What is Wirepas 5G Mesh?

Wirepas Connectivity Suite software contains all the essential building blocks from the mesh firmware to the backend services in order to develop and deploy your IoT project. You can focus on your application, your data and your devices without the need to invest time and resources in complex system integrations or deep connectivity learning.

Wirepas 5G Mesh introduces a new radio profile to the already proven and diverse range of connectivity radio profiles within the Wirepas Connectivity Suite. Wirepas 5G Mesh is the world’s first non-cellular 5G connectivity network. If you are familiar with the Wirepas Mesh 2.4 GHz or Wirepas Mesh Sub-GHz, transition to the Wirepas 5G Mesh will be straighforward.

image-20240313-110642.png

 

Wirepas 5G Mesh brings a range of new opportunities

Wirepas 5G Mesh pushes the boundaries of the already market proven Wirepas Mesh 2.4 GHz and Sub-GHz profiles. 5G Mesh brings massive, scalable and ultra reliable IoT deployments at the lowest total cost of ownership.

Ultra reliability at scale

  • Dedicated spectrum: Wirepas 5G Mesh uses NR+ dedicated license-exempt global frequency band at around 1900 MHz. This dedicated spectrum ensure reliable and predictable performance for IoT application during entire lifetime.
  • World-class radio: Wirepas 5G Mesh uses advanced radio technologies inherited from Cellular to boost link performance and reliability, such as Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) radio, state-of-the-art modulation and coding schemes and Hybrid ARQ for automatic repeat requests.
  • Massive scale decentralized operation: Just like the already proven Wirepas Mesh 2.4 GHz & Sub-GHz, products based on NR+ can be deployed anywhere by anyone in no time thanks to its decentralized device-based decisions. The network runs autonomously with minimal maintenance effort and with no need for separate network infrastructure deployment.

The lowest Total Cost of Ownership

  • Minimal infrastructure: Close to zero infrastructure minimizes the upfront investment. The long-range and high-coverage network with resilience to environmental changes minimizes cost of complex and expensive clean-up phases during network deployment.
  • No Subscriptions: The network does not requires any recurring operator fees. No need for SIM cards, subscriptions, licensed spectrum, and private operators.
  • Minimal interdependencies: Your network fully under your control. The devices are the network, no complex chain of ownership of Service Level Agreement minimizing the risk of potential black spots which are unpredictable and hard to fix post deployment.
  • Minimal planning: Thanks to its fully decentralized operation, Wirepas 5G Mesh requires close to no network planning before installation. No need to perform complex and expensive survey and complex planning for gateway installation as the infrastructure is fully mutualized.

 

image-20240405-111143.png

More than a new Wirepas Profile, it is a Standard

Wirepas 5G Mesh is more than just a new profile in the Wirepas Connectivity Suite. It is the first non-cellular 5G technology in the world, as it is based on NR+, the new global IoT standard. The standard is officially called DECT-2020 New Radio (NR), owned by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and defined in the ETSI TS 103 636 series of standards. In October 2021, the International Telecommunication Union’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) recognized it as part of the 5G family of standards within the IMT-2020 technology recommendation.

image-20240320-124620.png

5G demystified

You are surely familiar with the cellular network generations referred to with acronyms 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. These generations of cellular technology have been defined by the telecommunications industry and approved by ITU-R. Cellular technologies have been able to meet set requirements for the mobile phone driven use in generations 2G-4G.

According to ITU-R definitions, 5G technology has three different dimensions: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliably low latency communication (URLLC) and massive machine-type communication (mMTC). While cellular 5G is great for multimedia applications (eMBB) and pretty good for low-latency applications (URLLC), there’s no well-performing and affordable cellular option for massive industrial IoT applications (mMTC).

Wirepas 5G Mesh is designed to fulfill the 5G requirements for massive machine-type communications (mMTC). For example Wirepas Mesh 2.4 GHz is also focusing on low cost and high scale/density, but does not implement 5G standard.

