When it comes to ‘Internet of Things’ devices, constant connectivity is a must. Yet, if you’re a company just getting started with IoT, it can be a tad confusing to know how to get connected. After all, there are quite a few different options, and you need to know which is best suited for your needs. Luckily, that’s what we’re here to narrow down.
For any IoT connection to be successful, you’ll need:
- A very high bandwidth. You want to make sure your network can transmit and receive a significant amount of data.
- Global coverage. Ideally, you want a connection that stays on all the time, no matter where you are in the world.
- Energy efficiency. Finally, it would help if you had a connection that uses the least amount of power for the sake of conservation.
Now, let’s take a look at the top IoT connectivity solutions available today.
First, we’ll take a look at Wi-Fi networks for IoT devices. These networks are available just about everywhere, and they feature a very high bandwidth. Another perk is that they consume a minimal amount of power when in use.
A Wi-Fi network is an excellent option for home and office IoT solutions. It will provide more than adequate bandwidth and won’t use much power. As long as you have a reliable provider, you shouldn’t have any issues with outages and drop-offs.
The main downside of a Wi-Fi network is the range. You can only use a Wi-Fi network in a very short range outside of the router. If you need global coverage, Wi-Fi networks are not a viable connection solution.
In the past, Bluetooth wasn’t a viable option due to its high power consumption. It takes a considerable amount of power to use a traditional Bluetooth network. Yet, with the advent of Bluetooth LE, that all changed. LE stands for low energy, and it will consume less power than even Wi-Fi.
A big drawback is that it has a lower bandwidth than Wi-Fi. For this reason, Bluetooth connectivity is ideal for small IoT devices. These include:
- Smart thermostats
- Pairing your Apple Watch with an iPhone
As long as the device only transmits a small amount of data in a short-range, Bluetooth will work fine. Once again, if you need a global range with high bandwidth, there are much better options out there.
Currently, satellites are one of the most popular IoT connectivity solutions. That’s due to more than a few reasons. A satellite network can have a considerably more extended range than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. In fact, some satellite networks can achieve a total global range. Not only that, but they’re capable of very high bandwidths. You’ll be able to send and receive a ton of data at once.
There are two main drawbacks to satellite networks. They are:
- The expense
- The high power consumption
If you’re a company seeking an IoT connectivity solution, you should know that satellites are expensive. There aren’t exactly any existing satellite networks out there that you can borrow. Instead, you’ll have to build your own infrastructure, which will cost quite a bit. If a global range is an absolute must, satellites are your best choice to be worth the money.
Right now, cellular is by far the most popular form of IoT connectivity. It’s prevalent for IoT deployments on a large scale. The fact that cell towers already exist and are worldwide is a huge plus. That means you won’t have to go broke building new infrastructure. Instead, you can simply use the existing cell towers around the world to connect your IoT devices.
Cellular connectivity offers a considerable range that borders on global. However, there are some remote areas of the world where cellular is not available. For these areas, satellite connectivity is the way to go.
For bandwidth, cellular connections are very high. The flip side is that they also use a lot of power. If your company wants to use a near-global network that’s affordable, cellular is a great choice.
There you have our top picks for IoT connectivity solutions. We hope this guide has helped you narrow things down when selecting an IoT network provider for your needs. If you only need to transmit small amounts of data in a short-range, you can use Bluetooth. For a near-global range, go for cellular, and use satellites for remote areas.