LONDON — European research institute Leti has carried out field trials of a new low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology, a waveform tailored for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. It says that it showed significant performance gains in coverage, data-rate flexibility, and power consumption compared to other LPWA technologies like LoRa and NB-IoT.
While the project is still in the research phase, Vincent Berg, head of Leti’s Smart Object Communication Laboratory, told EE Times that the roadmap includes optimization and further integration, which includes the development of an RF ASIC, and it is also investigating standardization.
Leti’s LPWA approach includes a patented Turbo-FSK waveform, a flexible approach to the physical layer. It also relies on channel bonding, the ability to aggregate non-contiguous communication channels to increase coverage and data rates. The field trials confirmed the benefits of its LPWA approach in comparison to LoRa and NB-IoT, two of the leading LPWA technologies that enable wide-area communications at low cost and long battery life.
The results indicate that the new technology is especially suitable for long-range massive machine-type communication (mMTC) systems. These systems, in which billions of machine-type terminals can communicate wirelessly, are expected to proliferate after 5G networks are deployed, beginning in 2020. Cellular systems designed for humans do not adequately transmit the very short data packets that define mMTC systems.
Designed to demonstrate the performance and flexibility of the new waveform, the field-trial results stem primarily from the system’s flexible approach of the physical layer. The flexibility allows data-rate scaling from 3 Mbit/s down to 4 kbit/s, when transmission conditions are not particularly favorable and/or a long transmission range is required.