Nokia Networks unveiled a way for mobile operators to introduce an Internet of Things overlay on their 4G networks at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai. It has developed at three-step approach whereby operators can migrate their LTE core network to an IoT overlay starting with subscriber data management, moving on to gateways and finally mobility management.
The company said the three-step approach allows operators to flexibly migrate their core domains, so they can tackle the mix of mobile broadband and M2M traffic in a cost efficient way while keeping operational impact at minimal level.
The reason for doing this is that mobile networks are primarily optimised for smartphone traffic. But IoT applications will bring new requirements for the network infrastructure such as the number and type of connected devices and traffic patterns. Operators therefore need to prepare their networks for the corresponding shift in services and traffic.
Nokia’s new IoT connectivity solution is designed to enable this. It consists of two elements: Core for IoT; and enhanced Smart Scheduler for LTE radio.
Nokia's claims the benefits of its Core for IoT solution are:
• Drives down total cost of ownership (TCO) for IoT solutions on operators' networks and allows for a business mix of high average revenue per connection (ARPC) and low ARPC M2M traffic
• Improves operational efficiency by about 35% compared with legacy networks and provides 40% better CPU utilisation e.g. for smart meter traffic
• Open APIs allow for real-time data mining, service control and integration, making it much easier to ensure network optimisation and service enablement for IoT applications
• Programmability enables operators to cope with a multitude of applications and proactively reduce signalling traffic, e.g. by adjusting the timer value for service based paging for connected cars.
The benefits of the enhanced Smart Scheduler include:
• In addition to optimising LTE and TD-LTE cell capacity and smartphone user experience, it will unleash the IoT potential of today's 4G networks
• With self-adapting algorithms in Flexi Base Stations, it adapts to the IoT device traffic profile, which will become more relevant with the increasing variety of IoT use cases from stationary metering applications to demanding vehicle-to-infrastructure communications
• It reduces signalling load in the network, enhances responsiveness of the service and lowers power consumption of the IoT modem
• It improves connection quality even at the cell edge with minimised impact on network capacity.
Michael Clever, Head of Mobile Broadband Core Cluster at Nokia Networks, said: "While IoT represents a major growth opportunity for operators, they need to prepare their networks well. Nokia's IoT connectivity solution is a key building block required to efficiently manage the related M2M traffic. A secure connectivity layer will then open up further opportunities for management and application platforms, as well as analytics and user services."