Weightless SIG and Digital Catapult have unveiled a low power, wide area (LPWAN) Internet of Things (IoT) network in London based on the Weightless-N open standard and deploying Nwave technology. Digital Catapult has made available the infrastructure on which the Weightless-N Smart City network base stations are implemented.
The Weightless-N standard is one of two current variants developed by Weightless SIG, a non-profit global standards organisation, designed to provide an ultra low cost, ultra low power consumption, wide area IoT network with excellent signal propagation characteristics.
Operating in sub-1GHz, licence-exempt ISM spectrum using ultra narrow band (UNB) technology, Weightless-N offers best-in-class signal propagation characteristics, leading to excellent range of several kilometres, even in challenging urban environments such as the city of London, Weightless SIG said.
Very low power consumption provides end points with exceptionally long battery life measured in years from small conventional cells, and leading edge innovation in design minimises both terminal hardware and network costs.
London is one of the world’s largest cities, the largest municipality in Europe with over 21 million people in a metropolitan area covering over 8,000 square kilometres. Siting of base stations to support an efficient, low cost city-wide network is an important part of the deployment planning process, Weightless SIG argues.
“We are delighted to be able to provide a platform to showcase Weightless-N technology, a key enabler for Smart City projects not just across the capital but around the world,” said Peter Karney, Head of Engineering, Digital Catapult.
“We are looking forward to opening this up to our network to enable them to continue to showcase the UK’s innovation in this area; we will be leading an open call in the near future allowing these innovators to register their interest in the project.”
Network modelling predicts coverage encompassing well known London landmarks including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London to the south and the Emirates Stadium to the north. Independent real world signal verification will shortly be carried out to provide an accurate coverage map and this will be published on the Weightless website when complete.
Yury Birchenko, CEO of Nwave Technologies, described the network as “a groundbreaking milestone – the first public network deployment from Nwave since the publication of the Weightless-N open standard”.
Weightless-N is designed around a differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK) digital modulation scheme to transmit within narrow frequency bands using a frequency hopping algorithm for interference mitigation and enhanced security. It provides for encryption and implicit authentication using a shared secret key regime to encode transmitted information via a 128 bit AES algorithm.
The technology supports mobility with the network automatically routing terminal messages to the correct destination. Multiple networks, typically operated by different companies, are enabled and can be co-located. Each base station queries a central database to determine which network the terminal is registered to in order to decode and route data accordingly.
The Weightless-W standard defines a technology designed to operate in TV White Space spectrum and was completed in early 2013. According to the Weightless SIG website, development of a third Weightless Standard will be announced ‘shortly’.
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