Rogers will launch a new LTE-based network for IoT devices by the end of the year, a speedy alternative to its much slower 2G network for connected devices.
The company said this morning its LTE Cat M1 network (LTE-M) will help businesses connect and track their assets in real time using solutions such as logistics tracking, alarm monitoring, and smart metering. The new network will also enable future consumer IoT applications such as wearables, monitoring and tracking solutions.
LTE-M will be for fixed and mobile low-power IoT devices relaying low amounts of data over long distances, particularly for devices needing longer battery life and better network coverage in hard to reach areas.
Pricing wasn’t announced. LTE-M speeds will vary, Rogers said, but maximum throughput is 1 mbps.
Rogers isn’t the only carrier in the IoT space. Bell said last year its LTE-M network would launch this summer. Telus has an IoT Markeplace.
“We are committed to supporting our customers as they explore the capabilities and benefits available through Rogers rapidly growing IoT ecosystem,” Dean Prevost, president of Rogers’ enterprise division, said in a statement. “With the launch of LTE-M, we are empowering the adoption of reliable, low cost, and secure IoT solutions that support a variety of use cases such as asset tracking, smart cities, utilities, transportation, and supply chain management.”
“LTE-M will bring massive IoT to life – a market with tremendous scale for connected devices – and will fundamentally improve how Canadian businesses and cities operate,” added CTO Jorge Fernandes.
According to an IDC Canada quote that accompanied the Rogers news release, IoT is now a mainstream tool of Canadian businesses, with 81 per cent of medium and large-sized Canadian organizations using some kind of IoT solution today. However, distance and physical infrastructure can impair wireless signals.
For example, Rogers’ LTE-M website notes that while an IoT device can be installed in an underground parking garage, thick concrete walls can impact coverage, An LTE-based network will help.
The site says LTE-M will offer enhanced wireless coverage; low device cost, because devices for that network are less expensive than current devices; less power drain and extended battery life. LTE-M also can handoff from a Wi-Fi to a cellular network, making it practical for mobile asset tracking needs such as monitoring shipping containers, fleet vehicles or people (for example, patient monitoring). LTE-M supports voice recognition, which is important for alarms and security applications.
Telecommunications companies have a long list of potential IoT uses including monitoring pipelines, tracking tools, pallets and factory equipment, home smart meters, monitoring waste bins, street lighting sensors and building infrastructure (HVAC).
The network will be launched in Ontario by the end of the year, followed by additional provinces throughout 2019. The full national rollout will be completed by 2020. Rogers said its part of a plan to bring 5G wireless to the country.
Rogers said will provide its customers with “clear and simple options” if they want to migrate and upgrade their 2G IoT devices and benefit from all the new capabilities provided by LTE-M. In addition, LTE-M will also enable future consumer IoT applications such as wearables, monitoring and tracking solutions.