Nokia and M1 conduct 5G, NB-IoT live trial

Singapore's first live NB-IoT trial connected smart temperature and humidity sensors, with a 5G trial involving three robots also demonstrating 1ms latency.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Singaporean telecommunications provider M1 has announced conducting the nation's first live demonstration of narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and 5G network technology in partnership with Nokia.

The NB-IoT trial involved use of a room temperature and humidity sensor remote application, which collects and shares data, and was conducted inside M1's lab, while the 5G trial saw three robots display 1ms latency.

Nokia and M1 are in the midst of deploying an NB-IoT network across Singapore, which is expected to be ready in 2017.

The nation is currently pursuing a its smart nation initiative, which heavily features the use of IoT devices.

In August, M1 and Nokia also announced the commercial launch of a nationwide "heterogeneous network" (HetNet) using Nokia's Flexi Zone Wi-Fi equipment and small cells, which would enable users to switch between various types of wireless networks.

M1 trialled its HetNet for over a year prior to launching it, including in locations at MRT stations and along Orchard road, improving download speeds by around 60 percent, according to the telco. This will lead to 1Gbps download speeds by 2017 in combination with M1's 4G+ network and LTE-WiFi Aggregation (LWA) technology.

M1 said in August that its initial investment in both its NB-IoT and HetNet networks would total more than SG$50 million.

Rival Singaporean telecommunications provider Singtel is also currently collaborating with Ericsson on trialling NB-IoT technology across its network, while Nokia and Korean telco KT successfully demonstrated NB-IoT across a 4G network in August.

Vodafone Australia and Chinese technology giant Huawei also conducted live trials of NB-IoT across Melbourne in April and May, calling the wireless low-power wide-area network tests a success.

The companies were able to attain greater depth and distance -- to the tune of penetrating through three double-brick walls in depth, and up to 30km in distance -- in coverage using NB-IoT in comparison to 2G, 3G, and 4G.

Using narrowband networks for the IoT will allow for more devices to be connected to 4G networks at a lower cost.

Huawei launched its NB-IoT solution in July, enabling telcos to "turn IoT into a basic service", with large-scale commercial deployment due in December.

"The number of cellular IoT connections worldwide will grow seven-fold over the next three to four years," said Jiang Wangcheng, vice president of Marketing and Solutions in Huawei's Products and Solutions division.

Included in Huawei's low-power, wide-area NB-IoT solution is its LiteOS and NB-IoT chipset-enabled Smart Device Solution; base stations named eNodeB that adapt to NB-IoT; the "core in a box" network-function virtualisation (NFV) IoT Packet Core; and a big data-capable cloud-based IoT Connection Management Platform.

The solution was developed according to 3GPP standards, and is accessible for all NB-IoT application and device partners.

A consortium of tech giants and telecommunications carriers have been collaborating for several years on cellular NB-IoT for various reasons, including the cost, scale, and security inherent in connecting millions of IoT devices.

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