Principles and Applications of Narrowband IoT: Principles of Low Power Wide Area Networks

Principles and Applications of Narrowband IoT: Principles of Low Power Wide Area Networks

Eisha Akanksha (Department of Electronics and Communication, CMR Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4775-5.ch003
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The internet of things (IoT) brings ‘life' to non-living things. In the IoT frameworks, the devices become smarter, more intelligent, become able to make decisions, and can communicate with other entities, applications, as well as human beings. According to a Gartner report, by 2020 more than 25 billion devices will be connected to the internet. Low power wireless wide area network (LPWAN) is a group of various low power, wide-area technologies such as LoRa, Sigfox, NB-IoT, DASH7, RPMA, LTE-M, designed to interconnect low bandwidth, battery-operated devices having limited processing power, limited memory, transmission speed with low bit rates at long-range using radio communication technologies. Most of these technologies provide a long battery life, low deployment cost, large capacity, and generates deeper insights of businesses. However, each technology differs in latency, data rate, handover mechanisms, quality of services, applications, and use cases. In this chapter, the authors provide the basic principles of these LPWANs and present their applications in different domains.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is considered as the extension of the common access networks and operational technologies where the basic core is the Internet. The IoT platform connects widely dispersed, static and mobile heterogeneous objects like sensors and actuators that collect the data from environment and send them to the cloud using local gateways and network technologies where the analysis and analytics is done on the data to enhance productivity, business gain, research etc. The IoT technologies are growing at a faster rate and are also increasing the number of practical applications like asset tracking, agriculture, smart metering, smart cities, smart homes. To connect the sensors to gateways and to cloud, various IoT technologies are used which in turn depends on many factors like range, data rate, energy consumption, battery life, size, scalability, cost, reliability, latency, overhead, topology, constrained network and much more. There are various technologies available in market starting from short range like ZigBee, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Thread, WirelessHART, Wireless Fidelity (operates in 2.4GHz, 915MHz, 868MHz ISM band (wiki)to medium and long-range communication solutions like cellular communications (e.g., 2G, 3G, and 4G), VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), Low power wide area network (LPWAN). Among all, the LPWAN becomes an area of interest for many researches and industrial IoT applications as it supports long range communication up to 10–40 km, at a low cost, low bit rate for the constrained nodes like sensors operating on batteries, giving them a longer life (more than 10 years).Many LPWAN technologies are defined working in licensed and unlicensed frequency spectrum.

In this chapter, we present the main features and characteristics of the commonly used LPWANs. We analyze their working principles, advantages and disadvantages with respect to the application domains. We also study their applicability in different practical applications. For this work, we go through a large number of contemporary scholarly publications. This chapter presents a structured literature review of LPWAN technologies. The literature search is based on the available technical journals, conferences, whitepapers and IEEE Xplore digital library.

The rest part of the chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses about the literature review of various existing LPWAN technologies. Section 3 elaborates various LPWAN technologies like Sigfox, LoRa, DASH7, Weightless, RPMA, NB-IoT, LTE-M along with their architecture, protocol stack, security features, applications, advantages and disadvantages. Section 4 represents the comparison of various available technologies. Section 5 presents the future research directions of these LPWANs. Finally, we finish this chapter with a conclusion.

Key Terms in this Chapter

LPWAN: Low power wide area network (LPWAN) is a wireless wide area network technology that interconnects low-bandwidth, battery-powered devices with low bit rates over long ranges.

Weightless: The Weightless is a global, democratic, non-profit, member based organisation to develop the open standard IoT connectivity technology.

DASH7: DASH7 Alliance Protocol (D7A) is an open source Wireless Sensor and Actuator Network protocol, which operates in the 433 MHz, 868 MHz and 915 MHz unlicensed ISM band/SRD band.

NB-IoT: NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a standards-based low power wide area (LPWA) technology developed to enable a wide range of new IoT devices and services.

Sigfox: Sigfox a French global network operator founded in 2010 that builds wireless networks to connect low-power objects such as electricity meters and smart watches, which need to be continuously on and emitting small amounts of data.

LoRa: LoRa (Long Range) is a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) protocol developed by Semtech. It is based on spread spectrum modulation techniques derived from chirp spread spectrum technology (CSS) technology.

RPMA: Random Phase Multiple Access, technology is a combination of state-of-the-art technologies designed specifically and exclusively for wireless machine-to-machine communication.

LTE-M: LTE-M is the abbreviation for LTE Cat-M1 or Long-Term Evolution (4G), category M1. This technology is for Internet of Things devices to connect directly to a 4G network, without a gateway and on batteries.

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