Vodafone works with network equipment vendors on Nb-IoT testing to help cellular become the standard for IoT
Vodafone is working on joint-testing with network equipment vendors, arguing that if the Narrowband IoT (Nb-IoT) standard is to be widely adopted, then infrastructure needs to be interoperable.
NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology, which makes it more efficient to connect devices that require long battery life or are in hard to reach areas using existing cellular networks.
The Newbury-based operator has been a vocal supporter of Nb-IoT, and had expressed frustration over a lack of progress in finalising the standard, claiming that without it, cellular technology will be too power hungry and expensive to power the Internet of Things (IoT), paving the way for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and proprietary technologies like Sigfox to take control.
It launched the first commercial Nb-IoT network in February, remotely upgrading base stations across six cities in Spain. To further spread the technology, Vodafone is working with network partners Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and Affirmed Networks on Interoperability Development Testing (IODT).
“As a company committed to a multi-vendor strategy, we understand the importance of a healthy device and network ecosystem in delivering the best service to customers at a competitive price,” said Luke Ibbetson, head of Vodafone’s research and development and technology strategy.
“We have tested devices from Neul and Qualcomm against Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia systems in multiple regions. All of these vendors’ NB-IoT Radio Access Network (RAN) technology has been successfully interconnected with Vodafone’s IoT core network.”
Vodafone has also reached a deal with satellite broadband operator Inmarsat to use its L-band satellite network in areas where cellular can’t reach, offering 100 percent global coverage.
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