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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Weightless and ETSI partner on low cost wireless standards for IoT

By Nick Flaherty

One of the promising narrowband wireless protocols for the Internet of Things, Weightless, is moving towards an international standard.

The Weightless SIG is partnering with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and a key ultra narrow-band (UNB) LPWAN technology and applications provider, Telensa, is to the board of the Weightless SIG.

In a move widely acknowledged to bring much needed consolidation to the LPWAN space the Weightless SIG will immediately offer its Weightless-N standards activities into the ETSI LTN initiative within TG28, ensuring that all those interested in UNB solutions are represented in a single forum.
This is the first step on standardisation and the move is supported by several other UNB technology companies (announcements to come). Weightless is supported by Neul which in September 2014 was acquired by Huawei.

ETSI is a globally accepted standards development organisation within which the Low Throughput Network (LTN) initiative is developing a standard for LPWAN. This initiative is supported by a number of significant companies including Telensa and Sigfox. ETSI LTN is concentrating on a UNB standard.

There are only two standards bodies that have developed IoT specific standards for unlicensed spectrum based on UNB technology – ETSI and the Weightless SIG.

“In order to reduce fragmentation and enable critical mass in the marketplace we are bringing these two initiatives together, immediately reducing fragmentation and providing a platform around which industry can coalesce,” said Weightless CEO, Professor William Webb. 

Telensa's vertical smart city solutions include smart street lighting, where it now has a footprint of over 1 million lights across the world. Telensa's solutions are based on its own 2-way UNB technology, which it has been progressing to a standard with ETSI for the past 2 years.

"Proprietary ecosystems are no substitute for credible open standards when real market velocity is required, said Will Gibson, CEO of Telensa. "That's why we're delighted to be extending our ETSI standards work by joining the board of Weightless. This partnership signals a growing maturity in the LPWA market and will liberate a new wave of smart city sensor and application developers.”

Low Power Wide Area networks are set to become an integral building block for a variety of connected products and services. Deploying such networks also in unlicensed spectrum is critical to ensuring that the market for IoT connectivity will remain sufficiently competitive. The initiative is important, because it can open up a whole new level of scale benefits to players that are driving the unlicensed networks forward.

Weightless will focus on certification, the eco-system development, marketing and information dissemination and other relevant activities to aid the widespread success of the ETSI standards. It is part of a series of moves by the Weightless SIG to bring consolidation and order to the IoT connectivity technology space.

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