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Huawei creates metrics for adding IoT to mobile networks

Steve Rogerson
December 1. 2016
Huawei has released systematic metrics to help mobile operators add IoT devices to mobile networks. Launched at last month’s Global MBB Forum in Tokyo, the Things Coverage methodology includes an approach for evaluating the quality of an IoT network, and a way to plan mobile networks that must serve things as well as people.
It provides a set of quantitative standards that can serve as a reference for the entire IoT ecosystem, from telecoms operators and device makers to users. Coordination across the ecosystem should help operators roll out their networks faster to increase the value of the IoT.
Building IoT-ready networks is a challenge for operators because of the vast number of different IoT applications and services. Operators have been looking for a network planning methodology that will help them meet the demands of IoT connections, increase the value of their IoT services and provide a superior IoT experience.
Huawei's Things Coverage methodology includes a five-dimensional standard for the connection experience of IoT devices. Each use case is analysed in terms of availability, bandwidth, coverage, delay sensitivity and energy efficiency. The combination of scores across the five dimensions gives a connection quality baseline for each type of service, whether it be smart metering, connected cars, industrial controls or whatever.
On this basis, the Chinese company proposes a network planning methodology to focus on the need to connect things as well as people. Things Coverage includes a series of radio models, with different combinations of wireless connection features, for different types of application scenario. These models are then mapped onto network maps showing where the various services are needed. The maps will guide later service provisioning based on key dimensions such as grid-level coverage and battery life.
Using the methodology, operators should be able to roll out targeted IoT services efficiently across their existing mobile broadband networks, while maintaining low cost of operations.
After service provisioning, it also gives standards for monitoring data traffic and energy consumption to ensure that service quality remains at the required level, and more services can be deployed as the IoT network grows.

At the 2016 Global MBB Forum, Ryan Ding (pictured), president of Huawei Products, introduced the methodology and its five-dimensional evaluation system, and presented network planning as a case study using data from a smart water meter application. Huawei expects to develop auxiliary tools quickly to support operators as they apply Things Coverage during the construction of their networks.
The company says it is committed to collaborating with more operators and vertical industry partners to develop a comprehensive system for evaluating IoT networks, and a planning standard for network construction. Innovative ideas and open approaches to IoT planning will help operators make more informed investment decisions. Efficient networks will mean faster growth for the IoT.
The IoT is growing fast, and is set to change every facet of people’s lives. It includes applications such as smart home, wearables and connected cars. Telecoms operators have a key competitive edge in delivering IoT services because of their wireless networks, skilled workforces and experience in supplying localised services.
Operators are planning to use NB-IoT and other technologies on their networks to expand network capacity, deliver new experiences and expand into more markets by collaborating closely with vertical industries.