While cellular technology provides sufficiently good coverage for some applications, it faces challenges that rule it out of many M2M applications, not least the battery life of M2M terminals. Battery life for cellular-based M2M terminals cannot be extended much beyond a month and without a relatively large and expensive battery, typically measured in days.
A small percentage of the market can tolerate devices that need mains power but many, such as remote sensors, cannot for either technical of commercial feasibility reasons: A sensor in a refuse bin can clearly never be mains powered. Sensors embedded in a car parking space to tell you whether the space is vacant or occupied could, in principle, be mains powered. However, the cost of excavating every space in every car park to provide mains power is both impractical and financially prohibitive. And for different but no less important reasons, a gas meter would not be connected to a mains power source. So it is clear that cellular technology cannot meet the requirements of the 50 billion plus device market.
M2M terminals, then, need to be as simple as possible, for two key reasons. The first is to keep the cost as low as possible. The second is to minimise power consumption. Unlike a cellphone, daily re-charging is not an option, and in the M2M world terminals will be expected to run off batteries for 10+ years.
Weightless has been designed from the outset to provide 10 year battery life from a single primary cell. This is achieved through a number of techniques:
Long battery life is critical for the large majority of M2M systems and applications and the Weightless system delivers this characteristic. ‘Fit & Forget’ Weightless modules are now possible in the field.
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