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Orange IoT Connectivity
as a powerful driving force

With the launch of LTE-M and NB-IoT, Orange Belgium is the first to launch in Belgium Mobile Internet of Things, reaching nationwide coverage.

The NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies are Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) cellular network layers that will allow millions of everyday objects to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). LPWA technologies deployed by Orange Belgium offer many advantages when connecting objects to the Internet of Things:

  • The best possible mobile coverage (up to +20dB compared to 2G/4G coverage), considerably improving signal penetration inside buildings.
  • It is not legally restricted to so-called “duty cycles” which implies no limitations on data throughput.
  • Full bidirectional communication between the object and the network allowing e.g. firmware software updates over the air.
  • A guaranteed connectivity abroad (roaming) on other operators’ Mobile IoT networks.
  • Extended battery life of the connected equipment by up to 10 years thanks to low energy consumption drastically reduced cost of the radio modules inside the devices that need to be connected.
iot-illustration

Next to the technological advantages choosing Orange IoT means you will have access to an open standard, an established ecosystem of manufacturers and the leverage of existing cellular networks:

  • NB-IoT/LTE-M can be deployed fast, flexible and in co-existence with an existing infrastructure footprint.
  • NB-IoT/LTE-M are open 3GPP standard, and they’re here to stay. The backing of major equipment manufacturers signifies a firm long term commitment, enables a broad market support and will trigger a drop in the cost of communication components when reaching mass production.
  • Since Cellular IoT can be considered as an “add-on” on LTE, Application and Hardware developers will benefit from a low barrier for entry into this connectivity technology.

And last but not least, Celular IoT (NB-IoT/LTE-M) is the safest solution for IoT connectivity as it operates in licensed spectrum. Moreover, the SIM card offers secure connections thanks to LTE networks’ unique capabilities in terms of authenticating and encrypting the data in transit.

NB-IoT versus LTE-M

For IoT applications energy is key. Two mechanisms have been put in place in NB-IoT and LTE-M to increase battery life : PSM and eDRX.

  • The Power Saving Mode (PSM) allows devices to enter scheduled deep sleep in order to save battery until it is woken up, while keeping the network informed about its status. PSM is suitable for use cases in which the device is not required to be contactable between two transmissions.
  • The Extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX) extends the modem’s reception inactivity window in order to save energy. eDRX can be configured both in connected mode and in idle mode, and allows IoT devices to save battery between sending and receiving information, while listening for transmissions at set intervals. eDRX is suited to activity trackers and bracelets as well as sensors that send data frequently.

LTE-M is closer to LTE than NB-IoT in terms of characteristics

  LTE-M NB-IoT
Authentication using SIM and , later widespread use of eSIM (embedded SIM) (eUICC) x x
Bi-directionality x x
LTE QoS x  
Low latency in normal coverage mode, ranging from a few hundred milliseconds in normal mode to a few dozen seconds in extension mode x  
Support for mobility between cells in idle and connected mode and, as for LTE, support for high-speed mobility (300 km/h) x  
Connection via IP mode x x
Support for VoLTE – Voice over IP x  
Support for SMS mode x  
  • LTE-M supports Extended Coverage modes A and B. Using repetition mechanisms, LTE-M’s range is better than the range of the LTE network on which it is activated and provides better indoor coverage. Mode A provides a gain of 8 to 9 dB (compared to LTE), while mode B, which is still being tested, will theoretically provide a gain of 15 to 18 dB, which is approximately equivalent to the loss caused by penetrating the wall of a building.
  • LTE-M is ideal for use cases linked to real-time data, guaranteed service, bi-directionality and speed: smart industry, smart fitness, on-board telemetry, etc. In the future, it will also be possible to develop scenarios that combine IoT and voice data, such as emergency buttons for lone workers or lifts, etc.

 

  • NB-IoT is a more radical approach designed to support other IoT use cases
  • NB-IoT is supported by dedicated narrow-band (180 kHz) radio bearers, introduced under a number of scenarios (Inband, Guardband, Standalone) into LTE bearers or other bands on the licensed spectrum. A new category of NB1 mode has also been introduced independently of LTE.
  • NB-IoT supports several IP and non-IP connectivity modes, with the possibility of sending data via control channels (DoNAS) to reduce signaling required during sending. This opens the door for even cheaper IoT devices as the device does not need to tackle the IP overhead.
  • In terms of performance, the main appeal of NB-IoT lies in the extended coverage it provides over LTE for delay-tolerant traffic, over 20dB of gain which corresponds with 2 walls.
  • Finally, NB-IoT is generally reserved for wide-area and low-speed uses (60-160 kbps max.) that do not need to be able to support mobility and do not require quick reaction times. The mobility is reduced becaused NB-IoT only links to one antenna. Latencies can go into several seconds.
  • In the following releases of NB-IoT mobility, battery consumption and geolocation performance will be improved.

Roaming

Operators are deploying world-wide NB-IoT and LTE-M on their networks. A view on the current status of this deployment is kept up to date by the GSMA , global system mobile association, and can be found here. As soon as a NB-IoT or LTE-M network has been opened by an operator, Orange Belgium initiates contacts to see if roaming agreements can be set-up between the different operators.

Current Roaming status:

Country Operator  LTE-M Roaming NB-IoT Roaming
France Orange Yes Not Applicable
The Netherlands KPN Yes Not Applicable
The Netherlands T-Mobile ? Planned 
USA AT&T Yes  Not Applicable
Luxemburg Orange Yes Ongoing 
Germany O2 Planned Planned
Germany Telefonica Planned  ?
Spain Orange Planned  Not Applicable
Denmark Telia Planned ?
Romania Orange Planned Not Applicable

Orange IoT as a catalyst

In order to maintain its 15+years leadership in IoT, Orange Belgium leverages on the benefits of recognised expertise and the best suited tools to materialise your project: as from prototyping over implementation to launch, even internationally. In addition, a team of experts is at your service 24/7. All to ensure that your critical applications stay online and operational in all circumstances.

catalyst-illustration

Orange IoT acts as the catalyst for companies and business innovators to establish connections that would not have been viable with existing technologies. Orange can serve any Internet of Things application in a single network. This will result in consumers seeing a huge variety of new products, services and applications enabled by IoT.

Orange IoT offers you customised solutions and total control over your SIM card fleet.