Ericsson demonstrated Extended Coverage-GSM-IoT (EC-GSM-IoT) at its booth during MWC 2016 as part of its smart agriculture and connected vineyards use case demonstration combining air humidity and temperature low complexity sensors with long battery life.
EC-GSM-IoT (formerly know as Enhanced Coverage EGPRS or EC-EGPRS) is a new technology that enables new capabilities of existing cellular networks for LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) IoT applications. EC-GSM-IoT can be activated through new software deployed over a very large GSM footprint, adding even more coverage to serve IoT devices.
This means operators can use their existing 2G GSM networks to provide LPWA IoT solutions, but in a much more efficient and cost-effective way. A key requirement to match existing LPWA solutions in unlicensed spectrum, is to increase GSM coverage by 20 dB.
Ericsson, Orange and Intel completed one of the first live trials of EC-GSM-IoT technology for Internet of Things optimised for low-cost, low-complexity devices and enhanced network capabilities for cellular IoT earlier this year.
This EC-GSM-IoT trial was conducted in Paris from November 2015 to February 2016, using the 900 MHz band. Coverage extension of 20 dB beyond GSM coverage was reached, showing a seven-fold improvement in the range of low-rate applications.
It also showed the ability to reach challenging locations such as deep indoor basements, where many smart meters are installed, or remote areas in which sensors are deployed for agriculture or infrastructure monitoring use cases. The live trial demonstrated excellent performances and proved the full coexistence of such devices with legacy mobile devices, according to Ericsson.
Alain Maloberti, SVP of Orange Labs Networks, said: "The results of this trial represent a significant step forward for the industry. It demonstrates the viability and cost effectiveness of the technology, and paves the way for us to help the IoT ecosystem develop."
Arun Bansal, Head of Business Unit Radio, Ericsson commented: "Our cellular LPWA solution allows operators to optimise their existing infrastructure with new software deployment. We are pleased with the results reached during the trial. EC-GSM-IoT is a promising technology offering new opportunities for massive IoT based on 3GPP standard evolutions."
Asha Keddy, Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Next Generation and Standards Group Intel, added: "Improved indoor coverage is key when it comes to IoT, so we are very pleased with the results achieved during the trial. We are in a position to help our customers meet their IoT solution requirements."
Cellular networks optimised for IoT will be operational in 2017, according to Ericsson