One of the most important topics arising when discussing the Internet of Things is its connectivity and the number of options available on the market in this regard. These technologies largely rely on the stable connection to many vital devices in their ecosystems like sensors, appliances, trackers, and more in order to safely and efficiently collect, transfer, store and access the data. The term itself refers to the ability to link with them via different methods.

Its importance lies in the fact that it enables all of the most crucial functionalities that make IoT so useful in many industries. Our previous posts and blog articles in which we have touched upon this broad topic directly discuss the uses and benefits which would not be achievable or even available without including the connectivity into the scope of these solutions.

What to keep in mind while choosing a connection method?

Over the years with the advancements and technological development in the industry came new ways and approaches towards IoT devices, some of the more popular than the others but each operating best in relation to specific projects.
Every Internet of Things venture reaches a point in which the owner has to decide which method to go for, here are some things that you should keep in mind while reviewing options available on the market:

Bandwidth – mind the consumption of data as the proper functionality of the system is reliant on the ability to process it in huge amounts, you should always opt for the one best suitable for your needs.

Range – check the coverage as it is a vital part of the proper relation between the devices in use, and the ones out of its reach would not work properly, as a consequence ruining the overall performance or being detrimental to the whole ecosystem.

Power consumption – while choosing a network you should always think about its operational capacity in relation to power consumption.

Concluding these arguments, it is all about the balance between these three key issues as they are closely interconnected and their harmonization is crucial for the end outcome and usability of the end product or service.

The most commonly used methods

An adequately chosen IoT connectivity method has allowed many companies to up their game in various sectors of the market. Here are some of the most popular ones with short descriptions of their best uses:

Bluetooth– the Bluetooth that we know so well from our everyday lives has undergone many upgrades in recent years and became more effective in relation to power consumption, its works best with close-range devices

Cellular – its main characteristics are that it uses the same network as smartphones and as a result offers the biggest range and is highly reliable but relatively costly in the power consumption department

Satellite – which is best for solutions that require global range connection and a higher amount of data transfer

Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi is a good choice for more specific needs in relation to IoT connectivity as it has a higher chance of temporary malfunctions and is best suitable for smaller devices and appliances with a certain range

LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) – offers a wider spectrum of capabilities that are accustomed to the specific needs of the technologies used, the main benefits of which are the relatively broad coverage and as the name suggests low power consumption

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) – which offers a limited connectivity range but could be best for smaller devices

Ethernet – which runs through a cable connection, so the range of devices is limited but the reliability is higher as it minimizes the possibility of temporary shortages and malfunctions

There are many more alternatives, all of which should be taken into consideration while choosing the right connectivity method for your solution as some may serve you best in certain situations.

The choice between wired and wireless options

The number and differences between various methods may seem overwhelming so the first thing that you should consider is the pros and cons of wired and wireless connections.

While wired technologies have been known for being fast and reliable and have been used commercially for a long while, they present some challenges such as limited range and mobility or typically higher power consumption and, as a result, costs. It is worth noting that even wireless devices are often partially reliant on a stable wired option.

There are many facts speaking for the wireless options such as short time of implementation which usually involves a simple software configuration, cost-effectiveness as they have become a widely known and highly accessible choice, etc. but they also have their downsides, many times becoming the source of malfunctions and generally presenting with lower speed of data transfer.

The main focus regarding this choice should be put on the owner’s needs and requirements as these are the key parts of any business case.

 

IoT connectivity methods in different sectors

Although there are no one-size-fits-all approaches, some of the presented means became widely popular in different industry branches.

Cellular networks are often chosen by manufacturers due to their ability to process and transfer huge amounts of data whereas Wi-fi is the top choice for consumer IoT devices.

The same applies to Bluetooth but it is also many times used for industrial applications. While using ethernet is also a very popular consumer choice, it is often applied for other stationary devices. Whereas LPWAN can withstand the needs of bigger machinery and be used for the management of big IoT ecosystems.

 

The future of IoT connectivity

We may know for sure that IoT technologies are here to stay for good and with that said the world will be looking for new ways of interconnection between devices and whole ecosystems.

Obviously, the trend goes towards creating the fastest, most innovative options able to accommodate huge amounts of data without losing efficiency in the process, overall reaching for new possibilities or upgrading the current ones to be more powerful.

One of the most exciting predictions is the adoption of 5G which will greatly improve the overall performance by supporting high data transfer with low latency.

Moreover, as smart cities are slowly becoming not the thing of the future but of the present, they are highly reliant on the connectivity method of choice, any upgrades in that regard will shake the current structure of device use but also speed up the ongoing developments.

We only touched upon the topic of developments in the world of the Internet of Things connectivity but there is definitely much to expect!

If you are looking for a company specialized in IoT applications, get in touch with our specialists and see how we can help you reach your business goals.