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Monday, April 18, 2016

Connecting WiFi and LTE for IoT in the Smart Nation

By Nick Flaherty

There is often a mismatch between cellular technologies, WiFi and other short range wireless for applications in the Internet of Things. So its very interesting that Parallel Wireless in the US is combining both WiFi and LTE cellular links in a heterogeneous network 'HetNet' trial to provide WiFi connections on buses in Singapore.

Mobile operators in Singapore are looking for innovative technologies to address spectrum scarcity as subscriber demand is growing rapidly with smartphone penetration reaching 130 devices per 100 people. Maximizing the utilization of the spectrum and easing network congestion in areas with heavy human traffic is necessary to meet the requirements of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (iDA) to connect the whole nation as a part of world's-first Smart Nation initiative.

The on-Bus HetNet technology uses network virtualisation and changes the economics of pervasive mobile coverage with real-time HetNet orchestration, traffic prioritization made possible by HetNet Gateway (HNG). All bus riders receive seamless, high throughput connectivity from an on-bus multi-mode LTE/Wi-Fi converged wireless system from a small cell with integrated backhaul including licensed assisted backhaul.  This needs new software in the radio access network (RAN) to enable carrier aggregation for backhaul and so allows the end user throughput can be increased 10 times (up to 300 Mbps).

The HetNet solution with the Parallel Wireless vRAN architecture allows M1 as the network operator to better manage network demands, enable intelligent traffic steering and load balancing on public transport. The network can seamlessly scale capacity up or down with intelligent traffic offload to address the changing usage patterns, while maintaining seamless end user Quality of Service. In the future, the same small cell can include M2M features to provide fleet management capabilities to transit companies.

M1 provides mobile and fixed services to over 2 million customers and was the first operator to offer nationwide 4G service, as well as ultra high-speed fixed broadband, fixed voice and other services on the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN). "We are proud to support M1's WiFi-On-The-Go service HetNet trial, Singapore's first connected public bus service as a part of the iDA initiative to make Singapore the worlds-first Smart Nation." said Steve Papa, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Parallel Wireless. "Innovative operators like M1 are leading a market disruption in new growth areas such as enabling Smart Cities. Parallel Wireless's cost-effective and efficient HetNet solution was designed to make this disruption a reality."

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