It’s a big day today, not only for us over at Weightless Towers but for all developers planning their Internet of Things projects. Because today we’re in the city of London, England for an exciting and groundbreaking event - at the launch of the first Weightless-N network to be announced since we published the standard last month.
Royalty free access to low power, wide area network technology has been approaching for several months - since last September in fact when we announced the start of development of the Weightless-N Standard. And now, just a few weeks after the Weightless-N Standard was completed and published, we’re delighted to be able to say that the first Smart City network has been deployed.
In fact multiple Weightless-N networks already exist around the world and we’ll be announcing these in due course but the London network is special because it’s the first one we’ve been able to announce. London is one of the world’s largest cities, the largest municipality in Europe with over 21 million people in a metropolitan area covering over 8000 square kilometres. Siting of base stations to support an efficient, low cost city-wide network is an important part of the deployment planning process.
We’ll return to the subject of urban range and coverage in a later blog but what we can say already is that at least 8km in what is a very challenging environment is being achieved. We’re out on a field expedition this afternoon with a range testing modem visiting some London landmarks and we’ll report back in due course. We’re also arranging an independent validation of the range we measure - so more on that too in a blog coming soon.
So a little bit more about the Weightless-N Standard and technology - what is it?
In very simple terms it is a low power, wide area network (LPWAN) technology operating in sub-1GHz, licence-exempt, ISM spectrum using ultra narrow band (UNB) technology. In slightly less simple terms, Weightless-N is designed around a differential binary phase shift keying (DBPSK) digital modulation scheme transmuting within narrow frequency bands using a frequency hopping algorithm for interference mitigation. It provides for encryption and implicit authentication using a shared secret key regime to encode transmitted information via a 128 bit 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 base station queries a central database to determine which network the terminal is registered to in order to decode and route data accordingly.
Things are moving fast in Weightless and we have a raft of significant announcements scheduled over the coming weeks. As always, they’ll appear first in your inboxes to stay tuned.