SK Telecom and Nokia demonstrate low-power LTE for IoT

Korea’s SK Telecom and Nokia Networks have demonstrated a joint invention to allow IoT devices consume minimal power while running on LTE networks.

The telco and equipment maker unveiled details of a new Power Saving Mode, an electricity saving feature they co-developed in SK Telecom’s network technology R&D centre in Seoul, South Korea. The power saving comes through a new way of streamlining the operation of any device, by stripping it down to its essential functions and switching to Power Saving Mode when there is no data transmission taking place.

The over-the-air trial was conducted in a test bed of Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station and IoT devices provided by GCT Semiconductor.

The IoT power saving breakthrough could allow equipment manufacturers to make less complex, but still fully fit for purpose, LTE-based modems. With LTE-RAN able to support future models of LTE-based modems, even in half-duplex mode, vendors and users will be able to use less complex machines, which are cheaper to buy and run. The new Power Saving Mode designed by Nokia Network and SK Telecom is intended to be a universal function which would allow all industry participants to extend battery life to at least 10 years on devices running autonomous operations.

With Power Saving Mode activated, location-tracking devices and data-collection devices for monitoring water or gas usage can run for over a decade, the vendors claim.

With 50 billion devices predicted to be connected to the IoT by 2020, the consumption of electricity by the gadgets will become a critical issue. Yesterday, Alcatel-Lucent unveiled how it will cut energy and space consumption in its new transmitters.

In South Korea, more than 99% of the population is under LTE coverage. The GSMA expects that 63% of the world’s population will have access to LTE by 2020.

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