Unifying Multi-Radio Communication Technologies to Enable mMTC Applications in B5G Networks
Even though the wireless communication technologies have evolved significantly in the last decade, the performance requirements of versatile massive Machine-Type Communication (mMTC) use-cases grow at even faster pace. For this reason, the challenge of providing energy-efficient, reliable, secure, and variable devices with ubiquitous connectivity cannot be addressed by any single Radio Access Technology (RAT) available today. Therefore, the concept of multi-RAT devices in the context of next-generation communication technologies (5G and beyond 5G (B5G)) comes into play. In this paper, we investigate the utility of multi-RAT IoT connectivity in practice with respect to a Smart City scenario, in which the location of public transport vehicles e.g., trams and buses is tracked and reported by a device equipped with two Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technologies i.e., Narrowband IoT (3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)) and LoRaWAN (non-3GPP). Both technologies got matured and have shown their momentum in the recent years, and are expected to play the key role also in the future. We first detail the constructed multi-RAT prototype and then report the initial results of its evaluation in a pilot deployment in the city of Brno, Czech Republic. The obtained results illustratively confirm the feasibility of joint usage of two diverse LPWAN RATs while their combination brings higher flexibility, reliability, and improve the overall Quality of Service (QoS) to wireless connectivity.