IoT (Internet of Things)
Secure and seamless Internet connections are required to provide customers with services for IoT devices and products.
The key point is the wireless connection quality and how to measure, test and evaluate it.
Anritsu builds the essential test and measurement instruments for assuring wireless communications quality and plays a key role in supporting customers and society with measurement solutions for leading mobile broadband technologies.
IoT is a collection of things in our everyday environment that are connected to the Internet to offer previously unimagined services.
Commercial deployment of IoT services will stimulate an explosion of innovation in many fields, including self-driving vehicles, medical and health care, insurance, transport, energy, manufacturing and industrial plants, distribution, agriculture, health emergency medical services (HEMS), and more.
The recent appearance of various new products and services is expected see further rapid growth in new markets. The various things (IoT products and devices) connected to the Internet in this IoT market use wireless communications, etc., to handle data captured by sensors before transmission via the Internet to data centers (servers). These servers use AI to analyze the data and then transfer the results via the Internet to other IoT devices and smartphones, etc.
For example, a smartphone can be used to switch on a home air conditioner and set a temperature remotely so the rooms are at the right temperature when people get home.
The wireless communications technologies used in the IoT market include 5G, LTE, NB-IoT, Cat-M, wireless LAN (Wi-Fi and WLAN), Bluetooth®, sub-GHz bands, and more. 5G, LTE, NB-IoT and Cat-M are cellular-type wireless communications used by smartphones, etc., whereas wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN), and Bluetooth are connectivity-type wireless communications methods. These wireless communications methods are regulated by various standard organizations to assure the communications quality to be maintained.
Additionally, there are also national laws regulating wireless communications to assure a stable radio environment by limiting radio interference as much as possible and to promote better use of frequency bands, etc.
IoT devices and products with built-in radio communications functions must fully comply with wireless standards for assuring wireless communications quality as well as with national radio standards.
For example, the functions of smartphones, repeater equipment (IoT Gateways, Access Points), IoT air conditioners, etc., must satisfy the performance (communications quality) defined by the wireless communications standards (LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth).
Development and production of IoT devices and products requires evaluation of device wireless communications in the actual usage environment to assure that the communications quality is maintained (satisfies values defined by the standards).
Implementing this process assures the customer's IoT product quality and separates these makers' products from those of other makers who do not evaluate wireless communications quality, resulting in higher brand recognition for the former group.
The Bluetooth® trademark and logo are both the property of Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and Anritsu uses these marks on its products under license.
Wireless Communication Standards for IoT
Wireless communications technologies used by IoT include LTE, NB-IoT, Cat-M, Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN), Bluetooth®, etc. Customers developing and manufacturing IoT devices must be able to choose the best wireless communications standard matching the features of their product under development. Key elements in selecting the wireless communications standard are the range, speed, and power consumption. For example, since a battery-powered IoT device must operate for long periods of time (some years without battery changes), power consumption is most important in this case.
Each communications standard has specific characteristics; Bluetooth for example features low speeds, short range, and low power consumption, making it ideal for use in cordless headphones and healthcare devices, such as sphygmomanometers and pulse rate monitors.
Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN) features faster speeds than Bluetooth as well as longer range and higher power consumption, making it ideal for smartphones, tablets and smart home equipment, such as air conditioners and refrigerators.
Moreover, standards limited to IoT applications, such as NB-IoT, Cat-M, etc., use the same base stations as LTE for communications. As a result, they have many outside use cases, such as smart car rentals, smart agricultural equipment, smart ranching (animal tagging), etc.
Lastly, the recent focus on 5G as a wireless service featuring large data capacity, ultra-fast speeds, and low latency, is driving verification testing in many different fields, including self-driving vehicles in partnership with mobile operators, equipment vendors, and service providers, as well as 4K/8K HDTV, remote building monitoring, and more.
Service Examples and Issues for IoT
NB-IoT Service Examples and Issues
The recent focus has been on NB-IoT as an IoT wireless standard for cellular systems. Examples of services using NB-IoT now under examination include household gas meters and water meters in which an NB-IoT communications module can be installed to automate meter reading for efficient data acquisition, offering new services.
