Organizations utilizing low-power IoT applications should be giving increased consideration to their eventual migration from 2G and/or 3G networks to LTE. While the transition seems daunting – and make no mistake, any major change has bumps in the road – working ahead with your timeline and technology requirements in mind will make the process much easier to manage.
Know your timeline
The expediency of your migration to LTE will be dependent upon when your mobile network operator (MNO) plans to sunset its 2G and 3G networks. If your carrier is sunsetting your network of choice sooner rather than later, you may be tempted to switch to another MNO to extend your timeline – that could make the transition even more difficult, as we recently discussed. Your KORE Account Manager or carrier representative will be able to provide all the information you need regarding network sunset dates or network activation deadlines.
Understand your needs
Once you have established a timeline, map your legacy devices to the appropriate use case and carrier-approved low power LTE alternative: Cat-M and NB IoT. Here are how some of these categories of LTE will be used in various applications:
- Tracking and Logistics – There are already many existing fleet and asset tracking M2M connections that connect to 2G or 3G networks, and MNOs are looking to harvest spectrum they already own. Many logistical devices are not restricted by the same power limitations that devices in other LPWAN use cases have, meaning that battery life is not a key concern. Due to the mobile nature of these applications, Cat-M is the best fit.
- Consumer Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) – The market for consumer LPWAN will be driven primarily by wearables connected to a network by a Cat-M module. A number of LTE-compatible wearables have recently been introduced, and the market for standalone wearables is expected to develop significantly.
- Smart Grid – The main spending drivers on LPWAN in this market will be to cut costs, improve operational efficiency and to introduce highly accurate customer billing. Due to its ability to support static assets with very low bandwidth requirements, NB IoT will pick up the most connections in the smart grid area.
- Smart Agriculture – The 4G network footprint in most countries will not be able to support LPWAN connections in rural locations. This means smart agricultural devices and sensors will likely require private networks to support reliable device connectivity or an unlicensed LPWAN operator with sufficient rural coverage.
- Smart Buildings –The smart building market for LPWAN is dominated by unlicensed LPWAN Low range (LoRa) wide-area networks are particularly well suited for the area, given that inexpensive gateways can be purchased and installed in a building and full coverage can be easily achieved. This presents a great opportunity for hybrid LoRa to Cat-M solutions.
- Smart City – Similarly to Smart Grid use cases, the focus areas of these solutions are to cut costs and more cost effectively manage a city’s infrastructure and assets. Public entities are looking for ways to stretch their limited budget dollars and IoT solutions can go a long way to assist. These solutions tend to lend themselves well to NB-IoT and unlicensed LPWAN, or possibly a hybrid of both.
By taking the two initial steps of creating a timeline and determining the LTE technology that best suits your organization’s needs, the migration to LTE can be less challenging. The time to start preparing for the migration is sooner than later – if not right away.
Want to learn more about your LTE options? KORE can help.