The Internet of Things (IoT) is a booming technology that offers users a multitude of component options to build their products and solutions. It is imperative to select the right hardware, software, and connectivity for IoT applications. In the present day, IoT solutions have so many connectivity options, that it leaves one confused on which to choose.
Solution providers ultimately look for a connectivity option that gives them the lowest power consumption while being able to transmit massive amounts of data over large distances, all at a cost that allows them to remain profitable. However, no present-day or near-future technology can facilitate the same.
Over half of IoT deployments are halted at the conceptual stage and do not move into full-scale implementations that can provide the kind of value users expect from this disruptive technology.
So, what makes choosing the right connectivity so vital? Why not focus on only the most modern software and stable hardware?
Simply, because there is so much at stake. Companies and buyers have so many solution providers approaching them that even the selection of the most efficient and interoperable network could be the differentiating factor in becoming their preferred choice. So, is there a one-size-fits-all connectivity network that satisfies the three crucial conditions that are – range, bandwidth, and power consumption?
No, there is no definite answer to a universally applicable connectivity network. With the increasing heterogeneity of IoT applications in the market, it is the responsibility of solution providers to choose the network best suited for their clients’ use-case. Understanding the location, the amount of data to be transmitted and the expected battery life of the device is the integral first step. Let’s explore the different connectivity solutions and how to leverage them.
Cellular connectivity remains the most preferred option for solution providers and device manufacturers. It offers the highest possible coverage and remarkable bandwidth that cannot be obtained from other options. With 5G on the landscape and other emerging cellular solutions such as NB-IoT, LoRa or Cat-M1, the future of cellular connectivity is ever-evolving.
The biggest drawback of cellular connectivity and the one factor that dissuades its selection is the sheer amount of power it consumes to transmit data. Cellular data transmission drains battery life rapidly and therefore limits its usage in battery-powered solutions that are required for remote tracking and other applications.
Wi-Fi allows users to transmit enormous amounts of data at unmatched speeds. Its advantage of bandwidth and speed is tied down by the short-range it offers and the high power it consumes. Wi-Fi has become the preferred choice for indoor deployments and other short-range applications like Home Automation which don’t rely on low-power consumption.
Bluetooth consumes less power than Wi-Fi and is used in consumer electronics and short-range deployments. Bluetooth offers the easiest connectivity setup between two devices and has low signal interference capabilities which make it best suited for indoor deployments in crowded environments. It allows users to track assets in settings where GPS asset localization is impractical.
Low Power Wide Area Network or LPWAN is a distinctive IoT connectivity technology based on cellular connectivity. It enables IoT deployments that require resource-constrained devices to be spread over large areas with minimal power consumption. The recognition of LPWAN’s potential saw many network operators develop solutions like LoRa, Sigfox, NB-IoT, and LTE Cat-M1. What sets LPWAN aside from other options is the astounding range of up to 40 km that it offers for devices and sensors. The practicality, affordability, and coverage of LPWAN saw it become the backbone of many Industrial IoT applications such as agriculture, smart cities, and smart metering.
IoT solution providers must acquaint themselves with the benefits of each connectivity option to provide the highest value possible to clients. Understanding the requirements and specificity of use cases and using this knowledge to drive decisions regarding connectivity selection is the best approach to meet the demands of the soaring modern market.
WeMakeIoT has been developing IoT solutions using Wi-Fi, Cellular, Bluetooth, LPWAN and Building Automation networks. We carefully examine our client’s IoT requirements and research options that best suit their use-case. Connect with us today to develop IoT solutions using the most suitable options technology has to offer.