Open Source Weightless-N IoT Network Blankets London


In yet another move showing its dedication to implementing the IoT, the City of London this week got its very own Smart City network thanks to the Weightless SIG, an IoT standards advocacy body that supports the Weightless open source standard for M2M communications.

The network will operate on Nwave technology. Nwave, an international hardware and software provider of IoT technology, has been deployed by Digital Catapult, a British national centre for technological innovation, to make the base station infrastructure available for developers.

Weightless-N operates at below 1GHz, in a license-exempt ISM spectrum that uses ultra narrow band technology. All of that engineering means that it can provide top-tier signal propagation characteristics, a range of several miles even in urban environments, like London. It’s got a low power requirement, so battery life is measured in years from small conventional cells.

“We are delighted to be able to provide a platform to showcase Weightless-N technology, a key enabler for Smart City projects not just across the capital but around the world,” said Peter Karney, Head of Engineering, Digital Catapult. “We are looking forward to opening this up to our network to enable them to continue to showcase the UK’s innovation in this area; we will be leading an open call in the near future allowing these innovators to register their interest in the project.”

Image via Shutterstock

Network modeling predicts coverage from Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament in the south to Emirates Stadium in the north. Independent signal verification is in the process to provide an accurate coverage map, which will be published on the Weightless website when complete.

The characteristics of LPWANs like Weightless-N, or SIGFOX, seem to be ideally suited for most IoT needs: efficient power consumption, long ranges in tough conditions and small packets of information to be communicated. If the IoT grows up looking like what is developing now, cellular and traditional Wi-Fi bandwidth might have a hard time keeping up. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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