The Weightless SIG (special interest group) has published version 1.0 of the new Weightless-N open standard based on a low power wide area star network architecture.
Operating in sub-GHz spectrum using ultra narrow band (UNB) technology, Weightless-N claims to offer best-in-class signal propagation characteristics leading to a range of several kilometres even in challenging urban environments. “Very low power consumption provides for exceptionally long battery life measured in years,” from small conventional cells, says the Weightless SIG, and leading edge innovation in design minimises both terminal hardware and network costs.
Central to the Weightless proposition is its status as an open standard. Weightless is differentiated from all alternative proprietary LPWAN technologies by uniquely enabling a competitive, free and fair market that does not lock developers into using particular vendors or network service providers.
Commenting on the launch, Professor William Webb, CEO of the Weightless SIG said, “Open standards are simply better for developers – they minimise cost, increase choice, mitigate risk, encourage innovation and are sustainable” adding that “History unequivocally shows that only open standards ultimately prevail in the wireless technology space”.
Any company is able to develop both low cost base stations and terminals using royalty-free Weightless technology. Networks can be owned and operated independently by any company or, typically, Internet of Things (IoT) terminal devices and applications can be produced for use cases that will rely on connection to networks operated by third parties. A Weightless terminal device can be produced for less than US$2.00 with a Weightless base station bill of materials of less than US$3,000.
Jonathan Wiggin, CEO of leading technology developer, NWave Technologies, explained “The competitive environment is unique to a truly open standard leading to lower costs, more security, less risk and more ongoing innovation. That translates to a superior solution for the developer and end user.”
Weightless-N is designed around a differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK) digital modulation scheme to transmit within narrow frequency bands using a frequency hopping algorithm for interference mitigation and enhanced security. It provides for encryption and implicit authentication using a shared secret key regime to encode transmitted information via a 128 bit AES algorithm. The technology supports mobility with the network automatically routing terminal messages to the correct destination. Multiple networks, typically operated by different companies, are enabled and can be co-located. Each base station queries a central database to determine which network the terminal is registered to in order to decode and route data accordingly.
The complete specification is available to Weightless SIG Members for immediate download from the organisation’s website.
Details of hardware supporting Weightless-N as well as SDKs will be made available on the Weightless website shortly (see: http://www.weightless.org/)