BT plc, the UK's largest telephone service provider, is conducting trials of a wireless network offered by startup company Neul Ltd. (Cambridge, England).
The BT trials are of NeulNET, a wireless network based on the Weightless open standard and designed specifically for Internet of Things applications. Neul, founded in 2010 has been pioneering IoT network that typically uses white space UHF spectrum that is available alongside television broadcast signals. However, in this offering the company stresses that the network infrastructure is spectrum agnostic.
The key thing about NeulNET is that it involves different protocol optimizations than established networks such as GPRS, 3G, CMDA and LTE WAN, and as such can provides superior coverage, battery life, module cost and simplicity, Neul claims.
NeulNET is designed to provide two-way managed communication for machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). The network infrastructure is not dependent on white-space and is designed to operate in in licensed and unlicensed spectrum. It works across a variety of frequencies from global unlicensed metering bands (169MHz or lower) up to and including sub-GHz cellular bands.
The NeulNET offering includes the NN2510 basestation, NT1001 terminal modules based on Neul's Iceni RF transceiver IC and the NuelNET connectec device platform, which is software to provide cloud-based services, authentication, billing and device management. The platform is offered to network operators by Neul as a managed service charged on per device, per month basis.
"The Internet of Things market has huge potential, but existing short-range and cellular networking technologies are unable to meet the requirements of many applications we see," said Mark Harrop, director of mobile strategy at BT, in a statement issued by Neul. "A networking technology that can provide deep indoor coverage, last for many years from a single battery, is simple to use, and comes at the right price point is essential for realizing the true potential of the IoT."
The NN2510 basestation, when deployed with a IP backhaul system, is suitable for mounting on lamp-posts in macro cell type installations with a 5 kilometer radius cell, The NT1001 terminal require a battery and antenna connection. Two AA batteries will power NT1001 modules to operate for 10 to 15 years, Neul said.
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