Following increasing demand across numerous industries, the operator has reportedly doubled the amount of sites in its Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network
NB-IoT is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technology, used for enabling efficient communications between devices that require long battery life and have low data demand. This makes the NB-IoT perfect for numerous applications that to not need to constantly transmit data, such as smart gas and water metres, environmental sensors, or smoke and fire alarms.
As the world becomes increasingly connected, the NB-IoT ecosystem has soared. In January 2020, NB-IoT connections reached the 100 million milestone, with expectations that they will make up 46% of all cellular IoT connections by 2026. This growth is primarily industrial in nature, as more businesses digitalise their operations and install various monitoring solutions, but also accounts for an increasing number of asset tracking and smart city solutions.
In response to this increasing demand, Vodafone has reportedly doubled the number of sites in its NB-IoT network in an effort to increase to almost total coverage of the UK. For use cases where a -128dBm signal is sufficient, their network now covers 98% of the country, while for devices requiring more a more powerful signal (-118dBm), geographic coverage is 87%.
Vodafone notes that it will work to deliver services with customers not covered by their existing network on a case-by-case basis.
“NB-IoT is a part of our network that is often overlooked, but it but it is becoming increasingly important, bringing data from a growing variety of devices to power decision-making in more organisations,” explained Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone UK.
“This is a network which has been designed for low-bandwidth devices, allowing for coverage that goes beyond 4G, and devices where battery life could be extended to as long as ten years. In IoT, customers might want to use our 4G network for real-time, data-intensive analytics, while others might need a connectivity solution for non-time sensitive use cases, such as environmental monitoring.”
Vodafone’s NB-IoT network is already being used by customers across multiple industries, including SES Water and United Utilities to detect leaks in underground pipes and other infrastructure.
How important is the NB-IoT when it comes to delivering Smart Cities and Industry 4.0 in the UK? Find out what the expert’s think at this year’s live Connected Britain event
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