Connected devices can communicate through a variety of technologies. But what is the right choice for your application?
The internet of things IS connectivity. Connecting a device to the internet or another device is still a pretty new phenomenon. “The Internet of Things” as a phrase was coined in 1999, but connected devices were actually in use before that. This article was very interesting and provides a brief summary of the history of IoT and connected devices.
In 2021, we use connected devices every day, sometimes unknowingly. Disarming your home alarm system, operating a Bluetooth speaker, opening your garage door from your smart phone, and countless other daily operations are handled with connected devices. These applications make perfect sense. Even the phrase “Internet of Things” makes perfect sense – it is quite literally a network of “Things” that can communicate with one another.
Some wireless communications protocols are discussed in every day life. We all know about 5G cellular and Bluetooth. What’s important to know about connected devices is that the communication protocol can be just as important as selecting the proper type of battery. As a tech entrepreneur or an IoT manager evaluating a new project, having knowledge of various communications methods and their benefits and drawbacks is very important.
Here’s a quote from Moxie IoT’s Co-Founder and CEO, Dr Austin Gurley:
The IoT revolution is being carried by the technology and infrastructure for wireless communications. Matching your wireless techniques to your application to ensure reliable communications, appropriate data rates and long battery life, is essential. There is no “one size fis all” communication technique.
Like Dr. Gurley mentions, there are many options when decided how your device will communicate with the internet and other devices. The information provided below will help you narrow down your decision making matrix and provide you with some insight into the available technologies.
With support from all major smartphones, BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is the most common and versatile way to connect IoT devices to a smartphone. It can also be used to communicate between IoT devices (Machine-to-Machine). APEX Pro is a MOXIE developed product, and a great example of BLE.
Providing the same high data rates and fixed costs as your home or business, WIFI accommodates the most data for cost, but isn’t always available.
LTE / 5-G.
When WIFI is not available, cellular data (like your smartphone) is a good choice. However, it is usually costly for an IoT product and is capable of supporting much higher data rates than IoT devices will need.
CAT-M1 / NB-IOT
To support distributed IoT devices across the world, cellular providers are creating networks specifically for lower data rates, lower power devices, with lower data costs than full LTE. The Tocaro Blue Gateway is an edge device that uses Cat M1 Cellular.
Special circumstances may require long range outdoors (e.g. agriculture) or through obstructions (smart cities, mining), or in electrically noisy environments (near welding/laser equipment). In these situations, specialized long range (LoRa) or robust (UWB) radios may be required.
For the ultimate remote operation, offshores, high altitudes, or in remote wilderness, renting time on private satellite networks provides truly global coverage (for a price). The Tocaro Blue Gateway also contains a satellite for communications.
So then, what’s best for your device?
As you can see it’s not as simple as picking one and sticking to it. You need to have a solid understanding of the following things:
- Power consumption needs
- Communication range (feet, a few miles, thousands of miles?)
- Data rates
- Data costs
This handy chart shows each communication technology and its range, data rate, and cost of data:
Moxie is here to help you with decisions like these. Our technical sales team can assess your needs before you spend any money, and lead you in the right direction. To get our Technical team to map our a plan for your concept we’ll get a bunch of information from you, and then sit down over Zoom or in person for a Mapping Meeting. Our engineers spend hours preparing for this meeting to provide you with an in-depth technical mapping for turning your concept into reality.
Contact the Moxie sales team to get started!