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Progress in IoT Communications - Technologies, Markets and Applications
[October 10, 2017]

Progress in IoT Communications - Technologies, Markets and Applications

NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- This report addresses novel technologies designed for IoT/M2M communications.

Due to multiplicity of factors that should be considered in the developing IoT networks (applications, battery requirements, and traffic specifics) there is only a very remote possibility that a single technology will resolve all IoT communications issues. So far, the picture is very fragmented with multiple organizations developing specific technologies.

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There are two main tracks to wide-area public-network connectivity. The first is the evolution of LTE (and some other cellular technologies) to support IoT applications: longer battery life, longer range, lower cost in exchange for lower throughput. The second track includes narrow-band (NB) and ultra-narrow band (UNB) technologies promoted as a clean slate solution for IoT connectivity.

Mesh technologies (typically based on ZigBee) and Wi-Fi extensions (e.g. 802.11ah) have typically been used in private networks and have a separate evolution path (as examples, the report addresses 802.11ah, Bluetooth Mesh and Thread). Bluetooth Mesh is bringing many important to IoT communications features utilizing well established hardware platforms.

New proprietary technologies, such as LoRa, SigFox and other came into the market before standardized technologies; and they have already gained the sufficient market share. 3GPP standards have been approved only in 2016-2017.

Despite of this, it is expected that modified LTE and GSM will be able relatively ast to gain power– for these techniques, vast amount of cellular infrastructure is ready, and adaption to IoT communications requirements can be done usually through software upgrade. The report compares advantages and weaknesses of each method.

For the purpose of this report analysis, we distinguished the following groups of technologies:

1. Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) communications (Sub-1 GHz):
• LoRA
• SigFox
• Weightless (W, N, P)
• Waviot

2. 3GPP cellular LPWA (LTE, GSM):
• NB-IoT
• LTE Cat – M
• Other

3. Industry Groups/Standardizations Organizations:
• IEEE802.11ah (Sub-1 GHz)
• Thread
• Bluetooth Mesh
• Ingenu.

LPWA communication is split into two separate sub-categories. On the one hand, there are the current proprietary LPWA technologies, such as SigFox and LoRa, which typically operate on unlicensed sub -1 GHz spectrum. On the other hand, there are the forthcoming 3GPP standardized cellular IoT technologies, which typically operate on licensed spectrum (3GPP Rel. 12, 13 and up).

Designed specifically for low bandwidth, low-power IoT applications, LPWAs structures are poised to see huge growth over the next few years, with stakeholders across the industry now talking about LPWA technologies as a core enabler of the IoT.

LPWA profile IoT applications include metering, agriculture, vehicle telematics, tracking, healthcare, consumer products, and others. It is estimated that 3-4 billion LPWA connections will be in place by 2020, with hardware, network and service revenues reaching $9-$11 billion.

The report also analyzes the related work of such standards bodies as the IEEE, ITU, ETSI and other.

The report goals are also to identify major players in each protocol category; and estimate (5-year forecast) major marketing characteristics of still young IoT communications industry.

The survey of 802.11ah-related patents is also presented in the report.

The report was developed for a wide audience of managerial and technical staff of organizations that are working on IoT/M2M communications projects.

Read the full report:

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