Dissecting Energy Consumption of NB-IoT Devices Empirically

by   Foivos Michelinakis, et al.

3GPP has recently introduced NB-IoT, a new mobile communication standard offering a robust and energy efficient connectivity option to the rapidly expanding market of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. To unleash its full potential, end-devices are expected to work in a plug and play fashion, with zero or minimal parameters configuration, still exhibiting excellent energy efficiency. Conversely, our empirical measurements with commercial IoT devices and different operators revealed that parameters setting does impact energy consumption, so proper configuration is necessary. We shed light on this aspect by first illustrating how the nominal standard operational modes map into real current consumption patterns of NB-IoT devices. Further, we investigate which device reported metadata metrics better reflect performance and implement an algorithm to automatically identify device state in current time series logs. Then, we provide a measurement-driven analysis of the energy consumption and network performance of two popular NB-IoT boards under different parameter configurations and with two major western European operators. We observed that energy consumption is mostly affected by the paging interval in Connected state, set by the base station. However, not all operators correctly implement such settings. Furthermore, under the default configuration, energy consumption in not strongly affected by packet size nor by signal quality, unless it is extremely bad. Our observations indicate that simple modifications to the default parameters settings can yield great energy savings.


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