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Weightless-N version 1.0 based on low-power wide area star network

Steve Rogerson
May 13, 2015
 
The Weightless SIG has published version 1.0 of the 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 provides signal propagation characteristics leading to a range of several kilometres even in urban environments. Low power consumption can lead to battery life measured in years from small conventional cells.
 
“Open standards are simply better for developers – they minimise cost, increase choice, mitigate risk, encourage innovation and are sustainable,” said William Webb, CEO of the Weightless SIG. “History unequivocally shows that only open standards ultimately prevail in the wireless technology space.”
 
Any company can develop both low cost basestations and terminals using royalty free Weightless technology. Networks can be owned and operated independently by any company or, typically, 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 with a Weightless base station bill of materials of less than $3000.
 
“The competitive environment is unique to a truly open standard leading to lower costs, more security, less risk and more ongoing innovation,” said Jonathan Wiggin, CEO of technology developer NWave Technologies. “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 128bit 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 basestation 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 web site.