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JT and Sony Test Low-Power Wide-Area Wireless Network on Jersey UPDATE

Friday, January 26th, 2018 (3:24 pm) - Score 1,538
jersey and guernsey map uk

Telecoms operator JT have used their Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) broadband network on the English Channel Island of Jersey to help underpin a test of Sony’s new Low-Power, Wide-Area Wireless Network (LPWAN) technology.

Networks that use LPWAN generally don’t offer fast data links (anything from a few Kbps to 1-2Mbps) and so aren’t designed to deliver home broadband connections. Likewise they won’t be taking over from 4G or WiFi. Instead such links are more targeted at connecting, over a very wide coverage area, small / low power Internet of Things (IoT) style devices (smart meters and sensors [temperature, air] etc.).

In fact last year JT announced that they planned to deploy a similar Long-Range (LoRa) Wide Area Network, which harnessed unlicensed spectrum in the sub-gigahertz territory (e.g. 868MHz or lower) in order connect IoT devices (here). However Sony’s test appears to be a separate deployment.

To demonstrate the potential of the radio technology, JT deployed just two receivers in the central and southern region of the Island. Extensive drive and walk tests were then undertaken by Sony Europe’s engineers to confirm the extent of the coverage offered and hence the potential low-cost of operating a network using this innovative technology.

Tom Noel, Managing Director of JT International, said:

“Jersey is the perfect location to run new networks and companies interested in IoT technology can use Jersey as a testbed for their own products and services. The LPWA technology is relatively new but its potential to interact with IoT technology is vast and will eventually change the way we live, work and do business.

Sony’s LPWA technology performed better than expected so JT is primed to provide its customers with the best access to IoT technologies and full connectivity.

Thanks to a collaboration with Digital Jersey, Jersey will also soon be home to a dedicated IoT Lab, based at one of JT’s exchanges, which will offer companies the opportunity to collaborate on innovative product development, share resources and turn ideas into commercial ventures. JT continues to invest internationally bringing technology and partnerships back to the Channel Islands to benefit the local smart economy.”

Steve Beck, GM of Telecoms R&D at Sony Europe Ltd, said:

“JT’s support during the trial was excellent and we really appreciated their support. While it wasn’t possible to drive every road in the time available, we covered a large number of routes and were pleased to confirm such wide coverage using just two receivers.”

By the sound of it Sony were only using Jersey as a location to test its technology and not as part of an on-going deployment. “Sony saw the benefit of testing its LPWA technology in Jersey because of the Island’s super-fast fibre network, its varied terrain and the population’s digital connectivity,” said a spokesperson for JT.

UPDATE 31st Jan 2018

We’ve had a few extra details. Apparently in a past experiment the network achieved a communication over 100km of distance when a “line-of-sight” condition was satisfied. On top of that they have also successfully detected a signal from the Tx located on a fast moving train (more than 100km/h speed).

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