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Ericsson Software Upgrade Allows For 10 Year IoT Battery Life On LTE

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Ericsson, AT&T and Altair will show how a sensor can last for ten years on a commercial chipset and existing LTE network

Ericsson claims to have developed a software upgrade that allows for a battery life of ten years for devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The network equipment manufacturer says a new power saving mode works on existing 3G and LTE networks using commercially available chipsets. The feature sends IoT devices into a deep sleep mode for hours or days at a time, with the sensor only awoken when it is needed.

The feature has been tested with AT&T and chip maker Altair, and the partners claim it paves the way for cost-effective IoT adoption as it simply isn’t viable to continually replace batteries in devices, especially when it is anticipated there will be billions of connections to the IoT.

IoT power demand

women business tech it power electricity © Sergey Nivens Shutterstock“Whether a trucking company hauls expensive cargo across the country or a restaurant transports fresh food overseas, a long battery life on their connected devices can help them provide continuous service,” said Cameron Coursey, vice president of IoT product development at AT&T. “Businesses can save money and become more efficient with battery replacements every few years rather than very few months.”

Power consumption is a key area of focus in IoT development, with many devices expected to be located in remote areas without an access to a power supply.

It is expected future networks will combine several types of connectivity so sensors that only submit a small amount of data don’t have their battery drained by power hungry LTE. The various efforts to develop 5G networks are also looking to see how power consumption can be reduced.

Ericsson’s innovation could be particularly useful for IoT units that only require intermittent connectivity.

“Ericsson is effectively addressing the challenge of battery life with a software-only upgrade to existing LTE networks,” added Thomas Norén, vice president and head of radio product management at Ericsson. “Ongoing standardization of low-power, low-cost LT E modules and devices specifically targeted at IoT applications will fuel stronger growth in the LTE segment.”

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