It’s been a year of surprises for all of us. We tried to make sense of these crises and disasters, lessons and, of course, opportunities. Were we all right or were we all wrong; time will tell… During the pandemic, many topics were raised, even coronavirus; There were also those who said and defended ‘It is the 5G Virus!’ When we look at the projects for pandemic measures, we come across examples of IoT Projects such as Protection of Covid-19 Vaccines. Social Distancing, Remote Fire Measurement and many other internet of things sample projects have been and will continue to be done. In essence, technology continued to evolve and become the solution; The increase in IoT Projects has also led to a faster-than-expected increase in the number of communication devices in the field. So in order to meet the demand for the increasing number of devices; which IoT communication technology should be selected? NB-IoT ? Lora? 2G, 3G or 4G?
Actually, it’s a bit of a difficult question; because if you are a device manufacturer, you choose the most affordable communication technology with the widest coverage area. If you are a telecom operator, you want to open a technology that is demanded by the market and has a high revenue potential despite the investment cost. Only the ecosystem can intersect these two answers. In other words, the usage habits of end-user customers guide the device and communication sectors.
What is IoT?
IoT – the Turkish equivalent of internet of things vocabulx; ‘Internet of Things’. Here’s what I’m trying to get to. As the IoT’s Tuk meal shows, it is to make the data that occurs available by ability to access the internet to objects that work. We’re giving objects the Internet, so 🙂
When viewed in this way, you can understand that many internet objects that you see, use and ride around you are An IoT project. The scooter you rent, the meter read remotely, the smartwatch on your arm, your robot broom and your smartphones that contain dozens of sensors… You can duplicate instances.
If all these objects use communication, the choice of communication must be correct and promises a future, right?
IoT communication technologies, Lora and NB-IoT, which stand out from the options we have, are in the next generation communication category; 2G,3G,4G,5G mobile communication technologies also get in the traditional communication category.
Next Generation IoT Communication Protocol NB-IoT
NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT); An internet of things communication protocol using a licensed frequency developed in accordance with the standards set by 3GPP is low power wide area (LPWA) technology.
We touched on the details of the osos project, which is one of the examples of telecom operator-assisted communication technology for low power consumption, long distance, in-house and under-ground applications.
Next Generation IoT Communication Protocol LoRaWAN
LoraWAN is a communication network developed for wide distance applications such as 15-20 km and can use bandwidth of 0.3KBps to 50Kbps depending on environmental conditions. In our IoT experience with LoRaWAN, usage scenarios and details of this technology are also included.
According to the Statista report; By 2023, LoRaWAN and NB-IoT will account for 85.5% of all LPWAN connections.
2G,3G,4G,5G Traditional Mobile Communication Technologies
We discussed mobile communication technologies from generation to generation. There is a valid reason why the oldest is the most common and inexpensive, but it is worth reminding new device developers that; When will these licenses of telecom operators end, have these nearly old technologies reached the end of their life cycle? If we remember BTK’s 5G and Vertical Sectors report, we notice that the usage scenarios of 5G are quite wide.
Problems and Restrictions on IoT Communication
So far, we have made a summary about the definition of internet of things and internet of things communication technologies. But back to our first question, I’m not going to let you go. which IoT communication technology should be selected? Let’s look at the most known ad constraints and constraints of each news technology, assuming you set the IoT communication protocol first.
It has an ongoing monthly cost as it is provided by telecom operators. Chipset is more expensive because it is a newer technology. The number of device manufacturer domestic companies supporting NB-IoT is also low. It is the most secure communication technology created for individual device management.
The same base station has more connected device support than 2G and 3G. However, it has no tolerance for instant base station change called Handover. This is not preferred for some mobility solutions.
Coverage depends on the operator’s coverage and the base stations where it is activated. In this respect, our country is ready for NB-IoT.
Development points include disruptive innovative mobile tariffs. NB-IoT’s ability to charge is critical in this regard.
There is usually no monthly licensing model. However, it requires the installation of LoRA base stations in the project area. Compared to NB-IoT, chipset is cheaper and the developer ecosystem is wider because it is an older technology.
