Sierra Wireless announces LPWAN modules for cellular IoT market

Low cost, low power Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1 modules meet the new specifications for low power wide area narrowband networks using 4G LTE spectrum

Sierra Wireless announces LPWAN modules for cellular IoT market

Sierra Wireless has unveiled new Internet of Things (IoT) modules for use on low power wide area networks (LPWAN) based on licensed cellular technologies. It has introduced the AirPrime HL and WP Series cellular modules for Category-M1 (Cat-M1) and Category-NB1 (Cat-NB1) LTE networks for IoT applications.

Sierra Wireless’ solutions support the 3GPP standard for low-power, wide-area (LPWA) IoT technologies. The specifications for Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1 were finalised by 3GPP earlier this year. The new 3GPP cellular LPWAN standards were designed specifically to enable new narrowband IoT services to be supported on broadband LTE spectrum bands.

The AirPrime HL and WP Series modules are the smallest embedded modules (22 x 23 mm) to be completely interchangeable across 2G, 3G, 4G and LPWA technologies. They use the CF3 form factor, which is footprint compatible across product lines, providing customers with the option to develop smarter by building their connected IoT product or service on a single module.

For businesses developing IoT applications for markets such as energy, transportation and smart cities, Sierra Wireless’ LPWA solutions will:

• Simplify wireless integration and system development with cloud-connected modules
• Lower the cost and power consumption of devices
• Enable reliable and resilient connectivity links for locations with coverage challenges, such as deep indoors and in rural areas.

“Having shipped more than 120 million cellular modules, no one understands the challenges that businesses face in deploying IoT services better than Sierra Wireless,” said Dan Schieler, Senior Vice President, Embedded Solutions for Sierra Wireless.

“LPWA technologies eliminate many of those challenges because they allow cellular to address a broader range of use cases, making it cost effective to connect billions more devices.

“Our essential and smart application processing LPWA module options make it easy for existing customers to expand their deployments and for new customers to begin designing connected IoT products in applications where cellular previously wasn’t a fit.”

Sierra Wireless has been working with the 3GPP, the global cellular standards development organisation, since 2010 to develop a cellular standard for IoT. LPWA technologies now combine lower cost, broader coverage and better battery life with the globally available and secure cellular infrastructure. They are expected to connect more objects in cities, homes, hospitals and stores, and on roads and remote infrastructure, enabling a more connected world.

“LPWA will greatly expand cellular’s IoT market because it was specifically designed to meet the cost, power and coverage requirements for not only traditional markets but also new, untapped markets for IoT applications,” said Dan Shey, managing director and vice president at ABI Research.

“As the market share leader in cellular modules, Sierra Wireless is well positioned to help their customers execute on the new business models and opportunities that LPWA will bring.”

“The GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative quickly aligned the mobile industry behind common and complementary LPWA technologies in licensed spectrum that were published by 3GPP,” said Graham Trickey, Head of Connected Living, GSMA. “We are very pleased to see the commercialization of mobile IoT technologies taking place. Bringing cellular standards to LPWA is key to expanding its footprint in the developing IoT.”

The AirPrime CF3-based Cat-M1 and Cat-NB1 cellular modules are fully compliant with the 3GPP Release 13 standard. The HL Series for the LTE Cat-M1 air interface is in carrier trials now and sampling with lead customers. The HL Series for the LTE Cat-NB1 air interface is in development now and will be trialling with carriers soon. The WP Series will be available in 2018.

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