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Ericsson, AT&T and Altair claim IoT power saving breakthrough

Ericsson, AT&T and chipset provider Altair have unveiled a new power saving mode that will help IoT devices run for a decade on one set of batteries. It could help system managers save a fortune in maintenance and extend the reach of machine to machine networks dramatically.

The development partners demonstrated the new LTE Power Saving Mode for commercial chipsets at an event in Atlanta. The demo ran in the AT&T booth running on Ericsson networks and Altair’s FourGee-1160 Cat 1 chipset featuring ultra-low power consumption.

Long term battery life is essential for many new IoT applications as few devices are located near power sources. The sheer number of connected IoT devices means the cost of hiring field engineers to replace batteries would make many projects financially unviable. Engineers from Ericsson, AT& and Altair have been pooling knowledge and working together to create a ‘fit and forget’ model of power source for the IoT.

Power Saving Mode is an Ericsson Evolved Packet Core feature based on 3GPP (Release 12) for both GSM and LTE networks. The feature could potentially extend IoT device battery life up to ten years or more for common use cases and traffic profiles. Devices in both LTE and GSM technologies can enter a new deep sleep mode – for hours or even days at a time – and only wake up when needed. When devices are only intermittently connected, this is a very effective energy- saving feature, say the vendors.

The Power Saving Mode feature is available in Ericsson SGSN-MME Release 16A.

“Trucking companies hauling cargo across the country and restaurants transporting fresh food overseas need to continuously monitor their assets,” said Cameron Coursey, VP of Product Development at AT&T’s IoT Organization, “a long battery life on their connected devices can help them provide continuous service. Businesses save money with battery replacements every few years rather than every few months.”

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