However, it needs telecom operator service to go online. This can be a mobile or fixed internet connection. Security measures are high but not at the telecom operator level. There will be operating and maintenance costs throughout the life cycle. Coverage depends on established LoRa base stations. Since it uses free frequency, it is available under conditions allowed by BTK. This is usually on-campus applications.
The minus is the most common mobile communication technology. Chipset prices are affordable. It has the largest developer ecosystem. In many countries, it has been closed to service as it comes to the end of its life cycle. The frequency range in which 2G service is offered along with 5G is likely to be evaluated more efficiently. It has a comparablely higher battery consumption. The speed is low. It is unsymversable for in-house and under-ground applications. I assume everyone knows the problems that 2G Supported OSOS modems have in the field.
It is mobile communication technology that has a much more widespread usage than 2G. Alhowever, it is not said that it has a lot of space on the IoT side, but of course it is used in some projects with a focus on speed. Looking at the examples in the global, it is seen that many countries have finished the life cycle of 3G before 2G.
The new generation is the communication layer of many vehicle tracking internet of things projects. It is often preferred in mobility solutions with the speed and prevalence it provides. However, while 2G is ahead in station-based object tracking, it still has density in mobility solutions. It has a higher battery consumption than 2G.
It is possible to evaluate 5G, which is at the very beginning of the life cycle, in one item and it will not be correct. 5G has different modules such as eMBB, URLLC, mMTC than other mobile communication technologies. But there is one fundamental point: The peak technology of 5G mobility solutions is a technology that can make autonomous vehicles exist. We have previously mentioned what 5G can make possible in the IoT field.
IoT Communication Technology Selection by Usage Areas
|Usage Area||NB-IoT||LoRAWAN||2G||3 g||4G||5G|
|Infrastructure and Smart Meters||Battery Critical and Under-Ground Applications||Battery Critical and Under-Ground Applications in a Limited Area||Wide Coverage Area||Wide Coverage Area||Wide Coverage and Big Data||Task and Speed Critical Big Data Applications|
|Smart Home and Building Automation||Plug-and-Play Ready Devices||Plug-and-Play Ready Devices After Providing Coverage||Gateway/Modem Communication||Gateway/Modem Communication||Gateway/Modem Communication||Gateway/Modem Communication|
|Logistics and Asset Tracking||Instant Location information unwanted applications||Apps in a limited region||Rechargeable or short-term travel applications||Rechargeable or short-term travel applications||Rechargeable or short-term travel applications||Speed critical applications|
|Agricultural Applications||Battery-critical applications with scope||In battery-critical applications where coverage is created||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Semi-Autonomous Agricultural Vehicles||Autonomous Agricultural vehicles|
|Industry and Manufacturing||Applications where factory network is not used||Applications where factory network is not used||Applications where factory network is not used||Applications where factory network is not used||Semi-Autonomous Industrial Robots||Autonomous Industrial Robots|
|Smart Lighting and Smart Parking||Plug-and-Play Ready Fixtures||Plug-and-Play Ready Fixtures After Coverage is provided||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications|
|Water & Electricity Systems||Plug-and-Play Ready Counters||Plug-and-Play Ready Counters After Coverage is provided||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications|
|Wearable IoT||Plug-and-Play Ready Devices||Plug-and-Play Ready Devices after coverage is provided||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications||Rechargeable or short-term measurement applications|
The Right Approach to Choosing IoT Communication Technology
I am aware that the picture I share up remains very superficial, in fact the message I am trying to give here is that the technology preference is very little dependent on technology itself. You can do what you can with one, you can do it with the other under different circumstances. For this reason, I think and argue that the choice of a single communication in IoT projects is not correct.
Each of the IoT Communication technologies is technologies that make sense and benefit under different conditions. For this reason, we need to think that IoT communication technologies are complementary to each other.
Global Telecom Operators include Lora and operators offering all traditional mobile communication technologies, including NB-IoT and 5G.
As a Last Word, IoT is a very large-scale industry and will not be able to meet the need in every field from one hand. Therefore, the success criterion is open to hybrid business models based on the solution ecosystem. IoT is an ecosystem orchestra.
Which IoT communication technology do you think should be selected?