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It’s time to look again at LTE 450

Dominikus Hierl
Senior Vice President Sales, EMEA, Quectel Wireless Solutions

The 450MHz band has been a long-term option for applications that demand large area coverage. As a low frequency originally designated to 2G networks, it has had a long heritage of performing worthy tasks, such as providing the connectivity for emergency calling networks and connecting the earlier generations of smart meters. However, as 2G sunset continues across the globe, the 450MHz band is entering a second life as a network for IoT and critical applications.

The reason for this is that, with 2G leaving, the physics of the 450MHz band are perfect for the wide area coverage that IoT demands. In addition, the band can support CAT-M and narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) technology, making it a no brainer in many markets, particularly those in which spectrum availability is constrained.

The long history of the 450MHz band has also helped because a substantial ecosystem has developed to support its utilization. This includes organizations such as the 450MHz Alliance and 450 Connect in Germany, which have helped foster the device ecosystem which now encompasses mobiles, laptops and IoT endpoints that have been built to utilize the frequency. This list is growing longer as the opportunities of CAT-M and NB-IoT become more apparent.

Although still in transition from 2G to LTE, 450MHz is deployed globally and with long range, strong signal penetration capabilities, support for audio and video streaming and a lower cost of deployment thanks to utilizing existing infrastructure, it is soon to connect millions more devices. The technology is ideal for critical infrastructure because of these attributes, and it is anticipated that the main uses of LTE 450 will be to connect routers and gateways to enable projects such as smart meter and smart city deployments.

LTE 450 MHz
The 450MHz band is entering a second life as a network for IoT and critical applications

The appeal of the technology is global and recent research, from SNS Telecom & IT, has uncovered that 17.3% of public safety LTE and 5G engagement were in the sub-500MHz in the second quarter of 2020. This base is significant because it helps justify development of further devices that will utilize LTE 450 and demonstrates a direction of travel for the band’s future.

LTE 450 is not the ideal network technology for every IoT application but for those that need its specific performance characteristics, it is an attractive proposition because it is already here, devices exist, and it has the signal strength to connect hard to reach places that critical communications rely on.

To learn more about LTE 450 and how it can power your IoT applications, keep an eye out for the upcoming Quectel whitepaper: Why LTE 450 is the enabler of critical, long-range communications.

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