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IoT networks

How to deal with IoT device networks

Network IoT devices can be a challenge for IT administrators because the communication requirements can be very different from those of typical PCs, tablets and smartphones currently connected to corporate networks.

Connectivity

There are literally hundreds of different types of IoT devices and sensors. Each with unique requirements, which include the number of connections, costs, power availability and data transfer required. 

Depending on the application, networks of IoT devices will require scalable, reliable and secure connectivity for remote devices and sensors.

 

Connectivity technologies

IT administrators have a wide range of options for connecting IoT devices and sensors. Each option has specific advantages and disadvantages, depending on the application.

  • Bluetooth provides integrated wireless communications for many devices, such as smartphones, but has a limited range and reliability challenges.
  • WiFi is universally available for PCs, phones and tablets, but requires a lot of power for continuous connectivity.
  • 4G LTE is penetrating and fast, but it can be expensive for high data usage and high power consumption.
  • Ethernet allows high-speed LAN connections in almost all campus and branch locations, but requires a physical cable to connect to IoT devices.

In addition, the communications industry has invented a series of new network technologies specifically designed to connect IoT devices.

  • Cellular IoT, for which there are several standards such as LTE-M, NB LTE-M and NB-IOT.
  • Low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), such as SigFox and LoRa, which are specifically designed to meet the requirements of low-power IoT devices (battery only).
  • ZigBee is a wireless standard designed to connect machine-to-machine networks at low cost and low power consumption. Its coverage is for small areas.  

 

Architecture

IT leaders should carefully evaluate their current IoT network requirements in terms of bandwidth (up and down), reliability, security and budget (costs). 

Network architectures must be designed with flexibility and adaptability to meet changing business requirements.

iot celular

Requirements

Depending on the specific devices and applications involved, an IoT network may require:

  • Ability to connect large amounts of heterogeneous IoT elements
  • High reliability
  • Real-time awareness with low latency      
  • Ability to ensure all traffic flows
  • Programming for application customization
  • Device monitoring and traffic management
  • Low cost connectivity for a large number of devices / sensors
  • This list of requirements is a challenge and may require IT administrators to implement multiple network connections depending on the IoT application.

 

The big data challenge 

Networks of IoT devices can create a large amount of data, some of which must be analyzed almost in real time. Due to latency and bandwidth limitations, not all data analyzes can or should occur in a centralized location.

IoT networks will need distributed analysis and business intelligence, often at or near the edge of the network