Different Types of Network Connectivity for the Internet of Things...

Different Types of Network Connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Enterprise Networking Mag | Tuesday, September 07, 2021

There is an astonishing number of connectivity options available for the Internet of Things.

FREMONT, CA: Naturally, connecting things to the internet is an integral part of the Internet of Things (IoT). However, when choosing the best network connectivity for an IoT system, the options might be bewildering. 

An IoT sensor/device can be connected through cellular/satellite/WiFi/Bluetooth/RFID/NFC.

Each mode of connectivity involves a trade-off between power consumption, range, and bandwidth. This enables us to develop a conceptual framework that categorizes the various modes of connectedness into three broad categories:

High power consumption, high-frequency range, and high speed

It requires a lot of electricity to wirelessly transmit a large amount of data over a long distance. The smartphone is an excellent example of this. The phone can receive and transfer enormous amounts of data (for example, video) over long distances, but it requires charging every 1–2 days.

Cellular and satellite connectivity are available in this group.

When the sensor/device is within the range of cell towers, cellular is employed. Satellite communication becomes essential for sensors/devices located on a ship in the middle of the ocean.

Low power consumption, low range, high bandwidth

To reduce power consumption while still transmitting a large amount of data, the range must be reduced. This group includes connectivity options such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet.

Ethernet is a hard-wired connection, which means that the range is limited to the length of the cable. WiFi and Bluetooth are wireless links that consume less power than cellular and satellite connections and offer more bandwidth. However, as people are probably aware from simply walking around their home, the range is limited.

Low power consumption, high range, low bandwidth

To extend the range while consuming less power, you must reduce the amount of data sent. This category of connectivity solutions is referred to as Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN).

LPWANs transmit minor amounts of data, enabling them to function at shallow power levels and with ranges measured in miles rather than feet. For example, a moisture sensor used in agriculture may not need to transmit a lot of data; in fact, it may only need to send a single number (the moisture level) every few hours. Additionally, you don't want this sensor to consume a lot of electricity because it will be powered by a battery (plugging it into an outlet in the middle of a field seems implausible). Additionally, because agriculture spans a large region, WiFi and Bluetooth have a limited range.

LPWANs are particularly beneficial for a wide variety of IoT applications. They enable the collection and transmission of data from many sensors over a broad region while maintaining long battery life. While most sensors are incapable of transmitting large amounts of data, they are not required to. There are numerous types of LPWANs; some, such as LoRa, operate in unlicensed bands, while others, such as NB-IoT, utilize the cellular infrastructure.

See Also: Top Network Security Solution Companies

Weekly Brief

Read Also