The Internet of things(IoT) has been developed for about two decades. IoT evolved from the convergence of microelectromechanical systems, micro-services, wireless technologies, and the internet. The IoT system includes IoT edge devices, IoT Gateway, and IoT cloud platform.
Connecting IoT devices to the cloud is the responsibility of an IoT gateway. In many applications, wireless communication must be used to connect the gateway to the internet. Then cellular communication can be a good choice for many IoT scenarios. Today 4G LTE network is very popular, and the 3GPP organization has published LTE CatM1, and NB-IoT standards to support IoT.
AT&T officially turned on its CatM1 and narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) network after completing upgrades to its 4G LTE cell sites across the USA. Dusun IoT company has developed a 4G LTE IoT gateway that supports AT&T LTE-M mobile network to connect clouds. This article will discuss what is LTE-M /NB-IoT and how to use the AT&T LTE-M service on the Dusun IoT gateway.
Introduction to LTE-M&NB-IoT
3rd Generation Partnership Project（3GPP）Release 13 standard defines two low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies—LTE cat M1 and Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT). LTE-M and NB-IoT are specifically designed for IoT.
LTE Cat M1 uplink and downlink speeds can reach 375 kb/s in half-duplex mode, and specifically supports IoT applications with low to medium data rate needs. It enables longer battery lifecycles and greater in-building range, as compared to standard cellular technologies LTE Cat 1. The main features of LTE-M include:
- l Low power consumption
- l Extended in-building range
- l Full mobility and in-vehicle handover
- l Support voice functionality via VoLTE
NB-IoT is low energy and low bandwidth version of IoT which is designed for massive machine-to-machine communications. NB-IoT uses a subset of the LTE standard but limits the bandwidth to a single narrow band of 200kHz. It uses OFDM modulation for downlink communication and SC-FDMA for uplink communications.
In LTE Releases 13 and 14, 180 kHz has been proposed as the operating bandwidth for NB-IoT. NB-IoT focuses specifically on low cost, long battery life, indoor coverage, and high connection density.
NB-IoT significantly improves the power consumption of user devices, system capacity, and spectrum efficiency, especially in deep coverage. The battery life of more than 10 years can be supported by a wide range of use cases.
NB-IoT is optimized for stationary use cases with little data requirements like on-off switches, smart agriculture, smart home sensors, smoke detectors, door locks, and industrial monitors.
So NB-IoT is suitable for agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and resource management areas. LTE-M, with its greater bandwidth, can also support firmware and software updates, mobility, and voice-over services.
Connecting Dusun gateway to AT&T mobile network
Dusun Cellular Gateways support using AT&T LTE-M sim-card to connect to cloud. Users should buy a AT&T LTE-M Sim-card and activate it through the AT&T website services. Then please follow the below steps to connect the gateway with the AT&T mobile network.
1. Please insert the sim-card into the Dusun 4G gateway sim-card slot:
Dusun 4G LTE IoT Gateway Available for AT&T Network
2. Power up the gateway and configure the gateway APN settings.
First Log into the gateway and then revise the APN settings. Input broadband in the Apn set textbox. Please check with AT&T about the APN setting for updated information.
How to configure the gateway APN settings?
3. Unplug the network cable and the 4G module will startup.
If the gateway can connect to a cloud platform (Dusun or others), the gateway network indicator will go out.
Dusun 4G LTE IoT gateway can also support other carriers’ LTE or LTE-M services. Besides, it supports popular IoT protocols for wireless connectivity types including ZigBee 1.2/3.0, BLE, Z-Wave etc. The Gateways are built on the OpenWrt system and are programmable. Users can use the SDKs and APIs to write their own programs to control the data flow and processing. So this gateway can be applied in many IoT applications especially those without wired internet connections.