No one can dispute that we have entered the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). Some industries are a few years into the adoption process, including smart cities and utilities looking to utilize the IoT for applications from smart grid and advanced metering to connected street lighting, to help deliver costs savings and drive greater efficiencies. Others have yet to take the plunge and make it out of pilot stage.
To give the growth of the IoT some sense of scale, consensus estimates for IoT devices range between 20 billion and 30 billion in the early 2020s, with Arm predicting that there will be a trillion connected devices by 2035.
When it comes to selecting the right wireless communications technology for an IoT network, one size certainly does not fit all. In the early stages of development, the choice of wireless connectivity solution is the most important decision you can make.
The choice of wireless network technology will dictate many things, from how much bandwidth is available to how long a battery-powered device will last in the field – and ultimately the total cost of ownership of a given application. The chosen technology will also affect the performance, scalability, reliability and interoperability of devices on the network.
Wi-SUN Alliance is publishing a new white paper comparing IoT technologies aimed at city planners, IT departments, technical architects and other key decision makers looking for guidance on what wireless networking technology to their deployment.
The paper examines the three wireless connectivity protocols most often considered for utility, smart city and industrial IoT applications: Wi-SUN Field Area Networks (FAN), LoRaWAN, and NB-IoT (LTE Cat-NB). It identifies the key criteria that decision makers should be evaluating when designing large-scale wireless networking applications in terms of performance, reliability, scalability, interoperability and security, including:
- What are the key characteristics of the three main wireless protocols, including the definition of mesh and star topologies?
- Why open standards are so important to alleviate the fear of vendor lock-in and ensure complete interoperability within the network environment.
- Why IoT security has become an essential part of the discussion, with the Mirai botnet showing just how exposed our connected devices really are.
- Why a healthy ecosystem is key to the success of a networking standard. Competition is good for the customer, and an ecosystem should provide a wealth of interoperable products for use in IoT applications.
- With the market a long way from true saturation, how initial investments in IoT can be maximized, and why backwards-compatibility is a major influencing factor when choosing a network, in order to accommodate multiple generations of devices.
To mark the publication of the white paper, Wi-SUN Alliance will host a webinar on Tuesday November 5 at 8:00am PT / 4.00pm GMT looking at how Wi-SUN FAN compares to LoRaWAN and NB-IoT.
This webinar will be the first opportunity to learn more about the key takeaways from the white paper, and to hear from Wi-SUN Alliance and guest speakers about the opportunities and challenges.
Hosted by Marina Donovan, Marketing Chair, Wi-SUN Alliance, with panelists Phil Beecher and Alex Davies, Senior Analyst at Rethink Technology Research.