Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

u-blox and Telenor to develop network-friendly modem for smart metering

Iain Morris
October 28, 2014

Hardware player u-blox and network operator Telenor Connexion say they have teamed up to develop a more network-friendly M2M modem that would prevent the congestion and overloading that can occur when technologies such as smart metering are in operation.

The hope is that more efficient modems will provide a spur to the M2M sector and speed up the rollout of M2M technology in the energy and other sectors.

When used with applications such as smart metering and remote security systems, cellular modems can attempt to connect to the network on multiple occasions, but if a number of units make attempts at the same time the network can become overloaded and unresponsive.

In an effort to address that problem, u-blox (Thalwil, Switzerland) and Telenor (Stockholm, Sweden) have introduced a so-called “network-friendly mode” they say will be embedded in all of u-blox’s cellular modems.

The firmware will allow the modem to autonomously try connecting to the cellular network based on pre-defined and geometrically longer time delays and a maximum number of attempts.

The network-friendly mode appears to be one of the first examples of technologies based on recent guidelines published by the GSM Association for making M2M connectivity more efficient.

“This successful partnership with u-blox ensures an optimal performance of our networks,” said Remi Demerie, the director of global partnerships at Telenor Connexion. “The new firmware introduced in u-blox’s modules enables devices and applications to communicate in the most intelligent and efficient way, whilst preventing service outages, thereby ensuring a continued reliable service to our M2M customers.”

“This collaboration is also paving the way for a larger adoption of best practices within the M2M and IoT developer community,” added Demerie.

u-blox says the collaboration with Telenor should help to address a critical issue affecting developers of M2M applications.

“By carefully analyzing modem behavior within their extensive 2G and 3G networks, we were able to define a robust algorithm that ensures optimal connectivity, even when large numbers of units are involved,” said Richard Fry, the vice president of strategic partnerships at u-blox.
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