Steve Clarke will be presenting the following paper at Embedded World. steve-clarkeThe paper will be available on this website for download after the show.

To meet with the AMIHO team at Embedded World please contact us.

IoT Needs Good Neighbours – Cognitive Radio Turns Enemies into Friends

Embedded World, 23 – 25 February 2016, Nuremberg

Day: 25.02.2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:30
Session/Workshop Session 25/II


The Internet of Things envisages a number of sensors, meters and other devices being connected to a central cloud platform. Most of these devices will be connected wirelessly. One of the key technical challenges in this is connectivity – what is the right technology among the many offered to enable this IoT revolution? Most of these devices will be connected wirelessly, and with forecasts of up to 50bn by 2020, the radio world is set to become very busy.

Reaching every device in a network is difficult. One example of the IoT is the Smart Meter rollout, happening across Europe. Utilities are familiar with the problem of the so-called ‘Dark Meters’. Dark meters are those in hard to reach places that are not easily connectable to the network. In the UK, for example, using ZigBee at 2.4 GHz, there are an estimated 30% dark meters, a major problem for the utilities to overcome. In Europe, using the Wireless Meter-Bus standard at 868 MHz, the estimate is a more manageable 5%. In Italy, using high power Wireless M-Bus at 169 MHz. They are experiencing between 5-10% of smart meters as unreachable.

For a business looking to install a base of thousands of sensors, maybe in remote locations such as farms, or spread over many buildings, the issues are going to be similar and potentially worse. The temptation is to create a network where each device has long-range communications. But it is not enough just to turn the power up – one device’s data is another device’s noise. If everything shouts louder, all we do is make the noise floor higher and waste more power.

Our IoT devices must behave as good neighbours in order allow everyone to use the shared wireless space. Cognitive Radio puts intelligence into wireless communications, sensing ambient conditions and adapting to the environment. Ideally, devices transmit at the lowest power necessary, for the shortest period of time, using the quietest channels. Even better is the network that tries to avoid talking over the top of others – listen before send – CSMA – and allocated time slots – reduces collisions improving channel access.

Further benefits arise from the use of Cognitive Radio – by letting individual devices choose the most suitable communications method, you remove the need for installers to survey and program individual devices at each installation. By continually monitoring and adapting, the radio network avoids noise and interference. It also gives you the longest possible battery life.

In this presentation, we discuss some solutions to maximise the reach of IoT devices and minimise the ‘dark’ side. By using Cognitive Radio, coupled with long range technologies such as LoRa, we show how it is possible to extend the radio range from meters to several kilometres, without the selfish behaviour of more typical networks.

Biography: Steve Clarke – Founder and Technical Director, AMIHO Technology

As Technical Director at AMIHO Steve provides broad and deep expertise in wireless communications and leadership for the technical team. Formerly a senior BBC engineer and Lecturer at Salford University, his background is in Microelectronics and he has twenty-five years’ experience in software and electronics, from RF telemetry at ACIS and the award-winning Tag McLaren AV processors, to EPOS & smart energy meters.