5G networks are developed with the ambition to support a wide range of highly demanding services and application, by pushing the network capabilities to provide extreme performance, including the support of massively interconnected devices in the context of Machine Type Communication (MTC) .
MTC is a communication paradigm where a number of devices or ‘things’ are attached to the Internet or directly connected and communicate with each other with little or without human intervention. In the 5G era, new applications for MTCs are developed to serve a huge number of ‘things’, introducing the so-called massive MTC (mMTC), or massive Internet of Things (mIoT). This autonomously communicating machines will create more sophisticated mobile traffic, in three machine-to-machine (M2M) domains, as depicted in Figure 1 .
Figure 1: mMTC communication architecture
The challenge of massiveness has triggered the development of new wireless technologies for this communication paradigm, especially in the M2M device domain. The main target is the development of systems that can support a huge number of low-cost devices, distributed in a wide area, that will consume ultra-low power and will support various types of services.
In this context, the Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) have been developed to meet key requirements for low-cost devices, ubiquitous coverage, and long battery life. The solution enables cellular networks to support applications such as Smart Cities, Smart Metering, Smart Agriculture, Logistics and Transportation, etc. The LPWAN can be implemented over the unlicensed and licensed spectrum. The unlicensed LPWAN
technologies, such as SigFoX and LoRa (Long Range), are suitable for s. The use of licensed spectrum over the existing cellular infrastructure guarantees a much more reliable and ubiquitous realization of the MTC concept. There are two potential candidate technologies for licensed spectrum LPWAN: the enhanced machine type communication (eMTC) and the narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) . The eMTC aims to support the broadest range of IoT applications which require high data rate (up to 1 Mbps), full to limited mobility and voice/VoLTE facility, while NB-IoT serves IoT applications which are delay tolerant, require very low data rate (in the order of kbps), and consume ultra-low power.
Enabling mMTC is a multi-faceted endeavor requiring investments in technology, business innovation, and cross-industry collaboration to ensure that the requirements for each MTC use-case are defined in a realistic way for the mass-market. Standardization of mMTC plays a vital role in enabling mMTC over 5G networks and 3GPP is doing its part to enable the evolution of the cellular networks and devices in support of the ever-growing ambitions of MTC.