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Advances in IoT Communications - Technologies, Markets and Applications

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  • 138 Pages
  • April 2018
  • Region: Global
  • PracTel Inc
  • ID: 4496583

This report addresses novel technologies and related markets designed for IoT/M2M communications.

Due to multiplicity of factors that should be considered in the developing IoT networks (applications, battery requirements, and traffic specifics, etc.) there is only a very remote possibility that a single technology will resolve all IoT communications issues. So far, the picture is very fragmented with multiple organizations developing specific technologies.

There are two main tracks to wide-area public-network connectivity. The first is the evolution of LTE (and some other cellular technologies) to support IoT applications: longer battery life, longer range, lower cost in exchange for lower throughput. The second track includes narrow-band (NB) and ultra-narrow band (UNB) technologies promoted as a clean slate solution for IoT connectivity.

Mesh technologies (typically based on ZigBee) and Wi-Fi extensions (e.g. 802.11ah) have typically been used in private networks and have a separate evolution path (as examples, the report addresses 802.11ah, Bluetooth Mesh and Thread). Bluetooth Mesh is bringing many important to IoT communications features utilizing well established hardware platforms.

New proprietary technologies, such as LoRa, SigFox and other came into the market before standardized technologies; and they have already gained the sufficient market share. 3GPP standards are being approved gradually in Releases 12-14.

Despite of this, it is expected that modified LTE and GSM will be able relatively fast to gain power– for these techniques, vast amount of cellular infrastructure is ready, and adaption to IoT communications requirements can be done usually through software upgrade. The report compares advantages and weaknesses of each method.

For the purpose of this report analysis, we distinguished the following groups of technologies:

1. Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) communications (Sub-1 GHz):

  • LoRA
  • SigFox
  • Weightless (W, N, P)

2. 3GPP cellular LPWA (LTE, GSM):

  • NB-IoT
  • LTE Cat – M
  • EC-GSM-IoT
  • Other

3. Industry Groups/Standardizations Organizations:

  • IEEE802.11ah (Sub-1 GHz)
  • Thread
  • Bluetooth Mesh
  • Ingenu

.LPWA communication is split into two separate sub-categories. On the one hand, there are the current proprietary LPWA technologies, such as SigFox and LoRa, which typically operate on unlicensed sub -1 GHz spectrum. On the other hand, there are the forthcoming 3GPP standardized cellular IoT technologies, which typically operate on licensed spectrum (3GPP Rel. 12, 13 and up).

Designed specifically for low bandwidth, low-power IoT applications, LPWAs structures are poised to see huge growth over the next few years, with stakeholders across the industry now talking about LPWA technologies as a core enabler of the IoT.

LPWA profile IoT applications include metering, agriculture, vehicle telematics, tracking, healthcare, consumer products, and others. It is estimated that 3-4 billion LPWA connections will be in place by 2020, with hardware, network and service revenues reaching $9-$11 billion.

The report also analyzes the related work of such standards bodies as the IEEE, ITU, ETSI and other.

The report goals are also to identify major players in each protocol category; and estimate (5-year forecast) major marketing characteristics of still young IoT communications industry.

The survey of related patents is also presented in the report.

The report was developed for a wide audience of managerial and technical staff of organizations that are working on IoT/M2M communications projects.

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Definition
1.2 General
1.3 Scope
1.3.1 Major Goal
1.4 Research Methodology
1.5 Target Audience
2.0 IoT/M2M Communications Specifics
2.1 General
2.1.1 Main Tracks
2.2 Environment
2.3 Current Situation
2.4 Requirements
2.5 Spectrum Requirements
2.6 Summary
3.0 Developing Communications Technologies for IoT
3.1 General
3.2 Weightless Technologies
3.2.1 Weightless SIG Common Features Weightless-W White Spaces Communications - Principles Definition Rational Ecosystem and Use Cases Weightless-W Details Changes Weightless-N General Open Standard Nwave Initial Deployments Summary Weightless-P General Details M2COMM
3.2.2 Comparison of Weightless Technologies
3.3 RPMA
3.3.1 Major Features
3.3.2 Proliferation
3.3.3 Components and Structure
3.3.4 Use Cases
3.4 LoRa
3.4.1 Alliance Open Protocol
3.4.2 Technology Building Blocks Layered Structure - Illustration Modulation Long Range Applications Network Architecture Classes LoRaWAN Major Characteristics
3.4.3 Industry
Link Labs
Microchip Technology
3.5 SigFox
3.5.1 Company
3.5.2 Technology - Details Uplink Downlink SmartLNB
3.5.3 Coverage
3.5.4 Use Cases
3.5.5 Industry
Adeunis RF
Atmel (acquired by Microchip in 2016)
On Semiconductor
3.6 Thread
3.6.1 General: From Smart Home to Commercial Buildings
3.6.2 Challenges
3.6.3 Protocol
3.6.4 Major Features
3.6.5 Specification Summary
3.6.6 Components
3.6.7 Industry
NXP (Qualcomm)
Silicon Labs
3.6.8 Comparison
4.0 IoT Communications: Adaption Existing Technologies
4.1 Wi-Fi
4.1.1 IoT Communications and Wi-Fi
4.1.2 802.11ah (Wi-Fi HaLow) Requirements Goal and Schedule Attributes Use Cases PHY Bandwidth Channelization Transmission Modes and MIMO Relay Mode MAC Layer Summary Industry
Morse Micro
4.2 3GPP and IoT Communications
4.2.1 3GPP Position
4.2.2 IoT Communications Requirements and LTE
4.2.3 3GPP LTE Rel. 12 Developments and IoT Communications
4.2.4 3GPP LTE Rel. 13/14 Developments and IoT Communications
4.2.5 Further Enhancements
4.2.6 Summary of LTE/IoT Features
4.2.7 NB-IoT Standardized Scope Scalable LTE IoT Platform
4.2.8 Extended Coverage – GSM – Internet of Things (EC-GSM-IoT)
4.2.9 Industry
Altair (Sony Group Company)
Kore Telematics
Mistbase (acquired by ARM in 2017)
4.2.9 Summary - Comparison
4.3 Bluetooth Mesh
4.3.1 General
4.3.2 Specifications Mesh Profile Specification Mesh Model Specification Mesh Device Property Specification
4.3.3 Potentials Concept
4.3.4 Major Features
4.3.5 Benefits
4.3.6 Industry
5.0 Global Standardization Organizations
5.1 ETSI
5.1.1 Efforts
5.1.2 Low Throughput Network Weightless and ETSI
5.2 ITU
5.2.1 SG 20
5.3 oneM2M
5.5 IEEE P2413
6.0 IoT Communications – Market Development
6.1 Statistics
6.2 Estimate
6.2.1 IoT/M2M Traffic Volume
6.2.2 IoT/M2M Communications Market
6.2.3 IoT Connections
6.2.4 IoT Telecom Services
6.2.5 Cellular IoT Subscribers
6.2.6 IoT/M2M Technologies and Applications Market
6.2.7 Smart Home – Volume of IoT/M2M Devices
6.2.8 Global LPWAN Market
7.0 Conclusions
Attachment I: 802.11ah – related Patents Survey (2016-2018)
Attachment II: LPWAN – related Patents Survey (2016-2018)
Attachment III: LoRa – related Patents Survey (2016-2018)
Attachment IV: Comparison

