Samsung Electronics today announced a new contract with SK Telecom to deploy the world’s first commercial Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated nationwide LoRaWAN network.
The network will be deployed across Korea using the 900 MHz frequency band. The commercial service is scheduled to launch in Daegu, Korea’s fourth largest city, next month and will be available nationwide by the middle of this year.
Low Power Wide Area Network and the Internet of Things
There can be no Internet of Things (IoT) without the network to support it. Sensors and gadgets will gather increasingly vast amounts of data. But the Internet of Things is about more than just gadgets and displays; the amount of data gathered will seriously impact the network, and the networking industry needs to evaluate possible implications.
Three areas of the IoT that will impact the network are data analytics, the need for network agility, and security.
The sheer volume of data created by the IoT will have unfathomable impact on the networking systems used today. Deep analytics will require distributed datacenters and real-time response to events. Fast, agile networks are crucial to enable the real-time analysis of sensor data. Given these requirements, it is very unlikely that today’s networks will stand up to the demands of 2020.
The internet of things requires huge scalability in the network space to handle the surge of devices. IETF 6LoWPAN would be used to connect devices to IP networks. With billions of devices being added to the internet space, IPv6 will play a major role in handling the network layer scalability. IETF’s Constrained Application Protocol, MQTT and ZeroMQ would provide lightweight data transport.
LoRaWAN is designed to provide Low Power Wide Area Network with features specifically needed to support low-cost, mobile, secure bi-directional communication for Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), and smart city, and industrial applications. It is optimized for low power consumption and to support large networks with millions and millions of devices. It has innovative features, support redundant operation, location, low-cost, low-power and can even run on energy harvesting technologies enabling the mobility and ease of use to Internet of Things.
LoRaWAN network architecture is typically laid out in a star-of-stars topology in which gateways is a transparent bridge relaying messages between end-devices and a central network server in the backend. Gateways are connected to the network server via standard IP connections while end-devices use single-hop wireless communication to one or many gateways. All end-point communication is generally bi-directional, but also supports operation such as multicast enabling software upgrade over the air or other mass distribution messages to reduce the on air communication time.
Communication between end-devices and gateways is spread out on different frequency channels and data rates. The selection of the data rate is a trade-off between communication range and message duration. Due to the spread spectrum technology, communications with different data rates do not interfere with each other and create a set of “virtual” channels increasing the capacity of the gateway. LoRaWAN data rates range from 0.3 kbps to 50 kbps. To maximize both battery life of the end-devices and overall network capacity, the LoRaWAN network server is managing the data rate and RF output for each end-device individually by means of an adaptive data rate (ADR) scheme.
National wide networks targeting internet of things such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data or critical functions for the society has a special need for secure communication. This has been solved by several layer of encryption:
- Unique Network key (EUI64) and ensure security on network level
- Unique Application key (EUI64) ensure end to end security on application level
- Device specific key (EUI128)
LoRaWAN has several different classes of end-point devices to address the different needs reflected in the wide range of applications:
Bi-directional end-devices (Class A): End-devices of Class A allow for bi-directional communications whereby each end-device’s uplink transmission is followed by two short downlink receive windows. The transmission slot scheduled by the end-device is based on its own communication needs with a small variation based on a random time basis (ALOHA-type of protocol). This Class A operation is the lowest power end-device system for applications that only require downlink communication from the server shortly after the end-device has sent an uplink transmission. Downlink communications from the server at any other time will have to wait until the next scheduled uplink.
Bi-directional end-devices with scheduled receive slots (Class B): In addition to the Class A random receive windows, Class B devices open extra receive windows at scheduled times. In order for the End-device to open its receive window at the scheduled time it receives a time synchronized Beacon from the gateway. This allows the server to know when the end-device is listening.
Bi-directional end-devices with maximal receive slots (Class C): End-devices of Class C have nearly continuously open receive windows, only closed when transmitting. Class C
Korea wide network
Daegu will serve as a test bed for the IoT network, and focus on setting up and adopting infrastructure for renewable energy solutions, cloud platforms and big data analytics of healthcare and medical services, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure for autonomous cars. For example, streetlights in the city will collect weather and traffic information using IoT sensors, enabling cost savings by automatically adjusting the lighting level and also sending air pollution status information.
“With the early deployment of a nationwide IoT network, SK Telecom will be able to maintain its position as pioneer in the field of telecommunications,” said Lee Jong-bong, Executive Vice President and Head of Infra Division at SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to work closely with partners including Samsung to deliver new value and convenience to both individual and enterprise customers over the IoT network.”
“Now is a critical moment for ICT companies looking for new future business opportunities such as IoT services,” said Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are very pleased to partner with SK Telecom for its pioneering IoT vision. Samsung will contribute in creating the ecosystem for enabling significant changes driven by new IoT services.”
LoRaWAN IoT networks use an unlicensed, public spectrum called the Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency band. To prevent degradation of other industrial communications already using the ISM band, the network will support the Listen Before Talk (LBT) function. A new service model, the Internet of Small Things (IoST), will also be introduced as a key facilitator for more business opportunities utilizing the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) like LoRaWAN. LPWAN is a group of technologies optimized to transmit small amounts of data at very low speeds of below 5Kbps.
Samsung’s IoT strategy combines network technology and solutions with leadership across all business units, including consumer electronics and chipsets. This synergy makes Samsung unique, delivering successful IoT assets at an industry-leading pace.
SOURCE – Samsung, Network Computing, Wikipedia, Lora Alliance (Wide area networks for IoT), Youtube
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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