EIT Digital, Aalto and Ericsson announce successful implementation of Narrowband Internet-of-Things prototype

Aalto University, in collaboration with Ericsson Research and EIT Digital, has successfully implemented a prototype for Narrowband Internet of Things (Narrowband-IoT) system, that can be deployed in GSM and LTE spectrum and is tailored for increased coverage, long battery life, low module cost, and large number of devices.

The prototype is a narrowband version of LTE system targeting machine-type communications applications with low data rate that requires low module cost, long battery life time and increased coverage.

Researchers from Aalto University and Ericsson have been developing the Narrowband-IoT system in the context of the EIT Digital ACTIVE High Impact Initiative that is being carried out in Stockholm, Helsinki and Milan and is focused on creating advanced connectivity platform to support application developers from different IoT segments.

Researches have been developing software defined radio implementation of the physical layer of the GSM carrier version of Narrowband-IoT. This is among the first Narrowband-IoT standalone mode implementations and has been done at the same phase as the standardization by 3GPP.

The Narrowband-IoT system was tested in Aalto campus area in Finland to transmit temperature, humidity and air pressure sensor information from a sensor node to the base station. Narrowband-IoT can be deployed on re-farmed GSM carriers, guard bands of LTE spectrum or using part of operator’s LTE spectrum. Aalto has tested the prototype on 630 MHz band, but the system can be easily configured to 900 MHz GSM.

“This opens up for a wealth of applications where IoT systems can utilise standardised Narrowband-IoT communication in extant spectrum readily available and we expect a number of cellular operators taking up this opportunity commercially already next year,” says Henrik Abramowicz, EIT Digital Action line leader for Digital Infrastructure “That is in line with objective of the EIT Digital initiative ACTIVE that develops advanced connectivity platform, which be applied and verified in the health sector and in the transport sector (aircraft and railways) to deliver mobile broadband services as well as support the management of transportation vehicles”.

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