Cellular wraps its arms around the Internet of Things

Given all the attention on the Internet of Things (IoT), we decided to take a closer look at what wireless operators are looking to deploy when it comes to low power wide area networking (LPWAN) technologies.

While a lot of companies have been developing LPWAN technologies and building ecosystems, the cellular carriers decided it was high time they developed a LPWA technology of their own. That's what they've been doing through the 3GPP, where there are several categories being queued up to address the IoT.

Suffice it to say, 3GPP likes its categories, and Cat 1, Cat M1, Cat M2 – whatever you call it, they're all designed to serve different applications. This is not to say that operators won't look at proprietary or non-LTE technologies. But as AT&T's SVP of Wireless Network and Design Tom Keathley has said, proprietary generally means limited scale, and most operators need to deploy at scale primarily to keep costs low. In general, most operators, certainly AT&T, lean toward standardized approaches.

Standards take time, however, which is why some of the non-LTE technologies are enjoying a time-to-market advantage. And some standards seem to have come and gone before they ever really, truly arrived. A lot of people are writing off Cat 0, saying it didn't really offer any great benefits over Category 1, and it required some significant upgrades on the network side of things. For the most part, it's looking like Cat 0 is adding up to zilch.

Whether it's Cat-M1, Cat-M2 or some other iteration, cellular operators are intent on using a standards-based approach to tackle the IoT. For more on what they're doing, check out our latest feature here, and let us know what you think.--Monica

P.S. FierceWirelessTech will not publish on Monday, May 30, due to the Memorial Day holiday. We'll be back in your inbox on Tuesday. 

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