control applications.
It defines the protocol suite, system management, gateway, and security specifications for low-data-rate wireless connectivity with fixed, portable, and moving devices supporting very limited power consumption requirements.
The application focus is to address the performance needs of applications such as monitoring and process control where latencies on the order of 100 ms can be tolerated, with optional behavior for shorter latency.
WirelessHART is designed for the industrial environments, where power, reliability, resilience and scalability low are key, making them well suited for general industrial applications as well as WirelessHART-specific designs.
Battery-free operation promises a long device life. It's a very interesting technology that we haven't had a chance to play with, but we follow the company closely.
EnOcean can be prototyped with a raspberry pi which lowers development costs.
EnOcean is a good technology choice for products targeted at the commercial building that should have low maintenance costs.
Z-Wave uses a low-power, wireless radio embedded or retrofitted into home electronics and appliances, such as lighting, access control, entertainment systems, HVAC and refrigerators, remote controls, smoke alarms and intrusion sensors.
Z-Wave operates in the sub-GHz frequency range at 900 MHz. Each Z-Wave network may include up to 232 nodes and consists of two sets of nodes: controllers and slave devices. Nodes may be configured to retransmit the message in order to guarantee connectivity in a multipath environment inside a residential house.
Each Z-Wave network is identified by a network ID, and each device is further identified by a node ID. Nodes with different network IDs cannot communicate with one another. Each node (device) in the mesh networks can relay messages using a routing technique.
A node that could not be reached by the controller, the message is relay through an intermediate node. In the illustration below, when there are too many obstacle between the master bedroom toilet switch (node B) to the Z-Wave controller (node X), the control signal could flow through the master bedroom light switch (node C).
6LoWPAN is an acronym of IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Networks. 6LoWPAN is a low-power wireless mesh network where every node has its own IPv6 address, allowing it to connect directly to the Internet using open standards.
6LoWPAN is a promising alternative to other mesh network technologies. Because it's based on IPV6 addressing, it's relatively simple for 6LoWPAN devices to communicate with other IoT networks by building a bridge.
For example, a 6LoWPAN to Wi-Fi bridge is simpler to produce and operate than a Zigbee hub. In theory, the 6LoWPAN devices would have almost direct access to the Wi-Fi devices. 6LoWPAN is another standard that's great in specific applications.
We recommend it for products targeted at the home or commercial buildings that need to communicate with other products or systems.
Weightless-W open standard is designed to operate in TV white space (TVWS) spectrum. For one, the rules and regulations for utilizing TVWS for IoT vary, and it isn’t available everywhere.
Also, end nodes are typically designed to operate only in a small part of the spectrum, and it’s simply impossible to build a small antenna that can go anywhere from 400 MHz to 800 MHz In one city you might have a 500 MHz channel available, while in another you might have a 700 MHz one available, and the RF system cannot adapt to accommodate both of them (antennas, front ends, etc.).
Therefore, TVWS sounds good in theory, but can be lacking when it comes to application. TVWS aside, the Weightless group uses a lot of pretty sophisticated modulation for the Weightless-W standard, including quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), with spreading codes that allow for a large range of link budgets.
Together, these modulations provide an interesting service layer with really high data rates, which makes it a very interesting standard. Weightless-W is ideal for use in the smart oil and gas sector, because there is likely TVWS available.
The Weightless-N open standard is based on a low power wide area (LPWAN) star network architecture. It operates in sub-GHz spectrum using ultra narrow band (UNB) technology.
Weightless-N offers a claimed range of several kilometres even in urban environments. Very low power consumption provides for long battery life from small conventional cells and minimal terminal hardware and network costs.
Weightless-N is designed around a differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK) digital modulation scheme to transmit within narrow frequency bands using a frequency hopping algorithm for interference mitigation.
It provides for encryption and implicit authentication using a shared secret key regime to encode transmitted information via a 128 bit AES algorithm. The technology supports mobility with the network automatically routing terminal messages to the correct destination.
Multiple networks, typically operated by different companies, are enabled and can be co-located. Each base station queries a central database to determine which network the terminal is registered to in order to decode and route data accordingly.
Weightless-P is an ultra-high performance LPWAN connectivity technology for the Internet of Things. It will use a narrow band modulation scheme offering a bidirectional communications capability to enable unrivalled quality of service (QoS) and add on functionality.
The Standard will provide fully acknowledged 2-way communications offering both uplink and downlink capabilities and best in class QoS required for the stringent industrial IoT sector.
Weightless-N is designed around a differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK) digital modulation scheme to transmit within narrow frequency bands using a frequency hopping algorithm for interference mitigation. It provides for encryption and implicit authentication using a shared secret key regime to encode transmitted information via a 128 bit AES algorithm.
The technology supports mobility with the network automatically routing terminal messages to the correct destination. Multiple networks, typically operated by different companies, are enabled and can be co-located. Each base station queries a central database to determine which network the terminal is registered to in order to decode and route data accordingly.
ZigBee PRO networks are composed of several device types: ZigBee Coordinator, ZigBee Routers and ZigBee End Devices. Coordinators control the formation and security of networks. Routers extend the range of networks.
End devices perform specific sensing or control functions. Manufacturers often create devices that perform multiple functions, for example a device controls a light fixture and also routes messages to the rest of the network.
With the enhanced ZigBee 2012 specification, ZigBee PRO gains an new optional feature: Green Power. The Green Power feature of ZigBee PRO allows battery-less devices to securely join ZigBee PRO networks.
It is the most eco-friendly way to power ZigBee products such as sensors, switches, dimmers and many other devices. These devices can now be powered just by using widely available, but often missed sources of energy like motion, light, vibration, to name a few.
The energy used to flip a typical light switch via common energy harvesting techniques, is powerful enough to generate and send commands through a ZigBee PRO 2012 network.
The ZigBee RF4CE network is composed of two types of device: a target node and a controller node. A target node has full PAN coordinator capabilities and can start a network in its own right.
A controller node can join networks started by target nodes by pairing with the target. Multiple remote controls (RC) PANs form an RC network and nodes in the network can communicate between RC PANs.
In order to communicate with a target node, a controller node first switches to the channel and assumes the PAN identifier of the destination RC PAN.
It then uses the network address, allocated through the pairing procedure, to identify itself on the RC PAN and thus communicate with th desired target node.
ZigBee is a technology of data transfer in wireless network. It also can be described as a wireless technology developed as an open global standard to address the unique needs of low-cost, low-power wireless M2M networks.
ZigBee has a low energy consumption and its designed for multichannel control systems, alarm system and lighting control. It operates on IEEE 802.15.14 physical radio specification and operates in unlicensed bands. It is also more economical than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth which makes it simpler.
The ZigBee network layer support star and tree networks and mesh networking. It ensures that networks remain operable in the conditions of a constantly changing quality between communication nodes. In mesh and tree topologies, the ZigBee network is extended with several routers where coordinator is responsible for staring them.
They allow any devices to communicate with any other adjacent node for providing redundancy to the data. If any node fails, the information is routed automatically to other device by these topologies.
In star topology, the network consists of one coordinator responsible for initiating and managing the devices over a network. All devices of the protocol can interact because it has a unified standard of data transfer.
LoRa - Sigfox - NB-IoT - Mesh - Clustering - Smart Grid - LPWA