On one frequency – a note from “Expert. Siberia”

“Expert. Siberia ” talks about the need for special protocols for the development of the Internet of things. One of them is OpenUNB.

On one frequency – a note from “Expert. Siberia”

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“Expert. Siberia” talks about the need for special protocols for the development of the Internet of things. One of them is OpenUNB. Its development is carried out by the team of the Central Committee of NTI on the basis of Skoltech, which, among other things, includes representatives of the Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radio-electronics (TUSUR). The Competence Center is confident that the open protocol OpenUNB with freely available implementation will help form an ecosystem of companies in the country that produce solutions with fully compatible communication technology.

Below are excerpts from the material published on the Expert.Sibir website. The full version is available here.


Elena Reutova
30 September 2019, 00:00

Our life has become like fantastic books and films written and shot just a couple of decades ago. People already live in smart homes and cities, ride unmanned taxis, talk to voice assistants in their gadgets

The Internet of Things has become a new reality. But in order for things to communicate with each other, special data transfer standards are needed. One of them is being developed by the Skoltech team, which includes specialists from the Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (TUSUR).

Today, almost everything can be connected to wireless communication systems: a smartphone and a TV, a traffic light and a car, agricultural equipment and water or electricity meters. Step by step, modern data transmission technologies are being introduced into various spheres of life, including medicine, education, industry and housing and communal services.


One of the obstacles that stands in the way of the active development of the Internet of Things is the incompatibility of devices and solutions from different manufacturers. Let’s take the housing and utilities sector as an example. Now on the Russian market there are several models of smart metering devices. They use different protocols for transmitting data over the air, and in most cases they are incompatible. As a result, management companies are tied to specific suppliers and solutions, and combining devices into a single network turns out to be an extremely costly or even impossible task. “And since the devices operate in approximately the same frequency range, they also interfere with each other,” says Evgeny Rogozhnikov, Ph.D., associate professor of TUSUR, director of the NTI regional Competence Center in the direction of the Internet of Things “(Central Committee of NTI BSIV) in Siberian,

Open standards created by the professional community will help to solve the problem of incompatibility of devices on the mass market. This point of view is adhered to in the Central Committee of the NTI BSIV at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, where a new open data transfer protocol for the Internet of things is being developed – Open UNB.


The world is already actively developing and implementing open data transmission standards for energy-efficient long-range networks – LoRaWAN and NB-IoT. Dozens of manufacturers around the world produce devices that support these standards.

But there is a niche in which, until recently, there was no adequate open solution. These are Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) protocols. First of all, this technology is used in collecting data from metering devices in the housing and communal services system. Since now there is an active demand for solutions for the “Smart City” and urban management, the use of such protocols is becoming very relevant.

And it was in this niche that scientists from the Central Committee of the NTI BSIV at Skoltech began developing an open standard. Open UNB (Open Ultra-Narrowband) wireless data transmission protocol for high-capacity networks will allow organizing radio channels between a large number of transmitting devices and network gateways, as well as easily integrating smart meters from different manufacturers into a single system.

The open protocol Open UNB with freely available implementation will make it possible to form an ecosystem of companies in the country that produce solutions with fully compatible communication technology, – believe in the Central Committee of NTI BSIV.

Open UNB will have the status of an international standard. At the same time, it takes into account the demands of the Russian market, where there are certain difficulties in the deployment of sensor networks and high requirements for their energy efficiency are set.

“The standard describes the requirements for a protocol designed for one-way or two-way transfer of a small amount of data (several bytes) between a group of base stations and a large number of devices (more than 100 per base station). In this case, communication is carried out according to a schedule or after the occurrence of some event. The devices have power limitations. In addition, they must be able to work over large areas (up to 50 km from the base station in line of sight) or in a complex radio environment (basements, collectors, where metering devices are usually located), ”the NTI BSIV Central Committee notes.

When using Open UNB, a minimum amount of energy is required to transfer one bit of useful information. Now it is the most energy efficient protocol, which is critically important for IoT systems in housing and communal services, since usually the meters are powered only from the built-in battery, which should be enough for several years of continuous operation. The protocol is intended primarily for use in densely populated areas with sensors and devices that are installed in hard-to-reach or closed places that do not have access to external energy sources.

The team of the Central Committee of NTI BSIV has been working on the protocol for over a year. At the first stage, members of the Center Consortium with the broadest competencies in the field of wireless radio technologies were invited to participate. If we talk about regional organizations, these are Mikran and Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (TUSUR).


TUSUR got involved in the development of an open protocol at the beginning of this year. The university’s area of responsibility is the development of signal reception algorithms and security issues.

“When we talk about IoT systems, the architecture of the network is as follows: there are a large number of devices that transmit data, and there is a base station that receives this data. Then it processes them and transfers them to the server, where they are decrypted and transferred to a specific user or some additional processing. And at each of these stages there are security threats, – says Yevgeny Rogozhnikov. – Attackers can try to gain access to data, replace it, install their base station, connect to the server and transmit false information to it. Our task is to provide for such security solutions at every stage in the protocol to make it impossible for cybercriminals to act. “

This is not an easy task, but the regional Central Committee of NTI can do it. “We have all the necessary competencies: we have been dealing with communication systems for a long time. TUSUR develops modern solutions for LTE technology. We are working on scientific research of fifth-generation communication systems, we have even won several grants and received a presidential scholarship in this area, – says the director of the regional NTI Central Committee about the university’s successes. – We try to be at the forefront of modern research and development in the field of communications. The Internet of Things is one of the new directions, but it is based on algorithms that are well known to us. Yes, there are certain specifics: long range, the importance of low power consumption with high receiver sensitivity. But when you know the basics, you already understand how to work on a project and what the result will be. “

Before taking part in the work on the new standard, TUSUR has already implemented several educational projects on the Internet of Things.

“When you develop educational projects, it is important to thoroughly study the topic, since the listeners need to clearly explain all the nuances and be prepared for the most unexpected questions. This experience gave us a complete understanding of the problems associated with the current project ”, – says Evgeny Rogozhnikov.


The first edition of the draft national standard Open UNB is ready. In August, the protocol was discussed with market participants. Such openness is necessary, since it is important for companies that will work with Open UNB to see not only the characteristics of the standard, but also the rationale for the solutions used in it. The protocol must be transparent to all participants.

As noted in the Central Committee of the NTI BSIV, the standard is now being finalized. Representatives of medium and large businesses, specialists from various universities and industry associations join working groups and write comments. “And this will happen several times until we come to the understanding that the standard is mature enough to launch it,” notes Evgeny Rogozhnikov.

There are already about 20 experts in the team, not counting the staff of the Center. Business participation in the development of this project is quite justified. The emergence of an open standard for the Internet of Things will allow Russian companies to create their own product solutions based on it and build new business models. As a result, this will give an impetus for the development not only of the market for smart metering devices, but also other segments of the Russian economy.

Source: “Expert.Siberia”.