Feature Article

September 14, 2015

Sequans Emphasizes the Momentum Behind CAT-1, CAT-0 LTE

Sequans Communications has been working with T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless on LTE Category 1 technology; its CAT-1 LTE technology is inside the world’s first CAT-1 module, the Gemalto ELS31, and an Encore router—and last week at CTIA Super Mobility it was demonstrating CAT-0 functionality along with its partner Ericsson.

CAT-1 is a 3GPP-defined LTE specification that has a maximum downlink speed of 10Mbps, upload rate of 5Mbps, and is more cost- and power-efficient for IoT applications that don’t need the higher bandwidth rates delivered by the version of LTE (known as Cat-4) used by today’s smartphones. CAT-0, which is addressed in the 3GPP’s Release 12 standard, will allow for even lower bandwidth (with a maximum throughput of 1Mbps) and more power-efficient LTE connectivity in the future.

Craig Miller, vice president of worldwide marketing—U.S. country manager at Sequans, said CAT-1 was defined years ago, but nobody implemented it for a long time. However, Sequans always believed there would be an opportunity for simpler, slower, and less expensive solutions like this, he said, and now the rest of the market is waking up to that.

Indeed, as carriers like AT&T sunset their older 2G cellular networks and emphasize their commitment to LTE, CAT-0 and CAT-1 could offer a way to affordably address less bandwidth-intensive IoT applications without requiring them to maintain multiple overlay networks.

While Sequans hasn’t discussed AT&T in its CAT-1 commentary, it has noted its work with both T-Mobile and Verizon on this front. Sequans provided T-Mobile with LTE CAT-1 technology for a recent trial and for the carrier’s demonstration of the technology at CTIA last week. And Verizon Wireless has certified the CAT-1 Calliope solution from Sequans.

“It is now accepted that 4G LTE will be used for almost everything that requires a cellular wireless connection even where it was previously considered too expensive to deploy. CAT-1 LTE transport is the perfect solution for M2M markets that don’t require hundreds of megabits per second throughput but benefit from 4G’s low latency, spectral efficiency, and longevity,” said Krishna Ragireddy, vice president of engineering for Encore Networks, which last week revealed that its newest router uses the Sequans VZ120Q module, which includes the Calliope CAT-1 LTE chipset.

“We’re beating Qualcomm and Intel to the punch,” said Miller, referring to the fact that Sequans chipsets are being used in the Encore and Gemalto solutions. “That’s a major win for us.”

And Sequans at CTIA used a software-modified version of its Calliope CAT-1 LTE platform to demonstrate Release 12 CAT-0 features including half-duplex operation and reduced peak throughput. The company said its demo work on CAT-0 sets the stage for Sequans and cellular service providers to trial that technology.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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