A Snapshot of IoT Connectivity Options
IoT deployments are increasing by the day and we wanted to put together a snapshot of the primary IoT connectivity options that are being used to collect all of the data that is driving the value in IoT adoption.
Cellular connectivity is the easiest communication technology to roll out because it is a mature technology, ubiquitous in the US (and the world), and very cost effective. Europe and the US have primarily moved to 4G connectivity and are in the process of rolling out IoT specific protocols (CAT 1, CAT M, NB IoT) to lower the cost of hardware and connectivity on the 4G networks. Outside the US & Europe, 2G and 3G networks are more prevalent and still provide the low cost, low data rate requirements for many M2M applications.
Low Power Wide Area Networks
Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) primary use case is for stationary assets with low data requirements. These networks are limited in geography and the communication technologies are in their early stages of deployment today. LoRa and Sigfox are the primary non-cellular LPWAN technologies. LoRa is a proprietary communication technology developed by Semtech and is licensed to companies (Actility, Senet, etc.) to deploy LoRa networks
Satellite hardware and connectivity is expensive and only cost effective for remote locations or as a backup for cellular connectivity. The application that is required (low data rate such as a sensor or high data rate such as video) will determine the type of satellite connectivity provider that one uses. The Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) companies provide lower data rates and the geostationary provide higher data rates.
Bluetooth connectivity is an easy, mature way to connect devices to other nearby devices and is applicable to consumer driven devices that don’t want to have a monthly connectivity fee. Bluetooth typically requires a lot of battery power for its applications and has distance limitations so it is not a viable option for many IoT applications, but it is perfect for consumer use such as connecting your phone to your car or smart tv.
Lastly, wifi is ideal for in-building coverage and can provide higher data rates with greater reliability than the other options. This can be used for a sensor in a building, but many times, 3rd parties may monitor a building or device in the building and will want to be on their own network (e.g. cellular).
Download the IoT Connectivity Options Infographic
About the Author
Steve Brumer, Partner at 151 Advisors, has over 25 years experience in the wireless/mobile space and has unprecedented knowledge of the industry. During his accomplished career, Steve has been a dynamic entrepreneur with proven expertise in sales, marketing, and channel development. His expertise is helping wireless/mobile products and services find the right distribution and channels to ensure commercial success.