From the available options choosing best IoT connectivity options for your device can be very easy or very complex it totally depends on your preferences. The most generic claim regarding IoT network connection is that WiFi connectivity is best for indoor IoT implementations, while cellular (M2M) connectivity is best for outdoor IoT.
“While there’s some truth to this statement, the reality is not always that simple.”
Depending on the various use cases, there are times when cellular connectivity might be the better fit for indoor deployment and vice versa. Here, will discuss how you should choose the best IoT connectivity option for you based on the objectives of your IoT project.
Things You Should Consider
IoT connectivity is the method we use to connect different IoT sensors and devices to each other and to our data processing module. Since different IoT use cases have different objectives and needs, there can be different requirements regarding connectivity in terms of coverage range, bandwidth requirement, power usage, and more.
In general, here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing between different IoT connectivity options:
- Coverage range: in short, how far a sensor can be installed from the other devices or the processing module while maintaining data transfer reliability. In the case of a wired connection, this range is the length of the cable, but in the case of cellular connectivity, it can be miles away.
- Power consumption: some IoT devices can be hardwired (plugged to a power outlet), but most rely on batteries. On the other hand, different IoT networks have different power consumption.
- Bandwidth usage: In an IoT implementation, bandwidth refers to the volume of data sent between devices and modules. There are IoT use cases that only need to send a small fraction of data every few hours, and there are other use cases that need to continuously transmit data every minute or even second.
- Cost: both the initial investment for the network and the ongoing operational fees (i.e. fees related to the volume of data).
- Existing infrastructure: integrating the IoT system with your existing infrastructure can save a lot of money and time.
- Special conditions: for example, if the IoT deployment in areas with a lot of walls or interferences. Some IoT connectivity options work better in certain conditions than others.
Last but not least, you might also want to consider scalability. That is, as your business grows, how easy it would be to expand your IoT project with the connectivity of choice. Of course, there’s the option of switching your connectivity option as the system scales up, but it can be a waste of time of money.
Range VS Bandwidth VS Power Consumption
Finding the right solution for your IoT project is generally about finding the right balance between coverage range, bandwidth requirements, and power consumption depending on your needs.
As we discuss the different popular IoT connectivity solutions below, we will see how each of them offers different trade-offs regarding these three fundamental network parameters.
Different IoT Connectivity Options
The benefit of WiFi over other connectivity options is its huge bandwidth capabilities (2.4GHz or 5GHz). However, WiFi has a relatively high power consumption—although not as high as the cellular network— and has a very limited coverage range.
So, in IoT deployments, WiFi is only used extensively in short-range implementations and in use cases that don’t require long-lasting battery power. WiFi is especially popular in smart home implementations or office IoT installations.
However, various improvements have been made to improve WiFi in IoT implementations. For example, recently developed WiFi standards like HaLow (802.11ah) and HEW (802.11ax) especially address power consumption issues and coverage range to improve WiFi in industrial IoT deployments.
Cellular IoT Network
Also called M2M (Machine to machine) cellular connectivity, the cellular network has the longest coverage range and you can technically scale the IoT into a global-scale network of sensors/devices. There are services like Truphone for Things that can connect devices in 40+ different countries.
However, the cellular network also consumes the most power and although the bandwidth is fairly high, you’ll be subjected to pay monthly data fees with a cellular network.
The cellular network, however, is still the best regarding scalability. With the recent introduction of 5G, there’s a chance the cellular IoT would also be the best regarding bandwidth.
Low-Powered Wide Area Network (LPWAN) features a very low power consumption while offering a wide coverage area. So, LPWAN is the IoT connectivity option of choice in remote areas where devices need to survive on low battery consumption to avoid constant manual intervention.
LoRaWAN and Sigfox are two major players in LPWAN connectivity, and they are both optimized to operate in very small data communications. So, for IoT implementations that require huge data transfers, LPWAN is not a good choice.
End Words: Power VS Range Vs Bandwidth
The three main factors that contribute to choosing IoT connectivity mainly depends on Bandwidth Capabilities, Power Consumption and Coverage Range.
The best one among other preferred ways to determine is Truphone For Things for your IoT connectivity solution with its easy to manage platform and device reliably it offers most unique ways to connect and control your devices/sensors.
Also, Read Major IoT Security Issues