 

Triangle_copy.png

 

Cellular 5G standard

The Internet of Things (IoT) has opened up new and exciting opportunities. To cater to this domain, the ITU-R has defined specific requirements that must be addressed by the 5G family of standards. However, cellular-based IoT solutions face several challenges:

  • Infrastructure Demands:
    • Implementing cellular 5G necessitates substantial infrastructure, including base station tower sites, antennas, and core network equipment. These physical components are essential for ensuring seamless connectivity.
  • Subscription and SIM cards:
    • Operating cellular services requires subscription plans and SIM cards. While these are common for mobile phones, they add complexity to IoT deployments.
  • Consumer-Centric Design:
    • Cellular generations, including 5G, were primarily designed for mobile phones and consumer mass market use cases. This design focus doesn’t always align with the unique requirements of industrial IoT applications.
  • Density of IoT Nodes:
    • The ITU-R 5G requirement stipulates supporting 1 million IoT nodes within a 1 km² area.
    • Traditional cellular technologies struggle to meet this demand effectively.

 

 

image-20240326-101851.png

 

Non-cellular 5G standard - DECT-2020 NR

The non-cellular 5G IoT standard operates on a wireless mesh network paradigm. In this architecture, the network dynamically extends itself with each added IoT node. Imagine each node functioning as a mini base station, autonomously making decisions: either joining the mesh network or participating in routing other nodes’ traffic. This decentralized approach eliminates the need for network planning and external party to manage the network. The cost-effectiveness of this approach is remarkable.

With non-cellular 5G

  • You retain full control over mission-critical communications infrastructure
  • You decide who accesses your data
  • Your network does not need for SIM cards, no subscriptions, no private operators.

 

We predict that 5G IoT will be disrupted and ultimately defined by the new non-cellular 5G part rather than incremental improvements on the cellular side. The non-cellular 5G is a new, disruptive, powerful wireless mesh based networking solution that enables totally new use cases to emerge and connect far beyond cellular technology capability. The 5G label means it is part of the global 5G family and proven by industry community to meet agreed set of requirements for massive industrial IoT networks.

 

image-20240326-100402.png

 

image-20240326-100446.png

Where to use it?

The first release of Wirepas 5G Mesh is targeting at mains-powered applications, with a focus on a low-latency mesh networks within industrial IoT networks. It caters to various industrial sectors, ranging from smart electricity metering and smart buildings to smart cities, but its application is not limited to these industries.

  • Future proof smart meters without subscription fees.
  • Streetlights providing a city-wide mesh network for other applications, such as parking management and sewer monitoring.
  • An emergency lighting solution that is easy to install and maintain.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to control the temperature, humidity, and purity of the air in smart buildings.
  • And the list goes on. Think of any mains-powered application that requires massive scale, 5G quality and reach.

 

image-20240322-141736.png

 

Future industry needs

Wirepas 5G Mesh is a forward-looking response to evolving needs in industrial digitalization. It empowers industrial companies, solution providers and other players to independently develop unique solutions and services. This is just the beginning of our NR+ technology journey with Wirepas 5G Mesh.

The future development of Wirepas 5G Mesh will broaden the opportunities even further with more mains-powered and battery-powered applications, for example:

  • Autonomous and de-centralized 5G connectivity solutions for smart buildings. 
  • Cost-efficient smart city solutions with outstanding coverage and performance.
  • Intelligent end-to-end supply chain visibility.
  • Flexible intralogistics solutions.
  • Visibility and efficiency in manufacturing and other industries like airports, chemparks, harbors, oilrigs.
  • And the list will go on.

 

Benefits of the technology

Wirepas 5G Mesh is designed to be fully future-proof and to respond to the increasing market requirements by enabling more range, higher reliability, higher density and higher throughput with affordable cost. It comes with the following technical benefits.

  • Standard non-cellular 5G solution for affordable industrial IoT
  • Long range and high coverage
  • Ultra reliability and availability
  • Unlimited scalability
  • Device centric autonomous operation

Let’s take a look at the main benefits of the technology a bit deeper.

