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Telstra to complete IoT trials

Having completed trials in-lab, Telstra is now planning field trials across metropolitan and regional areas for narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology.

Narrow band signal is able to penetrate deeper into buildings and extend existing remote and rural penetration, which is advantageous to metropolitan and regional areas, according to Telstra. NB-IoT also offers a much lower cost for the LTE chip, which is another factor that will increase access.

According to the company’s group managing director Mike Wright, once NB-IoT is rolled out across the Telstra network, coverage range for devices will increase by up to four or five times its current range, thus enabling lower costs and new categories of coverage.

NB-IoT will also have many practical applications, said the manager.

“I think sensor applications are interesting. We’ve already seen an example in agriculture in things like wine growing regions, testing the moisture and temperature of soil on every row,” he said in a comment to Fairfax Media.

“Imagine if we can get the price down, how many sensors you could deploy and if you used some form of big data analytics, and were analysing that, how you could adjust the way you optimise crop growing, how these could be used in water meters and leak detectors, how you could manage and understand the entire infrastructure of water and how you could prevent loss of water and breakage of pipes,” he added.

In the next few weeks Telstra will be testing two chipsets which are Category 1-enabled. Category 1 heralds the next wave of IoT LTE devices that are lower cost and offer longer battery life yet still carry reasonable data rates, according to the manager.

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