Wireless IoT Forum calls on regulators to 'enable market' for Internet of Things

The Wireless IoT Forum, whose founding board members include Cisco, BT and Accenture, is calling on the FCC and European telecom regulator Ofcom to make sure issues like interference and spectrum fragmentation don't slow down the growth of low-power wide area (LPWA) networks for the Internet of Things.

The forum says that currently available bands do not meet the needs of large-scale IoT deployment. Its list of challenges includes power restrictions, duty cycle constraints as low as 1 percent, fragmented bands around the world and high interference levels because any type of applications and technologies can use the bands.

"Furthermore, problems can arise because all traffic on an IoT network has to go through a small number of base stations or network relay points and these are subject to the same regulatory constraints as any other device operating in unlicensed spectrum," the forum said in a release.

Specifically, the forum would like to see regulators dedicate bands in the 800 MHz-1000 MHz range to IoT applications, thus overcoming interference issues. The band 800-1000 MHz has almost identical propagation characteristics from bottom to top, so from a design viewpoint, there's no preference as to where in the bands frequencies are found, according to William Webb, CEO of the London-based Wireless IoT Forum.

The band 870-876 MHz appears promising in Europe, and in the U.S., bands around 800 MHz are mostly used for cellular but there may be some scope for IoT allocations, Webb told FierceWirelessTech. That would be something the FCC would need to investigate further, he added.

While a lot of competing platforms are emerging for the IoT -- LTE-M, NB-LTE, LoRa and Sigfox to name a few -- Webb said the aim of the forum is to allow its members to reach consensus on a small number of technologies for IoT and to remove the fragmentation that is currently inhibiting mass-market deployment. "We are still in the process of evaluating the various standards against the requirements of the members, so it is too early to say which particular standards the forum will recommend," he said.

While many technologies will be part of the evaluation process, he said the forum will only consider open standards.

For more:
see the release

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