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‘Mesh Networking Vs. Cellular Technology for IoT Applications’ Video Featuring Digi International Chief Innovation Officer, Rob Faludi

Symmetry Electronics Team in Blogs on March 05, 2017

About Symmetry Electronics Team

Established in 1998, Symmetry Electronics is a focused global distributor of wireless connectivity solutions, sensors, and audio-video technologies. Offering comprehensive design support and available-to-ship inventory, Symmetry is committed to helping engineers accelerate time to market, reduce costs, and offer modern solutions for their IoT designs. Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway company, TTI, Inc. in 2017, Symmetry Electronics is part of the Exponential Technology Group (XTG) – a supergroup of electronic component distributors and engineering services firms working together to advance the electronics industry. For more information, visit www.symmetryelectronics.com.

Digi Chief Innovation Officer, Rob Faludi, dives deep into the describing and comparing mesh networks and cellular networks.



What is Mesh Networking?

Mesh networking allows you to extend the reach of your device network by allowing data to hop from device to device, so that radios too far apart to hear each other directly can still communicate.


How is a Mesh Network different from a Cellular Network?

In cellular technology, each device communicates through the cellular network, but never directly with each other. Here's a quick comparison.


What applications are a good fit for Mesh Networking?

Mesh networking is a good solution when you have many devices in the same location or any time cellular coverage is not available. It's good for networks where devices talk a lot to their local neighbors, and when communication between these devices is frequent.

For example, mesh networking is a popular choice for municipal street lighting control. Street lights typically are placed very close together, so you have many in the same location. They may interact locally, for example, if one street light goes out, its two neighbors may want to sense that, and then turn up their brightness to compensate. Automated joining and self-healing help keep the street light network stable.


What applications are a good fit for Cellular Networking?

Cellular networks are a good choice when there are relatively few devices per location, say, 5 or 10 on each local site. It's great when devices are mostly talking to the cloud and have little need to talk to each other. Of course, cellular coverage has to be available, and because you'll be paying for a data plan, you'll want to keep communications short and to the point. Cellular is a popular choice for applications like tank monitoring.

Let's say diesel fuel tanks for emergency generators. You'll want to know the current condition and fuel level of each tank. There are typically few nodes per location, and they only need to communicate once in a while, to state the current fuel level or to send an alarm if there's trouble. Because these devices are remotely located, Wi-Fi or wired ethernet typically is not available, and because each talks directly to the cloud, no interaction between the devices themselves is required.


There are a lot of exciting developments happening right now in the cellular world. New LTE networks have begun supporting protocols that are optimized for lower bandwidth communications, over longer ranges that use less power. Two protocols that you might hear a lot about are LTE Cat M1 and NB-IoT.

As these new networks roll out, the cost of cellular networking will fall, and many new and interesting applications will become possible. If you want to know more about mesh or cellular networking, Digi International has an extensive library of documentation, plus mesh and cellular experts to help you make the best choice your application.

How do you choose between mesh networks and new LTE networks rolling out such as Cat 1, Cat M1, and NB-IOT? Internet of Things (IoT) expert Rob Faludi explains in detail the advantages and disadvantages of mesh networking and cellular networking.

For additional Digi International product information or technical support, contact Symmetry Electronics, an authorized distributor of industry leading wireless, audio/video and embedded chips, modules and dev/eval tools (877) 466-9722.

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Symmetry Electronics Team in Blogs on March 05, 2017

About Symmetry Electronics Team

Established in 1998, Symmetry Electronics is a focused global distributor of wireless connectivity solutions, sensors, and audio-video technologies. Offering comprehensive design support and available-to-ship inventory, Symmetry is committed to helping engineers accelerate time to market, reduce costs, and offer modern solutions for their IoT designs. Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway company, TTI, Inc. in 2017, Symmetry Electronics is part of the Exponential Technology Group (XTG) – a supergroup of electronic component distributors and engineering services firms working together to advance the electronics industry. For more information, visit www.symmetryelectronics.com.

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