Are you referring to the Antenna Performance? This is extremely important to the Carriers. The requirements, since the first OTA test plan was installed, have increased over the years. With regards to certification, it is a PTCRB requirements for GSM 850/1900 and UMTS 850/1900 bands to be tested. Desense measurements are also required if cellular and WLAN are operating simultaneously. This is called our in the new CTIA CWG Test Plan (Converged Devices).
Many customers overlook the importance of antenna type and placement (configuration) and therefore have issues when they enter a lab for Antenna testing. Best to consult with an antenna manufacturer or any consultants or design centers that assist with this.
OTA in M2M is important as once you have deployed an application and modem you may want to be able to update it in the field without the need to visit the device.
It will be especially important for large scale deployments as it would not be possible to go out and do field upgrades.
Today there are many OTA or FOTA methods and standards including lots of proprietary ones.
Common ones are OMA-DM and various ones developed by Microsoft and HP.
The important thing is that most systems just do a delta binary download i.e. just the different binary parts not a full download to keep network traffic and cost to a minimum.
I concur. Many deployments of M2M start off with a great plan and good design, but there are many factors that can cause your model to change over time. The ability to modify your firmware OTA is very valuable. Staying current or just correcting an unforeseen scenario can be worth the time and effort in development of the solution.
While I definitely believe that proprietary device management protocols is not going to get the level of scale most companies want / need, I'm not sure that OMA-DM is that preferred a method. OMA-DM was originally designed for handsets and the use cases in M2M are simply different. Additionally, the vast majority of M2M modules don't support OMA-DM out of the box. Ideally, there would be something developed specifically for M2M that would transcend the module.
I certainly believe OTA is a must for large scale M2M applications. As discussed in this post there are many standards OMA-DM, SCOMO, FUMO, there are also solutions from HP and Microsoft which can be used across many platforms. They all achieve the same results the biggest item is bandwidth and efficiency in which they do it.
In the past before some of these standards i saw implementatiosn which would wonlaod 100% of the firmware package rather than a delta!
It is a difficult one and today i would say you will need to discuss directly with your modem supplier.
As the market leader in remote device management Red Bend installed its client in more than 750 million devices (Handsets, M2M devices, PC cards and WiMAX devices) where FOTA ( Firmware Over The Air) is the main use-case.
Mobile device manufactures are using device remote management to update the handset firmware and application (e.g. moving from Android 2.1 to 2.2), fix defects ( e.g. GPS fix time) and add functionality ( e.g. adding digital zoom) .
In M2M the need for FOTA is even more critical since its remote, unmanned and sometimes involved in critical missions. In addition since the ARPU is lower there is a clear need to establish efficient Remote Management solutions to protect margin.
The advanteges of FOTA to M2M is clear and immidiate :
▪ Minimize Downtime while solving and troubleshooting device and network faults from a remote location
▪ Lower OPEX by fixing defects OTA with 97% smaller software updates while removing the need to send a technician to perform on-site troubleshooting
▪ Manage Risk with a centralized, secure, end-to-end, fail-safe update mechanism with the ability to know the exact status on each device
▪ Create Revenue Opportunities by adding or updating new services and applications
The time to integrate such a solution is quick, safe and without the need to change the code in the M2M device.
Some thoughts on OTA:
Once our m2m devices are installed we don’t have physical access to upgrade them. Over the air programming enables us to offer managed services, easies our lives and enables faster time-to-market!
Application upgrades over the air is widely commonly used and is THE primary ARPU driver for MNOs facing low traffic embedded devices.
OTA initiated network traffic generated exceeds the most common m2m traffic on which the original business case of the end user is based...
Therefore MNOs can use OTA to push traffic.
Up to now I never faced OTA platforms connected to MNOs to make use of spare network capacity.
Below the line, this could lower TCO for the end-user.
Firmware of the air of modems/chipsets firmware (FOTA) might result in devices which do match with the approved original design and should be used with precaution.
The majority of managed m2m devices are managed by propriatary (customer specific) servers and not by modem/chip vendors/mnos.
If, in future, when software defined radio, is implemented in chipsets/modems we should re-consider this of course….