DT Load Tester

By the year 2050 there will be over 100 billion IoT devices worldwide. No doubt the majority of these devices will be using a cellular network. The 3GPP expects the distribution of these devices to be up to 40 devices per household or over 10 devices per human being.

For The Netherlands alone, this means that over 200 million devices will be connected by 2050. The common idea is that IoT devices that use the networks NB-IoT or LTE-M should be designed to send between 1 and 300 messages per day. Spreading the devices evenly over 50.000 cells across the country would mean every cell has 4000 connections.

Svanen (Courtesy of Van Oord)


If all 4000 devices per cell send 300 messages per day, this would equal to roughly 14 messages sent per second. How can we be sure that the network does indeed support this number of devices with this number of data messages per day? Is the network up to this? And what would these messages look like? Will we be using high level protocols (like HTTPS or MQTT) and what should be the payload length? Will we use JSON or XML payload or must we try to encode as efficiently as possible using NB-IoT? And how do we test this network before a massive roll out of devices takes place?

To answer these questions, SODAQ developed a Load Tester for Deutsche Telekom.


The Load Tester is a combination of a number of NB-IoT and/or LTE-M modules that are simultaneously sending data packets over the NB-IoT/LTE-M network to a hosted packet listener. We designed a custom baseboard with a modular setup that holds 1 control unit and 10 communication units, each of them being a SODAQ SFF board. The control unit communicates over 2G. The number of control units can vary, allowing for a large number of communication modules charging the network at the same time. All hardware is placed in a portable enclosure which is water and dust proof and autonomously powered by a rechargeable battery and hence will be suitable for outdoor use.During the project realization our clients (van Oord) found more use cases to test the trackers and are installing them now on the small vessels that do not have AIS transponders on board and that are therefore not displayed on the radars. The main applications within this installation is vessels’ tracking and collision avoidance. Another use case can be effectiveness assessment of the rented equipment. Now the project is in the installation phase and SODAQ will be glad to share its results in future.


SODAQ developed the custom software for this product, consisting of embedded software for the communication units, embedded software for the control units and a web interface and database.

Clients such as Deutsche Telekom are now able to load test deployed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks as well as lab environments with a large number of connections simultaneously.

The SODAQ Load Tester is compatible with any current or future SODAQ SFF board, allowing to test all network standards. In October 2020, we will release our N3 SFF board, which allows for connecting to the NB-IoT cat NB2 network.

How can we make IoT work for you?

Our experienced engineers are ready to deliver innovative low power tracking and sensing solutions for your next big operation. Please get in touch using the Get in Touch button on the bottom right, send an email to sales@sodaq.com or give us a call at +31 30 300 0301.

Contact Us

Ollie Smeenk
Product Manager
+31 35 300 0301

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