Ubiik, a leading provider of private LTE networks for utilities, announced today that its NB-IoT vertical system, including the goRAN™ LTE Base Station and Nimbus 220 NB-IoT module, have received FCC certification for operation in the Upper 700MHz A Block (Band 103).
As the first FCC-certified LTE products enabling a complete 3GPP-based solution in this band, the release of these products brings an immediate benefit to utilities and public safety agencies who own Band 103. Offering the option to run either a hybrid technology network combining narrowband SCADA with NB-IoT or a network focused entirely on connecting thousands of NB-IoT devices, these latest additions to Ubiik’s product range will maximize opportunities for connectivity.
Providing a significant boost to the data throughput achieved in Band 103, Ubiik’s goRANTM Base Station now offers the ability to support advanced non-anchor channel optimizations from 3GPP Release 14. As a ‘first-to-market’ innovation to optimize data throughput in this narrow slice of spectrum, this feature dramatically reduces signaling overhead and contention, thereby ensuring sufficient bandwidth for the widest range of IoT applications.
In addition, an update to the Nimbus 220 NB-IoT Module has focused on increasing network resilience. With the ability to automatically detect network outages and switch its SIM profile while in operation, the Nimbus 220 NB-IoT Module ensures uninterrupted connectivity should an outage occur. This new enhancement allows for seamless switching from a private network to a public LTE network, plus an automatic fallback once the private network is online again. The successful failover-and-fallback test was demonstrated at the last UBBA Summit and Plugfest Event, with a forced signal loss triggering the module to initiate a profile change from a private Band 103 network to a public SIM profile (in this case, Verizon).
“Our latest innovations have been designed to ensure customers who own Band 103 licenses can maximize their return on investment,” said TH Peng, Founder and CEO of Ubiik. “While the bandwidth boost allows the ability to connect more devices simultaneously, the failover-and-fallback innovation ensures network stability – both key considerations for critical communications.”
Ideally suited for utility IoT applications such as grid monitoring sensors, remote fault indication, cap controllers for Volt Var Optimization and Distribution Transformer Monitoring, and smart metering, Band 103 is becoming an attractive option to add additional connectivity for assets across a secure, private network. From utilizing spare channels in an existing 700MHz narrowband network to using the entire block of spectrum for a large-scale network of IoT devices, these latest product developments provide an additional option for utilities exploring solutions for connectivity challenges.
“There are a range of utility applications that are relatively low bandwidth that would be an ideal fit for NB-IoT,” says Kyle Cormier, Director of Telecommunications Systems at Salt River Project. “The growing adoption of EVs, for example, lends itself to Distribution Transformer Monitoring to provide more situational awareness on when customers plug in to charge their EVs each day. Being able to monitor the transformer loading via NB-IoT would allow a utility to balance the load through techniques such as managed charging or pricing incentives, ahead of proactively upgrading the transformer.”