IOT, Software, Wireless

Using cellular technology within different IOT scenarios(Part-1)

This blog post is essentially a summary of my presentation(which can be found here) on application and deployment of 5G within IoT scenarios. which revolves around the following publication:


  • Some basic terminologies
  • Types of IOTs and their requirements
  • MTC Technical requirements
  • IOT communication technologies and their key performance indicator
  • IOT enablers : What all features do we want in 4G-E and 5G for IOT?(Part-2)
  • 5G IOT architectures- SmartM2M and OneM2M (Part-2)


  • 3GPP – 3rd Generation Partnership Project – The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications standards associations, known as the Organizational Partners. The initial scope of 3GPP was to make a globally applicable third-generation (3G) mobile phone system specification based on evolved GSM. Later on it lays foundation of 4G and 5G specifications as well.
  • MTC – Machine type communication – MTC (or Machine to Machine (M2M) communications) are about enabling direct communications among electronic devices, dubbed MTC devices, and/or enabling communications from MTC devices to a central MTC server or a set of MTC servers.
  • RAT Radio access technology – RAT is the underlying physical connection method for a radio based communication network. Many modern phones support several RATs in one device such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or LTE.
  • RAN – Radio access networkRAN is part of a mobile telecommunication system. It implements a radio access technology. Conceptually, it resides between a device such as a mobile phone, a computer, or any remotely controlled machine and provides connection with its core network (CN). Depending on the standard, mobile phones and other wireless connected devices are varyingly known as user equipment (UE), terminal equipment, mobile station (MS), etc. RAN functionality is typically provided by a silicon chip residing in both the core network as well as the user equipment.
  • Heterogeneous Networking(HetNet)Heterogeneous networking is used for refering to wireless networks using different access technologies. For example, a wireless network which provides a service through a wireless LAN and is able to maintain the service when switching to a cellular network is called a wireless heterogeneous network.

Quick recap of various cellular technologies

2G, 3G, 4G and 5G are just the specifications set up by 3GPP. They merely describes desirable data rates, throughput, extent of scalability, QoS etc. GSM, UMTS, LTE on the other hand are the actual wireless standards deployed to achieve their respective desired specifications.

GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) uses time division multiple access(TDMA) or code division multiple access(CDMA) for achieving 2G specifications.

Similarly, HSPA uses W-CDMA(Wide-band CDMA) and LTE uses OFDM to meet their respective desirable specifications.

Pre-standard implementation of 5G includes 5GTF and 5G-SIG. Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed by 3GPP to enable a wide range of cellular devices and services.NB-IoT focuses specifically on indoor coverage, low cost, long battery life, and high connection density. NB-IoT uses a subset of the LTE standard, but limits the bandwidth to a single narrow-band of 200kHz.

Types of IOT

Consumer IOT(C – IOT) Industrial IOT(I – IOT)
Involves the interconnection of consumer electronic devices as well as user environment. Involves integration of Operational technology(OT) and Informational technology(IT)
Machine to user comm. Machine to Machine comm.
Major requirements:
Ease of installation
Moderate security
Major requirements:
Low power consumption
High security

Deployment of 5G within IOT is most likely to revolutionize I-IOT where we predominantly need large coverage and scalability.

MTC Technical requirement

Following are the expected features of a wireless network for M2M communication:

  1. Low complexity with enough flexibility
    1. Low complexity of communication technology ensures
      1. Lower manufacturing cost
      2. High throughput
    2. Flexibility ensures
      1. Adaptability for different IOT applications
  2. Longer battery life
  3. Need for coverage improvement
    1. Industrial IOT can extend upto hundreds of km
    2. Can be done by multiple hoping, heterogeneous networking etc.
  4. User Identification and Elimination
    1. Require a mechanism for User Equipment(UE) identification without compromising scalability( Traditional SIM won’t work!! )
    2. Network should be able to identify and eliminate roaming or compromised devices
  5. 3rd party support and user privacy
    1. Network should provide control and monitoring APIs to extend services to 3rd party businesses.
    2. User privacy and tolerance against network based vicious attacks like DDoS.

Popular Wireless IOT standards

  1. Zigbee
    1. It’s a low power, wireless mesh standard.
    2. Low data rate, high range
    3. Employs Timeslotted channel hopping(TSCH) which reduces interference
    4. Operates in 2.4 Ghz ISM band
    5. Best suited for scenarios which require a dense mesh network of nodes
  2. Bluetooth Low energy(BLE)
    1. BLE is smart low energy version of Bluetooth
    2. Good for short ranges(<50m), low power control and monitoring application
    3. Operates in 2.4GHz ISM band with 40 channels, 2MHz channel spacing
    4. Uses adaptive frequency hopping algorithm for low interference
    5. De-facto standard for User to machine communication
  3. Low power Wifi(LP-WiFi)
    1. LP-WiFi is the low power version of WiFi designed for IOT.
    2. Doesn’t guarantee QoS due to high interference on 2.4GHz
    3. Limited range.
    4. Modified to use sub-GHz band for less interference and
      long ranges.
  4. LPWAN – Low Power, Wide Area Network
    1. Suitable for exchange for small amount of data
    2. Consists of various propriety services like LoRaWAN, SigFox etc which operates in sub-GHz band
    3. Range extends upto tens of kms with very low interference.
    4. Establishes an asymmetric connections where transmitting and receiving antennas have different gains.
    5. Has scalability issues as they work on unlicensed bands.
  5. 3GPP Cellular: MTC
    1. Very wide network coverage upto thousands of km
    2. Robust – no single point of failure
    3. 2G has low power consumption, global coverage and is fairly simple in its operation. However, from business point of view 2G is now becoming obsolete.
    4. 3G(UMTS/HSPA) has lower power efficiency and larger modem cost then 2G.
    5. 4G(LTE/LTE-A) uses OFDM which provides bandwidth flexibility. Less coverage than 3G/2G. NB-IOT can be a really good candidate for MTC.
    6. 5G can support very large number of devices, with low cost, lower power consumption and can thus be an integral part for M2M.

In the next post, we will discuss various Radio Access Technologies and Radio Access Network along with 5G iot architectures, SmartM2M and OneM2M.

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