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Encore and Sequans team up to offer Cat1 LTE router

Steve Rogerson
September 16, 2015
 
Encore Networks announced at last week’s CTIA Super Mobility in Las Vegas that it has teamed with 4G LTE chipset developer Sequans Communications to provide the industry’s first industrial router to leverage category one LTE aimed at IoT and M2M applications.
 
Virginia, USA-based Encore’s router uses the VZ120Q module, based on French company Sequans’ Calliope Cat1 LTE chipset. The module was designed and recently certified for use on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, and helps Encore provide a compatible, affordable replacement for the almost 20 million devices now deployed on aging 2G networks.
 
One tier-one cellular carrier has already announced a phase out of 2G service by the end of 2016; other carriers are expected to follow over the coming years.
 
Before LTE, 2G dominated M2M and IoT applications such as kiosks, smart meters, digital signage, ATMs and utility sub-stations. However, 2G requires more radio spectrum per bit transmitted than LTE. Carriers are re-farming their spectrum from 2G to 4G to help meet the soaring demand for data services. Cat1 LTE is a resource-efficient use of that spectrum for lower speed IoT and M2M devices that can seamlessly coexist with faster, higher-category LTE connections on the same cellular towers.
 
Cat1 caps the data speeds at 10Mbit/s downlink and 5Mbit/s uplink, far exceeding the throughput of 2G connections and providing headroom for future growth in traffic. As a result, it meets the needs of use cases where 3G or full-speed 4G LTE proved too expensive. In addition, LTE technology provides the M2M and IoT industry with the longevity needed for long-term deployments in the field.
 
“It is now accepted that 4G LTE will be used for almost everything that requires a cellular wireless connection even where it was previously considered too expensive to deploy,” said Krishna Ragireddy, vice-president of engineering for Encore Networks. “Cat1 LTE transport is the perfect solution for M2M markets that don’t require hundreds of megabits per second throughput but benefit from 4G’s low latency, spectral efficiency and longevity.”
 
Thanks to the affordable nature of the LTE Cat1 technology found in the Sequans system, which enables module costs at or below 3G or high-rate 4G module costs, Encore says it will deliver products with immediate savings in equipment costs. Cat1 can also lower operating expense via less costly data plans.
 
“Encore’s new routers demonstrate the ability of Cat1 to deliver cost savings compared to 2G or 3G while delivering LTE’s lower latency and higher throughput performance,” said Craig Miller, VP of marketing for Sequans Communications. “Thanks to the highly optimised Calliope CatT1 LTE chipset platform, these low cost solutions will accelerate adoption of single-mode LTE for numerous wireless applications and provide an immediate replacement for traditional 2G and HSPA devices.”
 
William Flanagan, president of Flanagan Consulting, added: “The low cost of Cat1 can ease the pain of migration to LTE for a large portion of the millions of 2G connections now deployed. The newer equipment will also bring added advantages in monitoring and management based on cloud services.”