Nokia, Ericsson and Intel collaborating on Next-Generation Wireless Connectivity for Internet of Things

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Nokia, Ericsson and Intel have announced that they will be working together to commercialize NB-LTE (Narrow-Band LTE), a variant of the latest cellular technology that uses a small amount of radio spectrum to efficiently carry small amounts of data.

NB-LTE is an optimized variant of the widely deployed 4G LTE technology, and is well-suited for the IoT market segment because of its low implementation cost, ease of use and power efficiency. Intel plans to work closely with Ericsson and Nokia to develop and bring to market the products needed for the commercialization of NB-LTE timed with market demand.

Many IoT devices still use 2G cellular networks, which carriers are gradually winding down. NB-LTE is one way to bring those clients, and many more now emerging, onto the current generation of cells.

NB-LTE will let current service providers use existing networks to connect IoT devices, the companies said.

But there are other approaches to IoT both within and outside the LTE world. Huawei Technologies is promoting a system called Cellular IoT, the LoRa Alliance industry group backs an non-LTE technology that’s been adopted by some carriers, and startup SigFox has deployed an LPWA system across France and is now going after the U.S. market.

“We are excited to collaborate with two leading network vendors Ericsson and Nokia on the next wave of wireless innovation to connect the growing IoT market segment, and to further grow the momentum for Intel’s LTE portfolio and roadmap with NB-LTE,” said Stefan Wolff, vice president, Platform Engineering Group and general manager of the Multi-Comms, Intel.

Intel intends to support commercial roll-out of the technology with a roadmap for NB-LTE chipsets and product upgrades beginning 2016 that will enable slim form factors. The products will add to Intel’s growing LTE portfolio. Nokia and Ericsson will provide the required network upgrades to support an extension of existing LTE networks with NB-LTE optimized for low power Machine-to-Machine communication.

“Cellular networks already cover 90 percent of the world’s population so it makes sense to leverage this global footprint to support and drive IoT adoption through the standardization of Narrow-Band LTE. Working with Intel and Nokia, Ericsson is driving the ecosystem to accelerate IoT growth and ensuring a global foundation for a vast range of new IoT applications for consumers, industry and government,” said Thomas Noren, vice president and head of Product Management, Radio, Ericsson.

Stephan Litjens, vice president, Portfolio Strategy & Analytics, Nokia Networks said:

“This development will bring consumers benefits, such as enhanced and improved connectivity of devices and at lower cost. This is another extension of Nokia’s aim to improve people’s lives through a programmable world where billions of people, things, sensors and devices are connected,”

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