As shown in the above diagram, the NB-IoT wireless communications standard requires communications with the same base stations as used by mobile terminals including smartphones and terminals. Consequently, data read from gas and water meters passes from the NB-IoT communications module via the base station across the internet and finally to the data server where it is stored. This NB-IoT service is being offered by mobile operators and the same form of service will be offered in countries worldwide.
Since communications carriers are offering these NB-IoT communications services, as in the case of smartphones, tablets, etc., there is an extremely high need to assure the communications quality between the NB-IoT module and base station. The same is true for the Cat-M standard.
In the above-described example, the water and gas meters use a cellular wireless standard like NB-IoT or Cat-M, and makers developing and manufacturing the IoT modules offering these services must guarantee the wireless communications quality by checking any issues at each development, manufacturing, maintenance, and service stage.
WLAN Service Examples and Issues
Wireless LAN, also called WLAN, is not only built into modern personal computers and smartphones for connecting to the internet and sending/receiving email, but is also used by equipment like printers, and more recently by smart home electronics like air conditioners, refrigerators, etc. These home electronics communicate with an access point (AP) in the house to connect with the internet and provide various services.
The future is expected to see many more home electronics and "things" with built-in WLAN functions connecting to the internet via an AP.
With the appearance of these various convenient products, more users will probably encounter issues, such as inability to connect to the AP, slow connection speeds, and lack of connectivity at remote locations, resulting in more service calls to makers' support desks and increasing the number of warranty claims.
Some of these issues will be due to external factors unrelated to the product itself, while others will be due to product internal factors.
If you are interested in more details about these issues, refer to our Download Reference Materials.
Leaving these issues unresolved can harm the product reputation and company image, resulting in large business losses for makers.
Consequently, evaluating the performance of products with built-in WLAN functions before market launch is critical to business success.
As well as supporting NB-IoT and WLAN, Anritsu has measurement solutions and products supporting other wireless communications standards. For more details, refer to Anritsu's Solutions for IoT and to Product Range Supporting Wireless Standards.
Anritsu's Solutions for IoT
Wireless communications are assumed to be the most common method used in the IoT market for connecting to the Internet. There is also news about using 5G, LTE, NB-IoT, Cat-M, wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN) and Bluetooth for these wireless communications and products featuring these technologies are appearing.
For example, there are already many smart home appliances, such as cleaners and air conditioners, using wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN).
Anritsu measurement solutions (instruments) support all these wireless communications including LTE, NB-IoT, Cat-M, wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN) and Bluetooth.
Introduction of Anritsu's provided solution for wireless communication.
Product Range Supporting Wireless Standards
Anritsu measurement solutions support both cellular communications methods such as LTE, NB-IoT, and Cat-M used by smartphones, etc., and connectivity-type wireless communications such as wireless LAN (Wi-Fi, WLAN), Bluetooth, etc.
For wireless communication standards with IoT equipment, Anritsu provides measurement instrument from R&D to Manufacturing, Service and Maintenance.
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Anritsu's Approach for IoT/5G
Anritsu's 120-years history has been a story of meeting challenges for a better future.
As we face the dawn of the IoT/5G era, when wireless crosses paths with wired telecommunication, we promise to stay on the leading edge of technology.
Now let's take a step into our history together.
Next generation 5G technology will be even faster than 4G, with the industry aiming for transfer speeds of over 10Gbps, around 1000 times the capacity of LTE and a rise in M2M communication. This 5G system will be used to run what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT) as it is expected to allow users to connect all kinds of everyday items to the Internet. In addition to automotive technology, IoT is expected to lead to major social innovation in a wide range of fields including medicine, healthcare, transportation, energy, industry and agriculture.
Anritsu measurement solutions support customers bringing high-quality leading-edge mobile broadband and IoT technologies to market as soon as possible.
We continue with development of IoT measurement solutions for everyone.