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Updated by Shawn Mike on Dec 25, 2019
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Shawn Mike Shawn Mike
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Top 5 Types of Wireless Technology for the IoT

IoT utilizes different types of wireless technology that facilitate such smart appliances and gadgets to transmit and collect data without requiring any sort of wire with an ftp jacket. The battery life, the range of coverage, and bandwidth requirements, etc. are all aspects that must be taken into account when apprehending these technologies.

1

LPWANs

Low-power WAN (LPWAN) is a wireless telecom wide area network aimed for low-range communications by offering optimized power consumption at reduced network costs. Its long range coupled with a star topology makes it an ideal option to support large-scale IoT networks in industrial and commercial sectors. Additionally, it’s equipped with multi-layer encryption with powerful authentication mechanisms that ensure secure data transmission and reliability. LPWANs are designed to connect with all kinds of IoT sensors such as smart metering, smart lighting, asset tracking, energy management, and more. It is set to play a key role in “Smart Cities” which is meant to transform into a prospering reality by 2020.

However, LPWANs was created to operate in both the licensed and unlicensed spectrum which offers variable performance depending on the specific network component. For instance, while costs are comparatively high for cellular LPWAN, it guarantees quality of service which is a problem for unlicensed networks. Similarly, licensed networks don’t support communication from high-speed end-nodes; meanwhile, the license-free spectrum enables communications from devices up to 120 km/h velocity.

2

ZigBee

ZigBee is a wireless standard commonly installed in industrial applications and some home appliances. It’s designed with a mesh configuration that permits it to transmit higher data rates within a short coverage area. However, when coupled with a mesh network of devices acting as nodes, it can transmit data further than its coverage limit.
A few added benefits of ZigBee networks are their scalability and high-level of security owing to its 128-bit encryption, which can’t be found in other wireless technologies using IoT. This technology is gradually gaining traction and due to its low power consumption and affordability, it won’t be going anywhere for a while.

3

Bluetooth and BLE

Similar to Wi-Fi, this technology also operates at 2.4 GHz and is used in a variety of medical and industrial applications. Back when the internet didn’t exist, people made use of Bluetooth to share and transfer data instantly within a short range – most commonly via mobile devices. It was designed to transmit data by using less power, hence making it ideal for connecting minor electronic devices like wireless headsets, mice, keyboards, and speakers, etc.

Its modified version known as Bluetooth Low Energy was introduced in 2011 for consumer IoT applications that call for less power. Nowadays, BLE is supported by a majority of smartphones, computer manufacturers and operating systems such as Windows 8, OS X, Android, and iOS; making the lives of people easier. Due to its wide integration mechanism, it enables users to conveniently control, monitor, and communicate with smart home devices (e.g. refrigerators, air conditioners, CCTV cameras, door locks) using their smartphones. It is also implemented in industrial monitoring sensors and medical devices and will continue to gain momentum in the future.

4

Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi HaLow

Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi HaLow

Wi-Fi utilizes radio waves to connect devices and allow them to communicate with one another. There’s not a single home or workplace that doesn’t make use of the technology to access the world wide web and access an infinite amount of information. Following the 802.11 standard allotted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; Wi-Fi can make use of two bands i.e. 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. It offers an improved range, connectivity, and energy efficiency that serve a wide range of IoT applications. It is predicted that Wi-Fi will play a major role in wireless offloading after the launch of the 5G network in 2020, thus scheduling to make noticeable improvements in the efficiency and performance of IoT systems.

5

Cellular (4G/5G)

Cellular (4G/5G)

Cellular telecom networks were launched to offer people easy access to voice calls and video streaming applications. While they’re not as main-stream in IoT applications as other wireless technologies, it suits appropriately in specific exploitation such as fleet telematics, tracking services, and traffic routing. With cellular next-generation 5G aiming to become the next become thing, we’re looking at a new repository of opportunities for IoT technology and applications. Its high-speed flexibility support, efficient communication, and latency are ready to become the future face of augmented reality and autonomous vehicles.

  • Shawn Mike has been working with writing challenging clients for over five years. His educational background in the technical field and business studies has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles.

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