Iocast is a wireless WAN for low-energy objects. An iocast network includes nodes, base transceivers, application servers, and a control stack. It enables nodes and application servers to exchange datagrams with each other. Nodes (low-power sensors, controllers, tracking devices, etc) connect to an iocast network with wireless node transceivers, while application servers connect using an API. An application server may send datagrams to a single node, or to groups of nodes using multicast addresses. Nodes may respond to datagrams and initiate their own datagrams.

The iocast air protocol divides RF channels into forward channels and reverse channels, and organizes them together into geographical sectors. Fixed base transceivers transmit data to mobile node transceivers using forward channels, while node transceivers transmit data to base transceivers using reverse channels. Reverse channels are time-shared between node transceivers, while forward channels are “always on,” under control of base transceivers. Forward and reverse channels are universally synchronized together using a GPS time base, with control stacks providing coordination, timing, and RF access arbitration for the sectors they operate.

Sectors may be as small as a building or campus, or as large as a state or region, and may include multiple channels and base transceivers. Nodes make a secure connection to a specific sector before transmitting or receiving datagrams. Nodes may be fixed or mobile, low-energy or high performance, and they may roam between interconnected systems.

Iocast combines the robust, field-proven capabilities of digital mobile radio with the energy-efficiency of a LPWAN, including high reliability, high availability, high security, and long battery life.

  • Supports low-energy and high-performance nodes.
  • Operates using licensed PLMR and IB radio channels.
  • Includes bidirectional unicast and multicast datagrams.
  • Supports node mobility and roaming.
  • Authenticates and secures all communications.
  • Supports hundreds to billions of nodes per sector.

Iocast offers significant benefits where cellular coverage is not reliable, or where NFPA-1221 or similar standards preclude use of cellular networks. Iocast can also deliver a cost advantage over LTE-M where a high node density can be served by a few base transceivers, and practical advantages over NB-IOT where mobility is required.

  • Patient Monitoring and Clinical Alarms
  • Public Safety Dispatch and Alerting
  • Public Works and Utilities
  • Fleet Vehicle and Asset Tracking
  • Public Transportation Systems
  • Microtransportation Systems
  • Environmental and Water Monitoring
  • Mining and Pipeline Management
  • Oil Field Monitoring
  • Radiation Monitoring
  • Rail and Shipping Container Tracking
  • Perimeter Security

What is Iocast?

Iocast is a Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, enabling wide-area communications with low-energy wireless objects such as sensors, monitors, and tracking devices. Iocast is unique in its use of narrowband LMR channels but has other benefits such as full bidirectional communications, support for both long battery life and as low-latency communications, and MAC-level multicast.

What is the Iocast air protocol?

The Iocast air protocol is a synchronous, centrally arbitrated wireless network, with a PHY layer designed for discrete 12.5KHz radio channels. Base transceivers provide a continuous, synchronous MAC layer, while nodes are low-power devices that sleep between packet bursts.

Why use LMR and IB channels?

These channels offer two big advantages. First, the FCC makes this type of channel available to private enterprise, on an exclusive basis, at low overall cost. Second, these channels have a fixed, low noise floor that greatly improves overall system performance. Additionally, narrowband RF channels have other advantages which can be seen here.

How do I get an authorization to deploy an Iocast system?

For a private system, the FCC maintains several pools of private, wide-area LMR channels available to commercial enterprise for a small filing and coordination fee. Contact Critical Response for more information.