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M2M Communications Using LTE CAT1
M2M Devices using LTE CAT1
Higher speeds with mobile broadband was initially the main driver for the development of 4G LTE standards by 3GPP. The rising popularity of smartphones pushed many carriers to launch and expand their 4G networks much faster than initially planned.
Although lower category LTE devices were included even in the initial releases of 3GPP LTE standards, these weren’t fully supported by the carriers or the device vendors as the broadband applications were dominant.
Most of the M2M applications however have a very low throughput demand. With the recent introduction of CAT 1 cellular modules into the market, the maximum throughput can be reduced to 10 Mbps. This in turn allows reductions in the cost, power consumption and the complexity of the device as huge savings on the processing power, clock speeds and memory requirements can be achieved.
This trend will continue with the introduction of CAT M1 and CAT M2 (NB-IoT) devices in future where the channel widths will also be reduced to 1.4 MHz and 200 KHz respectively. This allows even greater reductions in the complexity, power consumption and the cost of the devices. A link budget improvement of 15 to 20 dB is also expected to be achieved with these devices that will considerably enhance the coverage.
4G - Futureproof your M2M Communications
With the fast moving pace of technology in the mobile communications area, Australian carriers seem to be very keen to keep their infrastructure updated. As each generation of mobile technology is introduced, carriers tend to phase out older generations to keep the operation costs down and also to reuse the existing licenced spectrum for newer technologies.
Telstra recently switched off their 2G network with Optus and Vodafone to follow this year. It’s more than 10 years now since the first 3G network was launched in Australia. With the fast growing 4G coverage across the country and the upcoming 5G technology already in the horizon, Telstra has announced plans to phase out 3G by 2020.
Although telephony subscribers still form the majority of mobile network users, the number of M2M subscriptions is also rapidly growing. We all have heard of the famous forecast of 50 billion connected devices by 2020. As the industry is heavily investing in M2M devices, it’s very important to select the right technology that survives for a reasonable number of years.
When the first 4G network was launched in Australia back in 2011, higher download speeds and smaller latencies were the main differentiators that attracted customers. Ethernet 4G modems/routers were available in the Australian market shortly after as such devices are normally used in throughput demanding applications. Low cost 4G serial modem market on the other hand, didn’t really pick up because of the low speed nature of serial devices as well as the significantly higher cost of 4G cellular modules compared to the 3G devices.
As the cost of 4G devices continues to decline and the possibility of 3G shut down in the next few years gets more real, many industries now prefer to use 4G devices instead of 3G even if 3G satisfies their current requirements.