The model for IoT or Smart devices is that these can be located anywhere but
they need some element of communication to the 'cloud' or a server. Often this
communication is lightweight, not much data is transmitted or received.
With this in mind the requirement for full 4G is overkill.
What is needed is a network that :
- Has a low power requirement; LTE-M states that a 5WH battery should last
- Applications have a low data transmission requirement
- Transmission is symmetrical, similar data rates required for both upload
LTE-M can deliver (O2 figures) 1Mbps using a 1.4MHz channel. So the protocol
works over 4G but uses a narrow channel with low data rates. This is often what
is required from such devices
Applications that could use LTE-M include:
- Highway management such as parking, traffic lights, although cameras
would place a too high demand on this channel.
- Environmental management with CO2 sensors, smoke detectors, where
demand is rising at this time due to many enviromental concerns
- Smart meters, which currently use the 2G network but have a low data
demand will in future be able to use this network
It is envisaged that LTE-M (or Narrowband IoT) will take over 2G communications
for these applications. Thus the MNO will be able to re-factor the 2G frequency for