Nordic is key contributor to new ETSI DECT-2020 New Radio (NR) standard that will allow enterprise IoT customers to build their own low cost private mesh networks

Oslo, Norway

The new standard is said to offer very high indoor and neighborhood area device coverage, density, and reliability, plus low latency. The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) recognizes its potential and has included this as part of the 5G standard in its IMT-2020 technology recommendation

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that it has been and will continue to be a key contributor in the development of a brand new 5G wireless standard that’s optimized for decentralized deployments. Currently called DECT-2020 NR, the standard targets the specific needs of enterprise IoT applications.

And Nordic has partnered with massive IoT solution software specialist Wirepas to help speed development of an nRF91 Series solution.

The DECT-2020 standard will allow enterprises to easily set up, manage, and own a private 5G wireless IoT network and connect millions of devices at very low cost of ownership. And by employing mesh technology the network is completely decentralized which not only makes it very easy to add devices, but also means there is no single point of failure. This means if a device goes down it will automatically be re-routed around by the mesh network.

DECT-2020 NR will be a perfect fit for many existing applications and will no doubt trigger the development of a great many new ones. Applications that may not have been possible before
Svein-Egil Nielsen, Nordic Semiconductor

As such, DECT-2020 NR will serve the needs of both massive IoT and critical IoT applications.

“Before now, building a private 5G network required a lot of investment in infrastructure and so tended to only be the domain of larger enterprises,” comments Kjetil Holstad, Nordic Semiconductor’s EVP for Product Management. “What DECT-2020 NR will effectively do is democratize the ability for any company or organization to build its own private 5G network and run and optimize as they wish, free of a network operator. And do this using the license-exempt and globally available 1.9GHz frequency spectrum dedicated for this technology.”

“While indoor wireless coverage is said to be very high for DECT-2020 NR, the outdoor range will be up to 2km which is why we internally classify DECT-2020 NR in a new category of being a Wireless Neighborhood Area Network or WNAN rather than a Wide Area Network [WAN] like cellular IoT.”

Application examples include buildings automation, smart utility meters, manufacturing process automation, smart cities, and logistics.

“I’ve long said that the reason there are multiple wireless standards is because there is no perfect standard for every application,” comments Svein-Egil Nielsen, Nordic’s CTO/EVP R&D and Strategy. “DECT-2020 NR will be a perfect fit for many existing applications and will no doubt trigger the development of a great many new ones. Applications that may not have been possible before.

“This is why Nordic decided to become the main contributor for the physical layer and a key contributor for the medium access layer of the specification. And Nordic continues to serve as the editor for the physical layer. The initial specification was published in July 2020, amended April 2021, with a new version [1.3.1] to be published later this year. And Nordic will work closely with Wirepas as well to speed the development of an nRF91 Series solution.” 

“This new 5G IoT standard has been the missing piece in the wide-scale adoption of IoT," summarizes Teppo Hemiä, CEO of Wirepas. “We know today only 5% of things that will be connected, are connected. To connect the remaining 95%, we need to let go of how things have been done in the past and dare to go a different route. We see this new standard as the start of a new era for connectivity. We share the same vision with Nordic Semiconductor to enable IoT connectivity for all in an affordable way. And we are very excited about this partnership in making it happen.”