Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Weightless SIG welcomes NWave as newest member

Iain Morris
October 23, 2014
Internet of Things (IoT) special interest group (SIG) Weightless has welcomed connectivity player NWave Technologies as the newest member of its association, whose aim is to develop an IoT standard based on the use of unlicensed frequencies.

NWave Technologies (Richardson, TX, USA) specializes in building networks that use spectrum in radio bands reserved for use with industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications and will provide a major boost to the standardization activities of Weightless (Cambridge, UK).

The original goal of Weightless was to base its standard on use of so-called white space spectrum being freed up during the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, but regulatory authorities in some parts of the world have yet to clear these airwaves.

NWave looks set to play a critical role in the development of the Weightless-N specification, which would use the ISM bands.

This sub-1GHz spectrum could be ideal for supporting low-power devices that require little bandwidth and transmit data infrequently, such as the smart meters being introduced in customer homes to monitor energy consumption.

NWave’s own technology is designed to operate at 868MHz in Europe and 915MHz in the US and the company has already developed technology for use in water meters.

Weightless reckons the terminal devices it develops with NWave should be capable of operating I the field for up to ten years on a single AA form factor battery.

It also says that simple terminal hardware using low-cost components will allow modules to be deployed for around $2, while the excellent signal propagation characteristics of the spectrum should help to minimize network costs.

“NWave is a leader in IoT over ISM spectrum and the company's deep technical experience in LPWAN connectivity will make a significant contribution to the rapid development of Weightless-N,” said William Webb, chief executive of the Weightless SIG said. “Bringing proven capability from an existing technology provider to the SIG and merging it with the expertise already established within the group will accelerate the development of Weightless-N as the leading global open standard for machine connectivity over license-exempt spectrum.”

NWave reckons the Weightless-N standard could be ready early next year and expects to see commercial deployments of Weightless-N-compliant technology soon afterwards.

The news comes shortly after China’s Huawei (Shenzhen) moved to acquire IoT platform player Neul (Cambridge, UK), one of the originally members of the Weightless SIG, while chipmaker Qualcomm (San Diego, CA, USA) has just announced plans to buy CSR (Cambridge, UK), which was also involved with the Weightless SIG from an early stage.

According to press reports, Webb is unsure whether Huawei and Qualcomm will depart from the Weightless SIG or decide to back its activities.
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