IoT roaming latencies slashed to 35ms

  • October 25, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Four carriers have achieved massive improvements in an IoT latency proof of concept (PoC) proving that roaming connectivity can provide the same latency as the local in-country mobile connectivity.

Global roaming connectivity for critical IoT applications has taken a major leap forward with the ITW Global Leaders Forum (GLF) revealing the results of a successful PoC that has reduced IoT roaming round trip latencies from 296ms to just 35ms.

This is a huge gain representing an 88% improvement in round-trip latency. This result should allow international service providers to meet use case demands head-on and create value for customers and partners. The PoC proves the technical feasibility of low latency data roaming and premium managed connectivity from IoT devices to clouds and data centres.

The first test results were announced in March 2023. The same four members of the GLF IoT working group – Console Connect, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefónica– collaborated again later this year to improve the quality of roaming connectivity further and deliver better PoC results than were announced earlier.

The first stage of the PoC proved it was possible to lower roaming latency from a median value of 296ms between Europe and Asia to 105ms within Asia, with a promise to the market to continue to work to slash latencies further. The GLF Critical IoT workstream demonstrated last year to the market that via local IPX peering and PDN gateways it was possible to decrease further latency globally.

The announcement of the second stage of the PoC has proven it is possible to lower roaming latency from 105ms to 35ms between neighbouring Asian countries. This roaming latency value is similar to in-country latency value, so it is proved by the PoC measurements that roaming connectivity is able to provide the same latency as the local in-country mobile connectivity. Furthermore, the measurements were taken using a roaming IoT SIM connecting to compute servers hosted by Google Cloud.

“Critical IoT applications require high-quality and flexible connectivity between devices and premium IoT services hosted in the cloud,” said Marc Halbfinger, CEO of Console Connect. “Through close cooperation with other IPX providers, this latest PoC proves the industry is able to deliver on its promise to significantly reduce latency for IoT roaming and enable devices to securely connect through local gateways all the way to public clouds.”

Rolf Nafziger, senior vice president at Deutsche Telekom, added: “Vital to the success of the PoCs were the simultaneous implementation of both local gateways and local peering. In the new test scenario of 2023, they were situated even closer to the simulated end user. This allowed a further decrease in roaming latency that is already like the in-country latency level.”

And Emmanuel Rochas, CEO at Orange Wholesale International, said: “Tomorrow’s IoT use cases, driven by vertical enterprise applications, will require connectivity in a roaming situation that mirrors the speed and quality of in-country mobile networks. This PoC marks a pivotal moment in global roaming connectivity, with round-trip latencies divided by almost nine thanks to a successful carrier’s collaboration.”

Connected cars, autonomous driving, remote surgery, smart grids and factories, patient monitoring, and augmented reality for vital repairs are time-critical scenarios that require continual connectivity, low latency and high-bandwidths. Without these roaming conditions, critical IoT applications cannot function across borders in real time, and the results could be disastrous.

“The PoCs of this year fulfilled the promise made to the market last year,” said Eloy Rodríguez, chief wholesale officer at Telefónica. “It has reconfirmed the feasibility of low latency roaming connectivity that can facilitate even the most urgent IoT applications, even use cases that literally make a difference between life and death, like connected cars or autonomous driving.”

The advancement unlocked by the PoC comes as opportunities for critical IoT are further enabled by the spread of 5G. In addition to enhanced latency, the technology offers businesses, governments and societies the ability to save resources, time, costs and even lives. In the case of medical IoT the reason for the latter is obvious. But also, for example in manufacturing, IoT automated sensing can predict a fault that could result in danger to line operators.

The working group’s next step will concentrate on creating a technical and commercial framework to ensure QoS for international, critical IoT traffic. It will also share the results and include more service providers in the initiative.

The ITW GLF ( is a network of international ICT service providers, who convene to discuss strategic issues and agree collaborative activities with the aim of upholding the principle of interoperability and ubiquitous international and technological coverage.