What is Weightless SIG and Why it Matters

Date : 4-29-2019

The Importance of Weightless SIG

There are many players competing for the title of best low power wide-area network (LPWAN). Weightless Special Interest Group (SIG) believes they have created the best technology to provide wireless connectivity for LPWAN networks specifically in IoT use cases. In this article, we want to delve a little deeper into Weightless in order to understand how it works and why it is important.

Weightless was created to provide an open standard that operates in the sub-1GHz unlicensed spectrum. There are three versions of this technology that meet separate requirements. Weightless-W is used to leverage whitespace or the unused local spectrum in licensed TV band. Weightless-N operates in unlicensed spectrum narrowband protocol, while Weightless-P is a bidirectional protocol. The latter two versions of the technology tend to be more popular as they have longer battery lives.

Weightless-N was developed from NWave’s technology. It functions similarly to SigFox, another LPWAN technology, but has a better MAC-layer implementation. The protocol uses advanced demodulation techniques which enables its network to exist alongside other radio technologies without any additional noise. Its main use cases are for sensor-based networks, tank level monitoring, temperature readings, smart metering as well as several other applications.

Weightless-P differs from Weightless-N in that it uses a larger FDMA+TDMA modulation in 12.5 kHz narrowband. It has an adaptive data rate of 200 bps to 100 kbp. Weightless-P has a high sensitivity of -134 dBm at 625 bps and supports both PSK and GMSK modulation. It’s most commonly used for private networks, use cases that require more sophistication and cases in which controlling uplink and downlink data is important.

The advantage of Weightless is that it is the only open standard solution operating in unlicensed spectrum. This allows each company to set up its own Weightless network or to contact an operator who can provide access to the network. It offers technological advantages like its low energy consumption and its capacity to manage bi-directional communications and over-the-air (OTA) updates for devices. The protocol also has a synchronized network functionality enabling uplink transmissions to be scheduled, which leads to unmatched scalability for IoT solutions.

It is important to understand all of the options available for LPWAN technologies so the most informed decision can be made when selecting one for your IoT solution. At SURE Universal, we are also working to provide our customers with the best possible IoT solution.

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