LTE Cat M1 The Future of Cellular Networks for IoT

The Cellular LTE Category (cat) M1 Netorking Protocol The Future of Cellular Networks for IoT

This blog post explores the emerging role of LTE Cat M1 technology in the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape.

A technology trend that is important in the local area network (LAN) or metro area network (MAN) is cellular data networks or Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN). The cellular data technology Long Term Evolution (LTE) can deliver speeds up to 300 megabytes per second downstream and 75 megabytes a second upstream, as described by Comer (2014). Part of the LTE standards releases 13 by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) group is category M1.

Category M1(Cat M1) is an LTE IoT-optimized version of LTE, formerly known as Category M, as described by Smedley (n.d). The maximum speed of the Cat M1 network is 1 megabyte per second downstream and 1 megabyte upstream. This Cat M1 will replace the older 2G and 3G cellular networks.

My rationale for picking the LTE network as a significant technology trend is that there will be more than one type of network running on LTE going forward. A broadband network and a slower network running on LTE are similar to dividing traffic with a VLAN in a traditional LAN network. Mobile devices such as smartphones will use the LTE network for high-speed broadband. The LTE Cat M1 network will be utilized for IoT devices and machine-to-machine communications.

A recently launched LTE Category M1 network spanning 2.4 million square miles was launched on March 31st, 2017, as Verizon (2017) described. The author explains that the Cat M1 network provides scale, coverage, and security for clients looking for wireless access solutions for IoT. The Cat M1 network is built on a virtualized cloud environment. The Cat M1 is part of a new LTE chipset that is intended for sensors. The new chipset requires less power, has prolonged battery life, and supports a range of use cases. For example, the new chipset can be used for water meters, asset trackers, and consumer electronics.

Verizon (2017) goes on to describe use cases for Cat M1 chipsets, which include new data plans, lower rates, and multiyear plans to match the longer use of the IoT device. They go on to describe plan prices as low as two dollars a month per device. The combination of lower rate plans and inexpensive chipsets for the Cat M1 network allows developers and businesses to scale on the LTE Cat M1 network.

The expansion of the LTE standard to include slower machine-to-machine networking and IoT, along with higher bandwidth data such as streaming movies, gives this network enormous growth potential in years to come.

References

Comer, D. E. (01/2014). Computer Networks and Internets, 6th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version].

Retrieved from https://www.vitalsource.com/products/computer-networks-and-internets-douglas-e-comer-v9780133589139

Smedley, P. (n.d). Cat-M1 and The Future of Cellular for IoT [Blog Post].

Verizon. (2017). Verizon launches industry's first LTE Category M1 (Cat M1) nationwide network for IoT [Press release]. Retrieved from (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/verizon-launches-industrys-first-lte-category-m1-cat-m1-nationwide-network-for-iot-300431812.html)

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