Rel. 14 has been finalized in March 2017 and technical specifications released in June 2017. They will gradually be integrated into network components and chipsets/modules according to their usual development cycles. The availability of each new functionality depends on its respective complexity and will be announced after its development and testing.
Most notably, Rel. 14 (Cat-NB2) will support,mobility, single-cell multicast, enhanced device positioning, reduced latency and improved power consumption (14 dBm output power reduction to enable further module cost savings) and other technical enhancements.
NB-IoT is designed for use cases where end devices need no maintenance for a long period of time. The battery lifetime depends on several factors: power consumption of the radio module, power consumption of the sensor, how often messages are transmitted and the coverage conditions of the end device, among others.
The 3GPP estimated that for a setup with average radio modules and sensors transmitting at a moderate frequency (e.g. 2-3 times a week) in good coverage conditions using two AA cells a battery lifetime of up to 10 years can be expected. However, deviations must be expected in different setups with higher frequency of transmissions i.e. Smart Parking.
Yes, NB-IoT always comes with a SIM card, as it features LTE-like security, which is based on standardization and specifications of 3GPP. A standardized SIM profile also allows international usage of NB-IoT on the networks of foreign mobile network operators as soon as roaming is agreed and deployed. NB-IoT is always SIM-based, but different form factors will be offered.
CAT1: Low-end LTE device class (for larger data volumes)
LTE-M/CAT-M1: Driven primarily by US market & Orange and a replacement for 2G in US; potential use cases require less data transfer than LTE or CAT1.
NB-IoT: driven primarily by European and Chinese market; only for very small data volume and has the best indoor coverage compared to CAT1 and CAT-M
EC-GSM: extension for GPRS; not widely adopted
Our existing LTE infrastructure allows an efficient integration of NB-IoT. For the most part NB-IoT will be deployed to our LTE radio access network via software upgrade. As NB-IoT can be deployed both in the GSM or the LTE spectrum, no additional spectrum licenses are needed.
This technology supports different spectral operation modes, making its deployment flexible and adaptable to different regional network implementations, e.g. stand-alone, guard band or in-band operation. Additionally, components specified by the 3GPP for NB-IoT were set up, e.g. core network elements.
In Europe target Bands 20 (800 Mhz) & Band 8 (900Mhz). More information can be found here.
I heard that a couple of improvements, including lower battery consumption, are part of the 3GPP release 14.
Did I understand correctly? If so:
What are T-Mobile’s timelines on this release?
If current boards are bought with formal support for Release 13, can they be upgraded if the manufacturer delivers new firmware or are these changes also hardware related so new hardware is needed?