List of Figures:
Figure 1: IoT Environment
Figure 2: Iceni Characteristics
Figure 3: Nwave Characteristics Comparison
Figure 4: Weightless Technologies Comparison
Figure 5: RPMA Use Cases
Figure 6: LoRa Protocol Architecture
Figure 7: LoRa Architecture
Figure 8: LoRa Classes
Figure 9: Battery Lifetime
Figure 10: Regional Differences
Figure 11: Uplink Frame Format
Figure 12: Downlink Frame Format
Figure 13: Thread Protocol Stack and Related Standards
Figure 14: Thread Protocol Major Features
Figure 15: 802.11ah Use Cases
Figure 16: Frequency Spectrum (sub-1 GHz)
Figure 17: 802.11ah – Channelization Plan in U.S.
Figure 18: Transmission Characteristics – 802.11ah
Figure 19: 802.11ah Features Summary
Figure 20: CAT-0 and CAT-1 Characteristics
Figure 21: Time Schedule – 3GPP
Figure 22: Modem Complexity
Figure 23: IoT Communications Technologies Characteristics Comparison
Figure 24: Evolution of LTE IoT Communications
Figure 25: Cellular-based IoT Technologies
Figure 26: IoT Communications Technologies Comparison
Figure 27: BT Mesh Architecture
Figure 28: ETSI Activity – IoT/M2M Communications
Figure 29: Use Cases
Figure 30: M2M Applications
Figure 31: Estimate - IoT/M2M Traffic Volume (PB/Month)
Figure 32: Estimate: Global Market - IoT/M2M Communications ($B)
Figure 33: Estimate: Number of IoT Connections (Bil.)
Figure 34: Estimate: IoT Telecom Services – Global ($B)
Figure 35: Estimate: Number of Cellular IoT Subscribers (Bil.)
Figure 36: Estimate: IoT/M2M Technologies and Applications Market – Global ($T)
Figure 37: Estimate: Number of Smart Devices in Smart Homes-Global (Bil.)
Figure 38: Estimate – Global LPWAN Market ($B)

Companies Mentioned

  • Actility   
  • Adeunis RF   
  • Advantech   
  • Aegis-IP  
  • Aeris   
  • Altair (Sony Group Company)   
  • Amiho   
  • Atmel (acquired by Microchip in 2016)   
  • Aviacomm/Newracom   
  • CEL   
  • Cisco   
  • Digi   
  • Embit   
  • Ericsson   
  • Gemalto   
  • Innocomm   
  • Kerlink   
  • Kore Telematics   
  • LORIOT.io   
  • Link Labs      
  • Microchip Technology   
  • Mistbase (acquired by ARM in 2017)   
  • Morse Micro   
  • MultiTech   
  • Murata   
  • NXP (Qualcomm)   
  • On Semiconductor   
  • Orca       
  • Qualcomm   
  • STMicroelectronics   
  • Sagemcom   
  • Semtech   
  • Sequans   
  • SigFox 
  • Silicon Labs   
  • TI   
  • Tektelic   
  • Telit   
  • U-blox   
  • WNC   


Considerable research was done using the Internet. Information from various Web sites was studied and analyzed; evaluation of publicly available marketing and technical publications was conducted.

Telephone conversations and interviews were held with industry analysts, technical experts and executives. In addition to these interviews and primary research, secondary sources were used to develop a more complete mosaic of the market landscape, including industry and trade publications, conferences and seminars.

The overriding objective throughout the work has been to provide valid and relevant information. This has led to a continual review and update of the information content.