Can You Hear Me? How Antenna Choice and Spectrum Allocation Determine Cellular IoT Success

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By Jamie Moss | 3Q 2019 | IN-5536


A Logical Assertion


Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) radio technologies exist to solve cost, power consumption, and coverage problems. These features are integral, with the second two being definitional, to LPWA. Here we consider its third feature: coverage. Improved coverage allows for better in-building and underground penetration over the widest possible area, for a more reliable, business-critical service. Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT)’s three enhanced coverage modes allow an extra 20 decibels (dB) of link budget, while LTE-M’s two modes provide up to 15 dB of extra link budget. These modes are transmission repetition techniques that when activated work at the expense of throughput, latency, and power consumption: throughput and latency are reduced while power consumption is increased.

A logical assertion is that carriers with sub-gigahertz spectrum are the most naturally placed to offer cellular LPWA services; carriers with the lowest frequencies will be able to do so most effectively at the network level, and carriers with a single, larger frequency block that do not need to …

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