Intel Corporation has announced its support for Narrow-Band Long-Term Evolution (NB-LTE) technology, which it deems is the ‘ideal wireless connectivity solution’ for the Internet of Things (IoT) market segment.
NB-LTE is one of the 4G LTE variants being looked at for IoT. Standards body 3GPP is studying no less than four possible ways to adapt 4G LTE to make it suitable for low power wide area IoT networks. Category O and Category M are essentially stripped down version of the existing LTE standard.
Then there is EC-GSM – enhanced coverage GSM - and then the so-called ‘clean slate’ options, which as the name indicates is a low power IoT standard created from scratch. These include NB-LTE and NB-CIOT (Narrow Band-Cellular Internet of Things).
Intel, Ericsson and Nokia believe NB-LTE is well-suited for the IoT market segment ‘because of its low implementation cost, ease of use and power efficiency’. Intel said it plans to work closely with Ericsson and Nokia to develop and bring to market the products needed for the commercialisation of NB-LTE timed with market demand.
Intel intends to support commercial roll-out of the technology with a roadmap for NB-LTE chipsets and product upgrades beginning in 2016 that will enable slim form factors. The products will add to Intel’s growing LTE portfolio. Nokia and Ericsson will provide the required network upgrades to support an extension of existing LTE networks with NB-LTE optimised for low power machine-to-machine communication.
“We are excited to collaborate with two leading network vendors Ericsson and Nokia on the next wave of wireless innovation to connect the growing IoT market segment, and to further grow the momentum for Intel’s LTE portfolio and roadmap with NB-LTE,” said Stefan Wolff, vice president, Platform Engineering Group and general manager of the Multi-Comms Business Unit, Intel.
“Cellular networks already cover 90 percent of the world’s population so it makes sense to leverage this global footprint to support and drive IoT adoption through the standardisation of Narrow-Band LTE. Working with Intel and Nokia, Ericsson is driving the ecosystem to accelerate IoT growth and ensuring a global foundation for a vast range of new IoT applications for consumers, industry and government,” said Thomas Norén, vice president and Head of Product Management, Business Unit Radio, Ericsson.
“We believe in building an ecosystem around NB-LTE to speed up the take-up of the Internet of Things. This development will bring consumers benefits, such as enhanced and improved connectivity of devices and at lower cost. This is another extension of Nokia’s aim to improve people’s lives through a programmable world where billions of people, things, sensors and devices are connected,” said Stephan Litjens, vice president, Portfolio Strategy & Analytics, Nokia Networks.