TS-UNB Builds More Cost-Effective IoT Networks; Here’s How

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TS-UNB Builds More Cost-Effective IoT Networks; Here’s How

Want to limit costs on massive IoT connectivity? The unlicensed radio spectrum is for you. Unfortunately, it’s not just for you. More than 15 billion IoT devices clogged the airwaves in 2024. That number will probably double by 2030. 

Many of these devices will compete for the same unlicensed bandwidth. 

When multiple devices try to use the same bandwidth, you end up with interference—and interference can erase the savings of unlicensed spectra. 

There are many communication protocols for your license-free LPWAN: LoRaWAN, Sigfox, NB-IoT-Unlicensed, etc. But only one is built specifically to cut through the interference. 

It’s called TS-UNB, and it might be the key to realizing powerful cost savings across the lifespan of your massive IoT network. Here’s a quick guide to the potential costs of operating a massive IoT deployment on unlicensed spectra—and how TS-UNB protocols can protect you from these expenses.

The Costs of Congested IoT Bands

Mobile network operators (MNOs) own their segments of the licensed spectrum, and they charge you for access. That’s why they’ll always have higher ongoing costs than a network that runs on the unlicensed spectrum. 

For the connectivity fees you pay your MNO, however, you get at least one strong benefit: Operators control the flow of traffic, so you can be reasonably certain data packets will travel safely to their destinations. 

That’s not the case for the unlicensed spectrum. As the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ATIF) says

“The ‘price’ of free access to unlicensed spectrum is that users sacrifice guaranteed protection from interference.” 

Bandwidth congestion can increase IoT network costs in lots of ways. For example: 

  • Interference can increase packet error rates, leading the system to resend the packet again and again. This drains batteries—and replacing batteries in a massive IoT deployment is often prohibitively expensive. 
  • The information-loss that comes from congestion can reduce the quality of your deployment’s service. In short, interference makes your network unreliable. Your customers may get frustrated and flock to the exits.  
  • Congestion leads to longer on-air times, which gives attackers more opportunities to attack or intercept your data packets. Poor security can lead to breaches or shut-downs, with all the costs that come with them. 

The TS-UNB protocol was designed to prevent these outcomes, even in huge IoT deployments—hundreds of thousands of devices or more—that operate on the unlicensed spectrum.   

As ATIF reports: 

“Getting reliable access to unlicensed spectrum essentially means taking advantage of licensed spectrum’s benefits with none of the costs.” 

The TS-UNB protocol gets you as close to this ideal as possible. But how? 

Understanding the TS-UNB LPWAN Protocol

Let’s start by unpacking our term: TS-UNB stands for Telegram Splitting Ultra-Narrow Band. 

An Ultra-Narrow Band (UNB) radio communications system restricts its communications channel to a very small slice of bandwidth. That allows it to sidestep noise while delivering and receiving relatively weak signals successfully. 

The real magic of TS-UNB, however, lies in its telegram splitting technology. Specifically, TS-UNB uses a telecommunications technique called Telegram Splitting Multiple Access (TSMA). Here’s how it works: 

  • The TSMA system divides a data packet into multiple smaller sub-packets. 
  • Sub-packets contain varying combinations of redundant data. 
  • The system sends those subpackets on different frequencies at different times. 
  • Some radio bursts may be knocked out by interference; but the receiver only needs half of the sub-packets to reconstruct the full data packet. 

This approach guards against interference. It also uses less energy than full packet delivery, because the radio bursts are much quicker. Ultimately, the TSMA method combined with UNB selectivity provides robust communication and better channel access at the massive IoT scale. 

Additionally, TS-UNB runs on a single chip. It allows for low-cost devices with long battery lives. You don’t need lots of gateways everywhere. So infrastructure costs come down considerably compared to other unlicensed LPWAN technologies. 

All these benefits create a particularly cost-effective LPWAN for municipal, commercial, and industrial IoT.

Top Use Cases for Networks Built on TS-UNB

The TS-UNB protocol is ideal for massive IoT deployments that operate across wide geographic areas and need capacity to continue scaling up. 

For example, a network that uses TS-UNB can save costs for IoT systems like: 

  1. Combined smart city networks. Smart metering, smart transportation, smart parking, smart waste management: Cities benefit when they run these systems on their own networks, because they can both guarantee access and avoid paying MNOs. At the same time, these networks must leave room for these massive systems to scale—and TS-UNB is great for such future-proofing. 
  1. Large industrial facilities. Today’s car manufacturing plant is virtually the size of a small city itself. With the rise of Industry 4.0, large manufacturers need multiple IoT systems running in tandem—automation, asset tracking, environmental monitoring, and more. The TSMA built into TS-UNB allows all these systems to operate without getting in each other’s way. 
  1. Agricultural IoT. Farms take up a lot of space. TS-UNB supports wide ranges to cover all that space—and its very low power consumption allows you to place devices in the field (or on an animal) and receive data without changing batteries. 

These examples are far from comprehensive. As we’ve illustrated, TS-UNB can save costs on any massive IoT deployment—especially those that tend to continue growing in scale. By guarding against congestion in the unlicensed spectrum, TS-UNB prepares your IoT system for a future with even more network traffic.

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The most robust, efficient and scalable IoT connectivity solution available.
The most robust, efficient and scalable IoT connectivity solution available.