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21 July, 2015 - 10:18 By Tony Quested

Cambridge-Taiwan partners developing Weightless IoT gamechanger

William Webb CEO of the Weightless SIG

The Weightless SIG in Cambridge – bolstered by the arrival in the group of Taiwan IoT specialist M2COMM – has launched a new low power wide area network (LPWAN) that they believe is a gamechanger in the world of industrial IoT.

The new technology – Weightless P – creates 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) carrier grade IoT at a LPWAN price point. 

Weightless SIG says the breakthrough is significant “in being uniquely positioned in the premium space. In performance terms the three primary incumbents, Sigfox, Semtech/LoRa and Weightless-N (in that order) are positioned towards the lower end of the price/performance spectrum.

“Weightless-P occupies the centre ground, a true, high performance, reliable and high Quality of Service technology for the industrial IoT but importantly without a premium price tag. Weightless-P genuinely moves the game on; in every possible way Weightless-P represents a substantial leap forward.”

M2COMM, based in Taipei City, is a leading provider of industrial IoT connectivity technologies and has joined the Cambridge power bloc to lead a Weightless Working Group for the development of the new high performance LPWAN standard.

Weightless SIG chief executive, Professor William Webb (pictured), said Weightless-P would will offer uplink and downlink capabilities to “significantly enhance quality of service especially important in the very stringent industrial IoT sector.”

Adapted from field-proven experiences, Weightless-P supports all major licence-exempt SRD/ISM bands to ensure worldwide availability. Professor Webb said the standard provided fully acknowledged two-way communication offering “best in class quality of service” at data rates ranging from 200bps to 100kbps.”

It enables higher capacity than existing LPWAN and cellular technologies for uplink-dominated traffic with short-to-medium payload sizes. Using common commercially-available chipsets it will also support both stationary and mobile end devices by utilising low-power, innovative handover, cell re-selection and roaming methods. 

Weightless SIG says other advanced reliability features include fast network acquisition, paging, FEC, ARQ, power control and adaptive channel coding. Professor Webb said: “We are delighted to welcome M2COMM to the group and very excited about what Weightless-P brings to the IoT market. This new technology is bringing unique capabilities to the space – it fits perfectly within the Weightless stable of technologies.”

Derrick Wei, CEO of M2COMM, added: “Weightless-P will breathe new life into an IoT market that is waiting on a reliable LPWAN technology. Many IoT sectors require reliability to be addressed with ultra-low energy wireless communications not accessible through operator services today.

“The slow adoption of wireless IoT solutions highlights a huge technology void that Weightless-P will address without requiring custom hardware. Our current technology deployments in the retail and industrial sectors are a powerful indication of the future success we anticipate for Weightless-P.”

• The Weightless-P Specification is expected to be published and available to SIG Members in Q4 2015. Weightless-P hardware, including development kits, is expected to be launched in early 2016.

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