Neul unveils Weightless-based M2M platform

UK-based M2M player Neul has launched a new connectivity platform for Internet of Things services based on the use of so-called white space – gaps between spectrum bands freed up in the transition from analog to digital broadcasting.

The company is one of the main backers of the Weightless standard that has been developed to support M2M communications over white space.

Other prominent supporters include chip designer ARM (Cambridge, UK) and Cable & Wireless Worldwide, now controlled by multinational mobile operator Vodafone (Newbury, UK).

Branded NeulNET, the new platform is based on the Weightless standard and intended to provide better coverage and battery life than cellular systems, as well as lower-cost modules.

The platform uses cloud-based technology to manage service levels, authentication and billing, says Neul (Cambridge, UK).

Other components are a base station (the NN2510) and terminal modules (NT1001) that incorporate Neul’s Iceni RF transceiver chip.

Neul’s statement indicates that UK fixed-line incumbent BT (London) is already conducting initial technical assessments of the NeulNET system.

“The Internet of Things market has huge potential, but existing short-range and cellular networking technologies are unable to meet the requirements of many applications we see,” said Mark Harrop, the director of mobile strategy for BT.

“A networking technology that can provide deep indoor coverage, last for many years from a single battery, is simple to use, and comes at the right price point is essential for realizing the true potential of the IoT,” he added. “The NeulNET solution promises to deliver on these requirements and we’re excited to be trialing this over the coming months.”

BT picked up wireless spectrum in the UK’s 4G auction last year and appears keen to re-establish itself as a mobile player.

Neul says its system is designed to work in both licensed and unlicensed spectrum and will work across a variety of frequencies, giving operators a number of options.

NeulNET is being offered to operators on a “per-device, per-month” basis.

The company says the base station can be mounted on street furniture, such as lamp posts, and requires only Power-over-Ethernet, IP backhaul and an antenna to provide coverage for up to a 5km cell radius.

Terminal modules require only batteries and antenna connections and will operate for between ten and 15 years using two AA batteries, claims Neul.

Neul says the industry should expect further announcements with respect to global deployments of NeulNET technology throughout 2014.

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