The Future of IoT Connectivity: Which Network is suitable for you and your assets?

14 March 2023

The world of the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing exponentially; the projected total installed base of IoT-connected devices worldwide is set to reach a staggering 75.44 billion by 2025. That’s a ten-fold increase in just ten years! As this growth continues, demand for connectivity to these devices will continue to rise. However, with so many devices and connectivity options, which network will come out on top? 

Each network has its pros and cons, and ultimately the decision will depend on the specific needs of the device. For example, 2G is known for its long battery life and low data requirements, making it ideal for alarm systems and vending machines. 4G, on the other hand, is known for its high-speed data transfer capabilities, making it ideal for devices such as video cameras and remote medical monitoring systems. 

However, as IoT devices evolve, the need for faster and more reliable connectivity will become increasingly important. This is where 5G comes in. 5G promises faster speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity than its predecessors, making it the network of choice for many IoT devices. However, it’s important to note that 5G is still in its infancy, and widespread adoption may take some time. 

One company that understands the importance of connectivity is npower, which serves almost 12 million homes with metered electricity. For npower, the means of connectivity and communication is a massive thing. According to Tom Hayton, Head of Agent Services at ASL, “One of our biggest sites that we manage – just a single site – is the equivalent of 80,000 UK homes. Last month’s bill, for just electricity for them, was £1.1m. So if we lose connectivity to a site like that, it has a huge impact on our performance and a huge impact on the customer.” 

As IoT devices proliferate, the need for connectivity will only grow. Companies that understand the importance of reliable and fast connectivity will be the ones that come out on top. Whether it’s 2G, 4G, 5G, or something else entirely, the network that can deliver the best performance and reliability will be the one that wins in the end. 

Technology Sunsetting: What it Means for IoT Devices and Connectivity 

In the IoT world, the demand for connectivity is rapidly increasing. However, older networks must be phased out, creating a challenge for IoT developers and providers. For instance, 2G, which has been around for 25 years, is no longer supported by some equipment manufacturers, and 3G may be turned off soon. This poses a problem for utility companies relying heavily on 2G for connected water and electricity meters. As a result, LTE is emerging as a viable alternative, offering high speeds and low latencies.  

As technology evolves, older networks are being phased out, posing a challenge for developers and providers of IoT devices. The sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks presents a significant problem for utility companies and others that rely on this technology. However, LTE is emerging as a viable alternative, offering high speeds and low latencies over long distances. 

The increasing demand for reliable IoT connectivity options grows as 2G and 3G technologies phase out. With LTE emerging as a promising alternative for next-gen IoT devices, Cat NB1 and LTE-M devices are ideal for low-power, sporadic data sending. While Cat NB1 has a lower bandwidth and maximum data rate, LTE-M offers wider bandwidth for higher data rates, lower latency, and more accurate positioning capabilities. 

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, proper connectivity for your application is more critical than ever. With the impending sunsetting of 2G and 3G networks, many companies are turning to next-generation IoT devices, and LTE is emerging as a favourite. But with multiple categories of LTE devices, each with differing bandwidth, power requirements, and complexity, how do you know which one is right for your application? 

To select the suitable LTE device, it’s crucial to understand your specific use case, including data amount and frequency. Coverage is also a factor, but it’s rapidly expanding. LTE-M is suitable for tracking devices, smart meters, and alarm panels, while Cat NB1 is ideal for simple sensors and water meters. Both options offer power-saving capabilities and two-way connectivity, making them suitable for devices that only need to send data occasionally. 


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