NimbeLink: 'Game Changers in Low Power Cellular IoT' (Part 1 of 2)
The emerging Internet of Things (IoT), specifically cellular IoT is one of the fastest-growing markets many of us will ever see. As in any new market there will be a steady supply of “game changers,” but one of the biggest will be the demand for low power cellular modems. The cellular network was created to support phones, first for voice and more recently as pocket-size data devices, requiring more and more bandwidth for both individual devices and the network itself. Power-hungry smartphones turned us all into outlet-seeking creatures, always on the lookout for a charge to keep our smartphones connected. The Internet of Things (IoT) is turning all of that on its head.
From the NimbeLink blog.
Cellular Service for IoT
While the super-reliable, omni-present cellular network remains an ideal medium for connecting IoT devices, the needs of those devices are completely different from those of smartphones. First, unlike phones, most IoT devices use relatively little bandwidth. Instead of hours of Facebook, music, or streaming video, most will send only short, periodic bursts of data. Some will simply stand watch, sending no data at all unless critical thresholds are reached. Second, they will function unattended, with no one to charge them. That won’t be a problem for devices that are stationary and have access to AC power, but many will be remotely located, mobile, or have to function when external current fails, relying for days, weeks, or years on battery power. And third, because they are expected to be deployed in huge numbers – billions by most estimates – cost will be a critical factor.
Designing for IoT? Competing in today’s fast-moving global markets takes smart innovative products, but beating the competition to market is equally important. Connectivity is key for many of today’s products, and there is no faster easier way to add cellular connectivity to a system or device than the end-device certified Skywire™ Cellular Modem with optional bundled, no-contract cellular plans.
In the early days of IoT, devices relied on repurposed 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE modems originally designed for voice and the growing tide of streaming data. But as the IoT matures, cellular providers are introducing services specifically designed for IoT applications, and equipment manufacturers are introducing chips, modules and modems designed to take full advantage of the new services. These new components offer lower bandwidth capability that is more than adequate for IoT applications, cost less both to purchase and to operate, and draw a fraction of the power required for preexisting components.
IoT-Specific Cellular Services and Products
Cellular providers are already offering Cat 1 service, which utilizes the existing LTE network more efficiently and cost effectively. By early 2017, they will roll out even more power-efficient, cost-effective cellular IoT-specific Cat M1 service. Equipment providers are already offering Cat 1 modems and finalizing development of Cat M1 modems in anticipation of Cat M1 service. These new components and services won’t just lower the cost of existing IoT operations. They will enable new applications that wouldn’t have been economically or technologically feasible using 2G, 3G, or 4G services and will spur even more explosive cellular IoT growth. The challenge for developers will be to incorporate connectivity effectively and quickly into their products.
This is part 1 of 2 of this blog. Part 2 is coming soon, be sure to check back for more.
For additional NimbeLink 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. www.symmetryelectronics.com/contact or call (877) 466-9722.
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