 

Standard 5G non-cellular technology for affordable industrial IoT

Wirepas 5G Mesh’s alignment with the global 5G family of standards is a significant advantage for industry adoption.

 

Long range and High Coverage

Wirepas 5G Mesh is a long range network where every device is a “base station” that extends the coverage of the network, even into the challenging locations like cellars and industrial environments with metal structures. Each device-to-device radio link operates with high maximum transmission power of +19 dBm (80 milliwatts) and modern radio modem technology combining OFDM modulation and channel coding, as well as Hybrid ARQ retransmission mechanism in order to ensure maximum possible range and reliability with dynamic data rates.

 

Ultra Reliability and High Availability

Wirepas 5G Mesh network has been field-proven to fulfill the 99,9 % communications reliability (service level), which for example is a regulatory requirement for the smart electricity meters in India.

It is an ultra-reliable self-healing network without single point of failure at any part of the system. The mesh network protocol adapts quickly to the local conditions by finding a new optimal routing when the existing communication route is lost.

Operation with an advanced radio modem in a dedicated license-exempt NR+ radio band provides high robustness for multipath fading and interference. However, in case of high interference in the radio link, the device is able to switch automatically to another higher performing radio channel.

Wirepas 5G Mesh comes with inbuilt security, which ensures the integrity of the data being transmitted. Customer retains ownership for their data.

 

Unlimited scalability

Wirepas 5G Mesh network is designed for massive scale industrial networks where large number of devices are connected in a same ultra dense network. Actually it comes with unlimited scale, because the network address space supports up to 4 billion devices in a single network. The capability to connect even thousands of radio devices per gateway minimizes the amount of devices with backhaul communication infrastructure.

Low latency radio communications with up to 1 Mbps radio data rate (even higher in the future) makes it future proof even for applications with more frequent communication and larger amounts of information.

 

Device centric autonomous operation

Wirepas 5G Mesh is built for largely autonomous and self-healing operation with automated auto-configuration. This eliminates the need for manual configurations and makes the installation easy and quick. Devices dynamically associate with each other, adapting their roles as routing or non-routing devices. They can create dense neighborhood area networks spanning kilometers.

Efficient Over The Air Programming (OTAP) for remote firmware and application software upgrades eliminate the need for in-field maintenance.

The advanced radio technology minimize the radio planning efforts. It boasts interference management capabilities and high energy efficiency. Transmission power for each radio link adjusts based on local conditions. The decentralized mesh, with short hops and low transmission power, significantly reduces the communications system’s carbon footprint. In fact, published research indicates approximately 60% better energy efficiency at the system level compared to traditional cellular topology, while maintaining robust communication.

image-20240322-084042.png

 

Where to Start?

Wirepas 5G Mesh is built together with Nordic Semiconductor on the nRF91 family of System in Package (SiP) products: Nordic Semiconductor nRF9131, nRF9151 and nRF9161. All these platforms have corresponding development kits or evaluation kits available to get you started on trying out Wirepas 5G Mesh. nRF9131 is more geared towards the high volume, lowest cost product requiring RF tuning in the production. Hence, nRF9161 or nRF9151 is the simplest path to production, as there is all in one integrated module solution. Nordic Semiconductor suppliers and documentation are the best source of information to understand these options and supply in more detail.

For further details, get familiar with

  • If you want to have a better understanding of the underlying concepts of the Wirepas 5G Mesh, please visit our How it works page.
  • If you prefer to build your first Wirepas 5G Mesh network, you may want to dive into our Tutorial that will take you along that journey.

 

 

image-20240320-163157.png

References

[1] ETSI TS 103 636 series of DECT-2020 New Radio (NR) standards 

[2] IMT-2020 (a.k.a. “5G”) by ITU-R IMT-2020 (a.k.a. “5G”)

[3] Wirepas Develper Portal Support : Wirepas Developer Portal

 

Revision History

Date

Version

Notes

06 May 2024

1.0.0

Initial version.

Legal Notice

Use of this document is strictly subject to Wirepas’ Terms of Use and Legal Notice.

Copyright © 2024 Wirepas Oy