IoT Device Implementation Guide

Avoid connecting and disconnecting excessively

Last Updated: June 27th, 2024

Excessive on/off behavior violates GSMA TS.34_4.0_REQ_001 and counteracts the LTE standard’s “always-on, always-connected” concept.

In LTE, IoT Communications Modules only know two statuses: RRC CONNECTED and RRC IDLE.

Although an IoT Device will consume less power in Idle mode, the consumption is still higher than if the communications module is powered off entirely. However, LTE was not designed for modules to be switched on and off very frequently. Although from the point of view of the module, switching on and off occurs quite quickly, from the network point of view, it creates significantly more signaling messages and places additional stress on the cellular network.

In some situations, switching a module back on might actually consume more power than leaving it in Idle mode. Of course, depending on the desired on/off switching frequency, there is a breakeven point where it might still make sense to switch off the communications module to save power.

However, with the introduction of power-saving features like eDRX (Extended Discontinuous Reception) and PSM (Power Saving Mode)—available in LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies, as well as in the latest LTE cat1bis technology—there is even less need to fully shut down the communications module. Instead, enabling these power-saving features helps to achieve power savings without placing additional strain on the network.

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Avoid synchronous behavior in large numbers of devices
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