Vodafone and Huawei have completed pre-standard trials of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology in Australia.
The trials at several live sites in Melbourne were carried out in late April, but are only being announced. More trials are being planned elsewhere in Australia in the coming months.
Vodafone Australia CTO Benoit Hanssen said the results of the tests have helped demonstrate the potential for the new 4G technology.
“We’ve been able to achieve significantly greater coverage both in terms of distance and depth, compared to those offered by existing 2G, 3G and 4G technology,” he said.
“Based on our testing in the Melbourne CBD, NB-IoT would be able to penetrate two to three double-brick walls, enabling connectivity of objects in underground carparks and basements. We also achieved extended coverage during tests in suburban Melbourne, with distances of up to 30km.”
NB-IoT also promises increased scalability over conventional 4G networks, supporting up to 100,000 low-bandwidth devices per cell.
Hanssen said NB-IoT is a new application for 4G technology, which is still evolving even as the industry prepares for the arrival of 5G.
“We’re hearing a lot of hype about 5G a t the moment but there is still plenty of mileage left in 4G, such as NB-IoT. [The technology] is an application of 4G designed specifically for products which require extended distance, depth and battery life,” he said.