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Against the sunset of 2G and 3G , what are alternatives for IoT connectivity?

2022-12-26 17:36:52

Why operators shutting down 2G/3G network?


The essential factor driving the shutdown of 2G/3G is that the income generated by 2G/3G networks is increasingly inconsistent withits costs . In some areas around the world, 2G/3G networks are even operating at a loss.Running 2G/3G while developing4G/5G at the same time greatly increases operators’ maintenance and networkingexpenditure. Moreover,2G/3G network equipment and technologies are outdated and consume a lot of power, which fails to meet therequirements of low carbonemissionsandenergy saving. What’s more, 2G/3Goccupiesa large amount of spectrum resources but with low utilizingefficiency, which could have been reassigned for the development of new technologies and services such as 5G.


Where are we now?


According to the latest GSA report, as of the end of June 2022, 135 operators in 68 countries and regions around the world have completed, planned, or are shutting down 2G and 3G networks, of which European operators account for nearly two-thirds of all operators undergoing network migration, followed by one-fifth in Asia.

2G/3G network switch-offs by year (Source:GSA)


What makes LTE the ideal substitution for 2G/3G?


As theshutdown of 2G/3G accelerating, there have already been replacement technologies that offer good alternatives to IoT connectivity needs.LTE is undoubtedly one of the best substitutions for2G/3G. It is expected to remainas the fundamental network for at least the next 20 years , which means it has future-proofedcompatibility than 2G or 3G had,making it a more economicchoice for long-term IoT deployments despite costs for hardware replacement.And another fact is that the connectivity fees of LTE are much lower than 2G/3G. Furthermore, LTE is more efficient than 2G or 3Gso that it is more sustainable when it comes to energyconsumption. At the same time, LTE realizes substantial improvements in power consumption and signal coverage, making it a much better choice for battery powered devices.


What specifically LTE can offer?


More importantly, LTE also brings improved functionality and connectivity comparing with2G/3G,which enable IoT devices operate in a more managed way to ensure the end user has much more transparency over device status and greater control over its operation. There are different technologies based on LTE including Cat.1,NB-IoT and LTE-M.They arecreated to support the needs of IoT applications thatrequire low cost, consume lesspower, have longerbattery lives and low data rate.Furthermore, the NB-IoT and LTE-Mtechnology are both now part of the 5G standards meaning they will continue to be supportedeven when end user transits to 5G.


The differences between NB-IoT and LTE-M


Both technologies NB-IoT and LTE-M are good choices forIoT applications require high power efficiency and extensive signal coverage, but there are differences between them. NB-IoT can play an important role in thestatic IoT application scenarios, such as smart meters, smart security detectors and others, which even can operate in locations such as remote areas or underground because of its deep signal enhancement. LTE-M, in particular, is a good alternative for moving devices, such as fleet tracking and it also can support voicetransmission, which is an ideal option for wearables, medical or domestic alarm systems etc.



LTE Cat.1 can undertake more


However, 2G/3G also involves a lot of applications require for real-time responsiveness, mobility,  certain bandwidth transmission capabilities, and even support voice communication capabilitiesat the same time, such as vehicle mounted devices,smart payment, and industrialtelematics. LTE Cat.1, which is also oriented to the IoT market, can perfectlymeet these requirements. LTE Cat.1 is adapted to the existingLTE network, and suitable for application scenarios that require cost performance,low latency, global coverage, andhigher data rate than NB-IoT andLTE-M.



SIMCom’s solutions for transition from 2G/3G


A fact can’t not be neglected is that the retirement of 2G/3Gwon’tbe completed in a short time and the process is highly fragmented across the globe. To help customers around the world transit from 2G/3G, SIMCom provides abundant LTE connectivity solutions includingCat.1, LTE-M and NB-IoT modules with powerful performances and technical innovations. With 20 years of technological accumulation and experiences in numerous vertical industries, SIMCom LTE modules deliver reliableperformances, versatile RFcapabilities, practical hardware design, and complete certifications , which will greatly facilitate a smooth transition from 2G/3G. To learn more about SIMCom LTE-M and NB-IoT modules via https://www.simcom.com/module/lpwa.html and LTE Cat.1 modules via https://www.simcom.com/module/4g.html

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