If you have followed this blog series, you have seen how mobile connectivity can be ideal for IoT solutions in logistics, manufacturing, security, asset tracking, among countless other industries. You have also learned what “mobile IoT” really means and some of its related advantages.
Today I want to take a brief look at another de facto advantage of the handset, which is the utilization of a basic infrastructure built over decades.
An overlapping, interconnected network, if desired:
In particular, we will look at the topic of SURPLUS and its binding to cellular IoT. How prepared are you for all the possible lifetime deployment scenarios of your IoT deployments? Are you using a proven and true connection method?
In this blog series, we are demystifying the mobile phone and taking a critical look at four key topics related to wireless in the Internet of Things:
Why redundancy is critical for IoT
What makes happens if your device loses connection to the network? Can it still perform the tasks it was created to do? Or is the data collected in storage until the device is full and then it fails a lot?
Despite why for a failure, your end users are less likely to blame their Wi-Fi routers and more likely to blame you, the device provider, for not calculating all outage scenarios.
This is why redundancy is a critical component of proper cellular IoT placements. With an emergency plan for every predictable failure point, you can maximize availability and reduce the impact of negative network issues. Even if you are buying over Wi-Fi, wired Ethernet or LoRaWAN, mobile can (and should) be a major consideration when creating a backup or redundant network solution.
Surplus is important with the devices themselves, yes, but it is just as important to work with a mobile network operator that considers the surplus at a higher level.
Excess Mobile Network
Many IoT mobile providers offer limited SIM cards to a single mobile network operator in a single geographic area. If this is the case, how do you place yourself in rural areas with coverage on another network, not to mention other countries in full?
A suitable IoT mobile company will offer solutions that work with reputable providers and their first-class partners in neighboring regions. When you can not predict the location or the solution itself is intended to travel between geographic regions, a seamless network-to-network reconnection is critical.
It is also important to determine what wireless standards your IoT module is using. For example, if you are moving from a region with key GSM support to LTE, will your solution elegantly recover?
Surplus in mobile infrastructure
If you consider a traditional Wi-Fi or wireless Ethernet setting, your network relies on a single node or gateway to operate. Your devices will only connect to the network as long as that centralized connection point is also active.
Cellular, on the other hand, has a massive advantage in terms of tower roof overlap. If access to a cell tower is lost, there is a high probability that another tower will take over (albeit with perhaps a weaker signal, but nonetheless a signal).
With this method of overlaying cell tower areas, your devices will always have a backup connection if a centralized access point goes down.
There is always a natural danger with connecting to the internet. We constantly work to mitigate those risks with SSL certificate verification, strong authentication protocols, VPNs and the like.
Cellular holds many security-related benefits for those of us who build on IoT:
- Mobile networks securely authenticate devices via SIM cards.
- Devices do not “share” the network as they do on Wi-Fi, so they can not interact with each other.
- Mobile network firewalls can restrict device connection to key functions only.
- Device manufacturers can secure a VPN tunnel from the device to the cloud without exposing it to a public Internet connection.
Using an IoT connection option with network, infrastructure and redundant security is paramount. Mobile IoT is the best solution for a wide range of IoT applications, and the mature advantages of using an existing mature network cannot be underestimated.