Solution significantly reduces the number of messages sent to a device, as only an incremental update is sent over the air through the low-speed channel
LPWA specialist Everynet has introduced what it claims is the industry’s first firmware over the air (FOTA) update capabilities for LPWA networks.
The company said its patent-pending FOTA algorithms and continuous delivery toolchain help device manufacturers, LPWA network operators and end users overcome the challenges with LPWA’s low data rate networks by simplifying firmware updates for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Everynet points out that LPWA networks were not designed to transfer large amounts of data, and this creates a problem for updating firmware within IoT devices in the field.
Fixing bugs or installing new features to millions of IoT devices is time-consuming, bandwidth constrained and expensive for companies. Manual, device-by-device updates in the field are not always possible as access to IoT devices can be limited. Updates can place a drain on the device itself, as it needs to be “awake” for the length of the update, consuming valuable battery and potentially shortening the life of the device.
“The set of challenges surrounding firmware updates is one of the biggest obstacles holding back the growth of LPWA networks today,” said Lawrence Latham, managing director of Everynet.
“Everynet’s bespoke FOTA algorithms remove this obstacle, providing a simple and effective way for device manufacturers, chip manufacturers and operators to push firmware updates to IoT devices.”
“The FOTA advancements will have a profound impact on the deployment and adoption of LPWA devices,” added Latham. “You can go back and see what happened when FOTA was released for the 2G and 3G cellular networks. There was a huge gain in adoption numbers. The same can be expected for LPWA.”
The company has developed a new patent-pending class of compile-time optimisation: “output difference minimisation”. This optimisation forces the compiler to produce a “minimum difference” between the old version of the device’s firmware and the new.
Combined with a patent-pending compression algorithm, this significantly reduces the number of messages sent to a device, as only an incremental update is sent over the air through the low-speed channel, not the entire firmware set.
According to Everynet this is a key advantage of its FOTA solution, and it reduces the time and bandwidth required to conduct firmware upgrades from hours to minutes or even seconds, depending on the number of messages to be sent.
For example, to send a 35Kb update over a LoRaWAN network without Everynet would require 150 messages to be sent, taking 90 minutes. Using Everynet’s FOTA capabilities, the firmware update for the same device would require 31 messages and only 20 minutes.
The FOTA solution is available today through LoRaWAN semiconductor manufacturers and will be available soon for all LPWA networks.
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