ON World: LPWA Networks Poised to Transform Enterprise IoT

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ON World’s recently published study found that LPWAN technologies such as SigFox and LoRa are suited to a wide range of in-building and campus wireless IoT applications

Our network tests found that LPWAN technologies such as SigFox and LoRa have excellent performance characteristics for many in-building and campus wireless sensing and tracking applications

LPWAN technology is winning new enterprise IoT converts with its deep building penetration, immunity against multipath fading, 10+ year battery lifetimes and significantly lower costs, according to global IoT market research firm ON World.

“LPWAN development is at the beginning of a long investment cycle with rapidly growing ecosystems and developers that are creating multi-mile battery powered sensing devices at a fraction of the cost of the current offerings,” says Jeff Kreegar, ON World’s chief technologist. “Our network tests found that LPWAN technologies such as SigFox and LoRa have excellent performance characteristics for many in-building and campus wireless sensing and tracking applications.”

Wireless sensor network (WSN) technologies such as ZigBee/Thread, Bluetooth and WiFi are becoming widespread for enterprise IoT solutions including building-wide lighting controls, energy management, safety/security and guest controls. However, these “traditional” WSN technologies have limited in-building penetration, multipath and interference problems with most transmitting at less than 100 meter ranges. Mesh networking extends their range but the added expense, complexity and poor battery lifetime are growing “pain points” for enterprise customers.

Enter LPWAN technologies such as SigFox, LoRa and the 3GPP’s upcoming NB-IoT to solve many of these enterprise problems and create new IoT possibilities. Today, LPWAN developers are creating IoT solutions using <$1,000 gateways and $10 LPWAN radios that are capable of covering ten-mile ranges, have 10-year battery lifetimes and can scale to thousands of nodes. Rather than requiring complex network management, LPWAN technologies off-load end node complexity to the cloud which simplifies deployment, maintenance, application development and integration.

ON World’s recently published study includes several network tests on enterprise IoT applications using LPWAN gateways and end nodes with some interesting results on their network range, power consumption and network performance. In one test, all tested LPWAN technologies had close to 99.9% system throughput in networks with up to 50,000 nodes. In other test, all could achieve over 8 year battery lifetimes with multi-mile transmissions and sampling rates of 1/hour.

The IoT potential from LPWAN technologies has drawn hundreds of startups, innovators and control system market leaders such as Honeywell and Schneider Electric as well as IT/networking giants such as Cisco and IBM. LPWAN technologies have also motivated dozens of network operators including AT&T, Comcast, Orange, Verizon to accelerate their IoT strategies with their potential to be used in either licensed and unlicensed networks with significantly lower upfront capital and operating costs. Remaining challenges for LPWAN technologies include nascent standards, security and the lack of network coverage.

ON World welcomes feedback on its Enterprise LPWAN Ecosystem study and contributors will receive a free copy. For more information, go to: http://www.onworld.com/elpwaneco

About ON World:
ON World (http://www.onworld.com) provides global business intelligence on Internet of Things markets.

Mary Purvis
p: 858-259-2397
e: purvis(at)onworld(dot)com

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Mareca Hatler
ON World
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