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Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications are expected to provide ubiquitous connectivity between machines without the need of human intervention. To support such a large number of autonomous devices, the M2M system architecture needs to be extremely power and spectrally efficient. This article thus briefly reviews the features of M2M services in the third generation (3G) long-term evolution and its advancement (LTE-Advanced) networks. Architectural enhancements are then presented for supporting M2M services in LTE-Advanced cellular networks. To increase spectral efficiency, the same spectrum is expected to be utilized for human-to- human (H2H) communications as well as M2M communications. We therefore present various radio resource allocation schemes and quantify their utility in LTE-Advanced cellular networks. System-level simulation results are provided to validate the performance effectiveness of M2M communications in LTE-Advanced cellular networks.
Date of Publication: July 2012