WirelessWireless has opened up a whole new world for IoT and embedded systems. And some challenges we can help you meet.
In our experience, wireless is often the revolutionary step that allows your IoT system to do things it couldn’t do before. While sensors have been in use for quite some time, they were often connected by wires. Wireless technology lets organizations become more agile in their deployment and configuration of systems and applications.
Advances in new IoT wireless technologies are allowing businesses to place IoT devices in more remote locations, consume less power, and reduce costs. Sensors can be installed in remote locations, sending data back for analysis, opening the door for:
It is important to choose the right wireless technology for your project to make sure you get the right balance between power, cost, and performance. We are well-versed in all wireless IoT technologies, including:
Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) 5
Bluetooth technology uses UHF radio waves to transfer data. Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) is the low-power version of the technology. Applications using this technology can run on a small battery for several years. BLE 5 is the fifth version of the BLE protocol. With this version, the raw data rate is doubled, so the same amount of data can be transmitted in half the time (therefore consuming less power). It also provides an optional long-range mode.
5G is at the other end of the cellular spectrum. It is improving the way data is transmitted from the gateway to the cloud. 5G has an even higher bandwidth than 3G and 4G, so it can transmit even larger amounts of data. It is ideal for transmitting data in IoT systems and applications from the gateway to the cloud. The data can be transmitted without needing a WiFi connection, allowing you to transmit data independent of your internal network. However, it is costlier than other more IoT-specific solutions.
Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT)
NB IoT is a cellular wireless technology that is ideal for most IoT edge devices that don’t need to send a lot of data. The cost is a fraction of other cellular services and eliminates the need for a gateway. Sensor data is sent directly to the main server.
Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs)
LPWANs deliver long-range communication through inexpensive batteries. It is ideal for large, expansive IoT networks, allowing you to connect all of your IoT sensors and conduct remote monitoring, asset tracking, and more.
Zigbee is a short-range, low-power wireless standard that is a specific type of LPWAN. Zigbee is beneficial for IoT because it increases the range of coverage by transmitting and relaying data over several sensors, creating an IoT mesh network. It is ideal for medium-range IoT systems and applications in which sensor nodes are located relatively close to one another and equally spaced out. It is often used in industrial environments.
LTE Cat M1
LTE Cat M1 is another cellular wireless technology that works similar to NB-IoT. You can’t send as much data, but it is extremely inexpensive and removes the need for a gateway. It is designed specifically for low-power and low-cost IoT devices and applications.
Radio-frequency Identification (RFID)
RFID technology has been around for quite some time, but new uses are emerging for RFID technology in IoT devices through the use of wake-up radios. A wake-up radio is, in essence, a remote control for your IoT sensors. You can wake up a sensor every hour to record a measurement, delivering great power and cost savings.
It’s also important to remember that wireless is closely tied to low-power, long battery life. Designing a wireless system requires you to be sparing about what information is sent back over the network and how frequently. The more data you send and the more often you send it, the quicker the battery on your wireless sensors will drain. You may, for example, send data back once a day or only when something is going wrong with a system or component. The right decision is different for each project, making it important to take the time during design and development to map out the project goals.
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