The predicted large scale growth of IoT Devices and their associated IoT Device Applications will create major challenges for Mobile Network Operators. One major challenge that Mobile Network Operators must overcome is the risk caused by the mass deployment of inefficient, insecure or defective IoT Devices on the Mobile Network Operators’ networks. When deployed on a mass scale such devices can cause network signalling traffic to increase exponentially which impacts network services for all users of the mobile network. In the worst cases the mass deployment of such IoT Devices can disable a mobile network completely.
Mobile Network Operators have faced similar issues in the past, most recently with the massive growth of smartphones. In this case many smartphone application developers inadvertently created many inefficient applications. Over the past decade Mobile Network Operators, smartphone device makers and smartphone application developers have worked together to resolve these difficulties through a mix of increasing network capacity (e.g. 3.5G and 4G network deployment), 3GPP standardisation, improvements to smartphone operating systems and development of smartphone application developer guidelines. With the forecasted high growth in IoT Devices the industry is in a similar situation to the start of the smartphone boom, but with a different group of device makers and application developers. With the IoT however the potential number of devices is higher and, due to the different commercial models for IoT Devices, it is far more challenging for the Mobile Network Operator to influence the behaviour of IoT Device manufacturers and IoT Device Application developers.
An IoT Device overusing the network may lead to problems such as:
- Reducing the lifetime of the (U)SIM card by increasing dramatically the read/write cycles.
- Increased power consumption of the device due to continuous restarts which may also affect the device lifetime.
- Local issues within the Mobile Network Operator’s network such as cell congestion.
- Capacity and performance problems within the Mobile Network Operator’s core network, such as signalling storms, which result in wide area network disruption.
- Negatively impacting the IoT Service’s performance, potentially resulting in delayed communications, degradation of the service quality and even service outages.
IoT Devices overusing the mobile network can affect not only the devices causing the incident but also other devices on the same IoT Service Platform or those devices of other End Customers.
Network signalling resources are dimensioned assuming an overall device usage profile with a sensible balance between traffic and signalling needs. It is therefore important that IoT Devices using mobile networks adhere to some basic principles before they can be safely connected to mobile networks.
Good design is essential to ensure that IoT Device performance is optimized and to prevent failure mechanisms creating runaway situations which may result in network overload. In situations where many IoT Devices of the same type may be deployed on a single mobile network the cumulative effect may have a detrimental impact on overall network performance. Poor design of IoT Device Application to IoT Service Platform communications which disregard the mobile network and IoT Device status may result in inefficient use of network and device resources, affecting the IoT Service experience end-to-end. GSM Association Official Document
See annex A for example cases where problematic IoT Device behaviour has impacted network and device performance.
In IoT scenarios IoT Device firmware and software play a significant part in determining the overall performance and behaviour of the IoT Service on the mobile network. With no human intervention to fall back upon, the mechanisms that manage recovery from IoT Service failure need to be built into IoT Devices.
This document will serve as a key deliverable from the GSMA Connected Living programme for 2014/15. The objective of this document is to specify requirements for efficient use of mobile network connectivity.
With the exception of section 9, the requirements and solutions captured in this document for efficient use of 3GPP mobile networks are for use within the current (short-term) timeframe, i.e. for the current generation of IoT Devices which do not necessarily support comparable 3GPP network efficiency features or are connecting to networks that do not support the necessary 3GPP network efficiency features.
In the mid to long term IoT Devices may make use of available features from 3GPP or other standards organisations to address the issues highlighted in this document. In section 9 we list the 3GPP feature that may be deployed within mobile networks and IoT Devices in the mid to long term.
The target audiences for this document are Mobile Network Operators, IoT Service Providers, IoT Device makers, IoT Device Application developers, Communication Module Vendors and Radio Baseband Chipset Vendors.
Intended Use of the Document
Mobile Network Operators
The Mobile Network Operator shall promote the use of the requirements contained within this document. The Mobile Network Operator shall reference this document in the connectivity contracts they agree with their IoT Service Providers.
IoT Service Providers
The IoT Service Provider shall ensure that their IoT Services and their IoT Device makers conforms to the requirements stated within this document. The IoT Service Provider should reference this document in the supply contracts they place with their IoT Device makers.
IoT Device Maker
IoT Device makers are expected to implement the requirements contained within this document in the IoT Devices that they manufacture. The IoT Device maker will work with their IoT Application developer, Communication Module Vendor and Radio Baseband Chipset Vendor partners to implement the requirements contained within this document. The IoT Device maker should reference this document in the supply contracts they place with their IoT Application developer, Communication Module Vendor and Radio Baseband Chipset Vendor partners.
IoT Device Application Developer
The IoT Device Application developer shall ensure that their IoT Device Application conforms to the requirements stated within this document. GSM Association Official Document
Communication Module Vendor
The Communication Module Vendor shall ensure that their Communication Modules conform to the requirements stated within this document.
Radio Baseband Chipset Vendor
The Radio Baseband Chipset Vendor shall ensure that their Radio Baseband Chipsets conform to the requirements stated within this document.