|AT&T's Los Angeles office. / Photo by: KennethHan via Wikimedia Commons|
A narrowband Internet of Things network will soon be implemented by AT&T in the United States next year and in Mexico by the end of 2019. The launch will assist the company’s LTE-M service in both countries.
The Long-Term Evolution 4G, category M1 is a network that is preferred to run devices under an IoT ecosystem. Network carriers use it to connect the device directly to a 4G network, without the need for a gateway. The use of such technology has been selected for its cost-efficient service charge and better battery performance among connected devices.
The NB-IoT is a low power wide area network technology developed by 3GPP to allow telecoms to use a wider range of cellular devices and services. It focuses on indoor coverage, low-cost, high connection density, and longer battery life. As a subset of the LTE, the radio technology is limited to a narrow-band of 200 KHz.
"Adding NB-IoT to our portfolio will expand our LPWA capabilities, help drive investment in our evolution to 5G, and support our customers as they deploy IoT solutions across the US and Mexico," stated Chris Penrose, president of IoT Solutions at AT&T.
The implementation of NB-IoT technology in both countries will help power several services in different industries, such as in agriculture, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare, which have been supported by AT&T for at least 10 years. The effort will also support upcoming technologies including smart irrigation, optimization of traffic flow, and smart infrastructure.
One city currently under the smart infrastructure support, developed by AT&T and GE, is San Diego, California. Many streetlights in the city have sensors contained in nodes that can monitor numerous information like sound, motion, and air quality, usable for writing specialized applications. As of now, about 3,000 nodes are deployed in the city.