Standards battles are commonplace in the computing and communications business, given the business advantage firms believe–and sometimes do obtain–from getting their favored proposals adopted as actual standards.
So it is with specific Internet of Things communication protocols, differentiated from either fourth generation (4G) or fifth generation (5G) network standards that emphasize low power consumption, low bandwidth and long range.
On the IoT front, two major camps are contending, pitting Ericsson against Huawei and Intel against Qualcomm.
Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, ZTE and Cisco, plus Sprint and Verizon, support the narrowband LTE (NB-LTE) proposal.
On the other hand, Huawei, Qualcomm, Vodafone, China Unicom and China Mobile are part of the group supporting a new IoT-optimized air interface in 3GPP Release 13, to get around the compromises required to repurpose LTE.
And then there are the low power wide area (LPWA) networks, such as Sigfox and Semtech, which some think could be incorporated into the 3GPP framework.
The Huawei Cellular IoT proposal builds on a purpose-built approach, aiming for $10 module cost and 10-year battery life.
Ericsson’s Narrowband LTE (NB-LTE) proposal makes far greater use of existing LTE technologies.