Open Standard Weightless-N IoT Network Goes Live In London

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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Weightless-N network goes live across the capital with support from the government’s Digital Catapult centre

An Internet of Things (IoT) network using the open ‘Weightless-N’ standard has gone live across London, with the government-backed Digital Catapult Centre in London lending its support to the project.

Weightless-N was published only last month and is pitched as a cheaper, more innovative alternative to proprietary standards, allowing for cheaper hardware as any manufacturer can create base stations or endpoints.

The Weightless Special Interest Group (SIG) claims a terminal device can be made for as little as $2 and a base station for less than $3,000 – less than other platforms that lock users into one ecosystem.


Weightless N LondonThe standard uses sub-1GHz ‘ultra-narrowband (UNB)’ spectrum powered by differential binary phase shift keying (DBSPK) technology, a frequency hopping algorithm and 128-bit encryption to reduce interference and boost security.

This, the SIG claims, results in excellent signal reach of several kilometres, even in “challenging” urban areas like London, and allows for multiple networks in a single location.

The London network covers large swathes of central London, including famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and the Emirates Stadium. The Wireless SIG says it will conduct independent tests soon to see the full reach of the network.

Digital Catapult

The Digital Catapult Centre, opened late last year, is keen to promote the UK as a leader in IoT, offering resources and assistance to startups developing M2M applications. It has provided the infrastructure on which the base stations in the capital have been deployed.

“We are delighted to be able to provide a platform to showcase Weightless-N technology, a key enabler for Smart City projects not just across the capital but around the world,” said Peter Karney, head of engineering, Digital Catapult. “We are looking forward to opening this up to our network to enable them to continue to showcase the UK’s innovation in this area; we will be leading an open call in the near future allowing these innovators to register their interest in the project.”

Weightless-N is one of two standards made available by the non-profit Weightless SIG, the other being Weightless-W, which uses white spaces – unused portions of TV broadcast spectrum. Version 1.0 of Weightless-N only allows for uplink at present, but bidirectional capability is expected to be added in future iterations.

The Weightless SIG says Wireless-N networks are running on three continents and expects more will be launched in the UK in the coming months.

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