NB-IOT Battery Life is Far from Known

You see, it takes more than a declaration to make a technology with 20 year battery life. Many a goal have been written down with grand aspirations, such as, “I will lose 80 pounds by swimsuit season!”, only to be unmet when reality hits. Other goals, or in the wireless world, design specifications, are also sometimes unmet. Such was the case with 2.5G (GPRS), 2.75G (EDGE), or 3.5G (HSPA+). The standards bodies write up specifications that have certain performance requirements and technologies are put together to try and meet those performance specifications. Now eventually the mark was hit for 4G. LTE came along and has been serving voice/data needs very well. But the fact remains, that specifications are very different from actual technologies performing to specification in the real world that are commercially available.

One specification that is particularly important for the Internet of Things (IoT) is battery life. Long battery life is the key driver behind the savings and efficiencies of the IoT. This is something Ingenu™ has taken very seriously. We have delivered 20 year battery life in the real world for years with our powerful and ultra-efficient wireless technology, RPMA®.

Steps to Knowing NB-IOT Battery Life

So what does all this have to do with knowing NB-IOT battery life (NB-IOT is also known as LTE-M2)? Well, it along with LTE-M1 are currently only specifications. LTE-M1 is mostly done and LTE-M2 i.e., NB-IOT will be completed by the end of 2016. But that is only the beginning. Just like GPRS never met 3G standards and HSPA+ never met 4G standards, despite strong marketing claims, the jury is still out on LTE-M1 and NB-IOT. So how will we know whether NB-IOT and LTE-M1 have the battery life necessary to serve IoT device needs? Well, there are a few, sequential steps, no skipping line here!

  1. Finalize (as in 100% complete) the written standard
  2. Build a chip to the completed standard
  3. Build an actual commercial product with the chip integrated
  4. Assess chip performance in device in lab conditions
  5. Deploy in real world conditions and confirm battery life performance

It isn’t until after Step 5, that you can actually claim to have met or not met the specification. Ingenu did that back in 2011. The onus is on the Ericssons, Nokias, and Huaweis of the world to now prove they can actually perform to their specifications. It will take them a while to get there.

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