Despite huge advancements in networking technology, it’s still commonplace for the average consumer living in a large home to complain about their Wi-Fi signal. Whether it’s devices refusing to connect to the network, or the cliff-edge drop in internet speeds, networking range is still a major factor when building a smart home. Thankfully, it may not be a factor for much longer, as Sony has developed a brand-new IoT chipset that promises a range of 60 miles.
A 60-mile range for an IoT chipset is crazy considering not even the largest estates in the country occupy that much land. In fact, the crazy range of Sony’s CXM1501GR chipset could theoretically mean that someone in central London would be able to connect to an IoT-enabled device in Cambridge, and still have range to spare. Thankfully, this chipset has plans much grander than simply controlling a homeowner’s heating or lighting.
Don’t jump on the hype train just yet
Despite a reported 60-mile range, don’t jump onto the hype train straight away, as there’s quite a few technicalities to cover first. While it’s true that users won’t have to be connected to a Wi-Fi network or have a phone signal in order to communicate with IoT devices equipped with Sony’s chipset, they will have to be within range of a dedicated low-power wide area (LPWA) ELTRES network mast, which Sony plans to roll-out by the end of the year. These masts enable the transfer of low-bit data across a wide area, without sucking up huge amounts of power – ideal for IoT applications.
The CXM1501GR’s huge range comes from the fact that it transmits in the 920MHz band, which is similar to what is offered by a standard 2G mobile signal. While Sony says that its IoT-enabled chipset is capable of 60 miles of range, in the real-world, that’s likely to be much less. That’s because it’ll have to deal with physical barriers, such as walls and trees, as the signal makes its journey. Despite this, there are some major benefits with using this low frequency band.
How can Sony’s new chipset be used?
Sony believes that by taking IoT devices off traditional networks, it will enable them to run more efficiently. This is especially true in an urban environment, where Sony’s new chipset won’t be required to compete with other devices for bandwidth. This is a problem that is supposed to be solved by 5G, but it’s clear that Sony wants to give IoT devices their very own network.
For city dwellers, Sony’s new chipset should allow for a myriad of use cases, such as – tracking home deliveries, monitoring street lamps, keeping tabs on children, and even helping run a city’s bicycle rental program. It’s in rural locations where the Sony CXM1501GR chipset reallt shines, however.
Not only can Sony’s chipset transmit data over large distances with very little power, but they also come equipped with GPS/GNSS sensors to obtain time and position data. This means that these IoT chips will be invaluable in assisting with search and rescue operations, while it can also be used to keep track of drones, rental vehicles, buses, and trains. In fact, Sony believes that the possibilities are truly endless for its IoT chipset.
While Sony may believe in its chipset, the company is not yet ready to commit to an international roll-out. The network is set to initially roll-out in the company’s native of Japan later this year, but if the technology proves to be viable, then we could be seeing it roll-out globally in just a few years time.