LTE (News - Alert) has been promoted and perceived as a 4G development that has higher data rates than earlier generations. The feature-rich, real-time communications services that an all-IP network enables tend to be overlooked and that is unfortunate. But what, you may be thinking, is the relevance of that functionality to M2M?
At first sight the answer is very little. The data rates – average throughput 48 Mbps downlink and 30 Mbps uplink – are ideal for video surveillance applications, but the rates for 3.5G networks are more than adequate and they are up and running. Moreover, most M2M apps don’t need high-speeds: a typical app may have less than 30 bytes of data, although the communications overhead can be 500 to 600 bytes: well over an order of magnitude. More on that issue in a moment. Anyway, it’s a very light payload, and M2M’s amazing success in recent years indicates that those networks are working well.
So what is the answer? It lies in the number of transmissions, which are heading North at an even more amazing rate. Current business cases and projections point to explosive growth in mobile data over the next 10 – 15 years. The number of connected devices is expected to grow from more than 6 billion today to 12 billion in 2020. The popular term for this development is “The Internet of Things.”