One of the most critical decisions to make regarding an IoT deployment is what connectivity technology will power the IoT solution. IoT connectivity has evolved significantly in the last several decades since IoT first came to market – what was once called telematics then Machine 2 Machine (M2M) Communications. While diverse connectivity technologies have created an environment that can support a bevy of IoT innovations, it can also make deploying, managing, and scaling IoT difficult.
The wide range of carriers across global connectivity offerings can make accessing streamlined IoT connectivity complicated. A logistics deployment, for example, can be a multi-modal, global IoT solution that requires connectivity from one carrier in North America, satellite connectivity when crossing continents by air or by sea, and then reverting back to cellular connectivity offered by a different carrier – or multiple carriers – in the European Union. Or a hardware OEM manufacturing devices to be used across the globe has to deploy SIM cards that can support that device’s connectivity wherever it is shipped.
To continue enumerating the challenges in global connectivity, permanent roaming is a stop-gap measure to a larger problem of devices roaming outside of their home networks. Permanent roaming, essentially, allows a device to be outside of its home network permanently, but with little assurances. Roaming agreements between carriers are tenuous, and for higher complexity devices that require voice, or organizations that seek to leverage low power wide area (LPWA) networks, these functionalities are seldom supported by permanent roaming. Future-proofing devices with a single SIM card creates little assurances, either. Those IoT deployments that wish to remain deployed for the entire device’s lifecycle, which can be up to 10 years, need to guard against network shutdowns and carrier changes.
While not the biggest challenge of the three, choosing a network connectivity technology can be challenging, because organizations, of course, want to optimize their solutions for the greatest ROI.
Non-cellular technologies include WiFi, but also LPWA technologies such as LoRaWAN, as well as Sigfox. These low-cost technologies can benefit widespread deployments of IoT.
Cellular technologies fall into a few categories, with 4G LTE the heir apparent to 2G and 3G with much greater bandwidth and speed, which also provides forward compatibility to the emerging 5G Non-Standalone (NSA). Over the next several years, 5G will separate itself from 4G LTE to become 5G Standalone (SA), which will support the innovative new use cases such as robotics and autonomous machines that will demand 5G SA’s incomparable speed, latency, and bandwidth.
Also in the LTE category are LPWA networks Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) for ultra-low bandwidth use cases and Long-Term Evolution for Machine-Type Communications (LTE-M) that shares the features and functionality of 4G LTE with a lower bandwidth and cost profile, which makes this a desirable choice for lower complexity IoT devices that need long battery life and don’t have high usage demands.
Kaleido Intelligence surveyed several hundred organizations in top industries in its Serving the Enterprise 2022 survey, and in each industry, respondents pointed toward a simplified approach to connectivity as a concern in adopting (or managing and scaling) cellular IoT.
Any opportunity to mitigate connectivity challenges and unify a fragmented ecosystem can help increase the success of IoT solutions, and the recent partnership between KORE and Ericsson does just that.
The partnership is the powerful combination of the Ericsson IoT Accelerator platform and U.S.-based connectivity provided through KORE. The three elements of the partnership help simplify IoT deployment by providing a global footprint of carrier ecosystems in one unified, interface.
Want to learn more about how to achieve unity in IoT connectivity? Reach out!
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