10 Year Battery Life

Weightless delivers lowest possible power consumption IoT/M2M products.

A small percentage of the market can tolerate devices that need mains power but many applications, such as remote sensors, cannot for either technical or commercial feasibility reasons. A sensor in a refuse bin for example will typically be off-grid. Sensors embedded in a car parking space that sense the presence of a vehicle could, in principle, be mains powered. However, the cost of deploying mains powered endpoints every space in every car park or on street parking zone is both impractical and financially prohibitive.

GPRS, 3G and LTE based technologies, no matter how much power optimisation is designed in, can never compete with LPWAN technologies and ultra efficient protocols designed explicitly for IoT/M2M use cases on battery life. A power optimised LTE-M implementation, for example, will typically operate for, at best, several weeks or months on a single battery. This contrasts sharply with the need for terminals to operate in the field for years to become commercially feasible.

Weightless has been designed from the outset to provide 10 year battery life from an AA form factor battery. This is achieved through a number of techniques.

IoT/M2M terminal devices need to be as simple as possible, with much of their functionality handed off to the network, in order to minimise power consumption of the endpoint.

Weightless terminals are able to function with a very low transmit power. Both Weightless-N and Weightless-W signals in ISM and white space spectrums achieve long range at low signal power.

Weightless terminals have very long sleep periods. The device will typically wake infrequently, synchronise its clock and listen briefly – for about 100ms - to determine whether there are any changes to the system or any messages that need to be acted upon. If not, it will return to sleep again for another 15 minutes. Weightless devices will therefore only be awake for minute amounts of time.

Weightless has been designed to be very simple to implement from the terminal side. All of the complexity is retained in the network, and so the terminal is not required to carry out any complex calculations. This means that a Weightless terminal has no powerful processor requirements; even when the terminal is awake its lightweight processors mean that power consumption is very low.

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.

What's next?

We are continuously updating information about battery life, including details of different types of battery technologies, specifically with respect to Weightless technology. We also have a full schedule of hardware developments to roll out over the course of the next few weeks and months including new base stations, modules, endpoints, development kits, and evaluation kits - as well as new standards and enhancements to existing standards. To keep right up to speed on all the latest developments and to get more technical detail on battery life expectancy and recommended suppliers, please click on the orange "Send me breaking news" button in the banner above.