Deployment of Narrowband Internet of Things

Deployment of Narrowband Internet of Things

Sudhir K. Routray (Bule Hora University, Ethiopia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9199-3.ch005
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Internet of things (IoT) is an integral part of modern digital ecosystem. It is available in different forms. Narrowband IoT (NBIoT) is one of the special forms of the IoTs available for deployment. It is popular due to its low power wide area (LPWA) characteristics. For new initiatives such as smart grids and smart cities, a large number of sensors will be deployed and the demand for power is expected to be high for such IoT deployments. NBIoT has the potential to reduce the power and bandwidth required for large IoT projects. In this chapter, different practical aspects of NBIoT deployment have been addressed. The LPWA features of NBIoT can be realized effectively if and only if its deployment is done properly. Due to its large demand, it has been standardized in a very short span of time. However, the 5G deployment of NBIoT will have some new provisions.
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Internet of things (IoT) is a pervasive application of the Internet connected through several sensors and actuators. Initially, it was started as a value added service over the cellular communication networks. Over the time, it has evolved as a new dimension of the cellular networks. Now, it can be applied for several applications which are very attractive in the new initiatives such as smart cities and smart grids. The modern day cellular networks are in a very suitable position to provide the IoT deployment over their infrastructure. However, it can be deployed both in the cellular and non-cellular frameworks. Cellular networks provide cost effective deployment as their infrastructure is already mature. Non-cellular deployment needs a new infrastructure for the IoT deployment.

Right now, there are several types of IoT networks. One of them is narrowband IoT (NBIoT). This is a new type of radio access technology which needs a very few resources for its deployment when compared with other forms of IoTs. Therefore, it is considered as a low power wide area (LPWA) technology. That means it needs a very low power levels for its operations while covering a large area. LPWA features are essential for large scale deployment of IoTs for long term sustainability. In the modern digital ecosystem, wide spread deployment of sensors and actuators for all the essential facilities of the cities would be very expensive and energy consuming. Therefore, energy and other resource saving technologies are essential for modern projects such as smart cities, smart retail, smart transport systems, smart grids and smart policing.

The term “narrowband” is due to the use of 200 kHz bands for NBIoT. In Long Term Evolution (LTE), bands are comparatively much wider than 200 kHz. The time when NBIoT was standardized by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in 2016, the typical 4G LTE channels used to be of around 10 MHz. Therefore, 200 kHz bands are much narrower than the LTE bands. Of course, when compared with the GSM and UMTS bands, the 200 kHz may not be that narrow. However, the name (i.e., NBIoT) was given based on the comparisons with the 4G LTE bands. In 5G, the bands will be even wider and the 5G associated NBIoT will be really very narrowband application over it.

The main objective of this chapter is to provide the deployment techniques of NBIoT. We provide a detailed study and analysis of NBIoT features, principles, potentials and some typical applications. We also present the bandwidth and other essential requirements of NBIoT for practical deployment. We show the typical models for NBIoT and their utilities for practical deployment. We also considered the energy efficiency and other related aspects which are important considerations for its long term sustainability.

The reminder of the chapter is organized in five sections. In Section 2, the literature review of NBIoT deployment has been presented. In Section 3, the bandwidth and band selection related issues of NBIoT deployment have been presented. It is shown that in three different ways it can be deployed effectively, and even hybrid deployments are also available. In section 4, the methods and techniques for the deployment of sensors, actuators and servers of NBIoT have been shown. The roles of edge computing facilities have been presented in this section. In Section 5, the future research directions of NBIoT and its deployment techniques have been presented. Finally, in Section 6, the chapter has been concluded with the main points.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet of Things: Internet of things is a new technological paradigm in which several objects and devices are connected to the Internet using sensors and transceivers. The connectivity can be wireless or wired. However, now the popularity of wireless connectivity is dominant over the wired connections. Similarly, there are several possible connection technologies available. In the recent years radio technologies are more popular than any other alternatives. However, several other technologies are available in the market.

Narrowband IoT: This is a recent version of IoT. As the name suggests this version uses narrow bands for its operation. It is a popular LPWA technology due to its large coverage, low energy consumption, and overall simplicity. It is compatible with almost all kinds of cellular communications.

Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency can be defined as the effective use of energy to carry out any task. The lower is the consumption, the better is the system. In communication engineering, energy efficiency is very important as the system needs a large amount of energy to provide services to the people.

Bandwidth Efficiency: It can be defined as the effective and useful use of every Hertz of frequency available for communication. In radio communication, bandwidth efficiency is essential as the available spectrum for communication is very limited. Bandwidth efficiency can be increased through spectral efficiency (by increasing the number of bits per hertz).

Low Power Wide Area Networks: Low power wide area networks are the ones which can cover a large area for communication using a very small amount of power. These technologies are very popular for the large-scale deployments such as smart grids and smart cities.

Deployment of Narrowband IoT: It is the planning, design, testing, and on-site practical implementation of the NBIoT servers, sensors, actuators and other supporting parts of NBIoT to make it fully functional for practical applications. A full-scale deployment may take a long time (a few years) for a large project like the smart cities and smart grids.

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