Although LTE 450 networks have been in use in many countries for many years, there has been renewed interest in them as the industry moves into the era of LTE and 5G. The phasing out of 2G and the advent of Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) are also among the markets driving the adoption of LTE 450.
The reason is that the bandwidth around 450 MHz is well suited for the needs of IoT devices and mission-critical applications ranging from smart grids and smart metering services to public safety applications. The 450 MHz band supports CAT-M and Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technologies, and the physical properties of this band are ideal for covering large areas, allowing cellular operators to provide full coverage cost-effectively. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits associated with LTE 450 and IoT.
Full coverage requires IoT devices to reduce power consumption in order to stay connected. The deeper penetration afforded by 450MHz LTE means devices can easily connect to the network without constantly trying to consume power.
The key differentiator of the 450 MHz band is its longer range, which greatly increases coverage. Most commercial LTE bands are above 1 GHz, and 5G networks are up to 39 GHz. Higher frequencies provide higher data rates, so more spectrum is allocated to these bands, but this comes at the cost of rapid signal attenuation, which requires a dense network of base stations.
The 450 MHz band is on the other end of the spectrum. For example, a country the size of the Netherlands may need thousands of base stations to achieve full geographic coverage for commercial LTE. But the increased 450 MHz signal range only requires a few hundred base stations to achieve the same coverage. After a long time in the shadows, the 450MHz frequency band is now the backbone for monitoring and managing critical infrastructure such as transformers, transmission nodes, and surveillance smart meter gateways. 450 MHz networks are built as private networks, protected by firewalls, connected to the outside world, which by its very nature protects them from cyberattacks.
Since 450 MHz spectrum is allocated to private operators, it will primarily serve the needs of critical infrastructure operators such as utilities and distribution network owners. The main application here will be the interconnection of network elements with various routers and gateways, as well as smart meter gateways for key metering points.
The 400 MHz band has been used in public and private networks for many years, mainly in Europe. For example, Germany uses CDMA, while Northern Europe, Brazil and Indonesia use LTE. The German authorities recently provided the energy sector with 450 MHz of spectrum. Legislation prescribes remote control of critical elements of the power grid. In Germany alone, millions of network elements are waiting to be connected, and the 450 MHz spectrum is ideal for this. Other countries will follow, deploying them faster.
Critical communications, as well as critical infrastructure, is a growing market that is increasingly subject to laws as countries work to reduce their environmental impact, secure energy supplies, and protect the safety of their citizens. Authorities must be able to manage critical infrastructure, emergency services must coordinate their activities, and energy companies must be able to control the grid.
In addition, the growth of smart city applications requires resilient networks to support a large number of critical applications. This is no longer just an emergency response. Critical communication networks are infrastructure that is regularly and continuously used. This requires the attributes of the LTE 450, such as low power consumption, full coverage, and LTE bandwidth to support audio and video streaming.
The capabilities of the LTE 450 are well known in Europe, where the energy industry has successfully provided privileged access to the 450 MHz band for LTE Low Power Communications (LPWA) using voice, the LTE standard and LTE-M in 3GPP Release 16 and the narrowband Internet of Things.
The 450 MHz band has been a sleeping giant for mission-critical communications in the 2G and 3G era. However, there is now renewed interest as the bands around 450 MHz support LTE CAT-M and NB-IoT, making them ideal for IoT applications. As these deployments continue, the LTE 450 network will serve more IoT applications and use cases. With a familiar and often existing infrastructure, it is the ideal network for today’s mission-critical communications. It also fits well with the future of 5G. That is why 450 MHz is attractive for network deployments and operational solutions today.
Post time: Sep-08-2022