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Visualize This: The IoT Landscape and a Map for the Future from Semtech

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With a plethora of networking options becoming more readily available for the Internet of Things (IoT), selecting the most effective IoT network for a business use case can be strenuous and lead to wasted time and resources. The fragmented IoT landscape consists of a variety of networking technologies. Leading technologies such as LoRa®/LoRaWAN®, NB-IoT, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (BLE), and 5G dominate the industry; however, no single IoT technology has ubiquitous coverage and pertains to all vertical IoT use cases. Each network connectivity option involves tradeoffs between power consumption, range, and bandwidth, to name a few.

Camarillo-based Semtech has released an infographic in an effort to make this decision easier.

LoRa/LoRaWAN
Featuring ground-up LPWAN design (low battery consumption, long-range, seamless Cloud integration) as well as cost-efficient roll-out. Whilst LoRaWAN struggles when huge data rates are necessary and is not ideal for applications requiring low latency; it is perfect for open business models. By supporting a reduced upfront infrastructure as well as lower operating and end-node sensor overall costs, reducing costs over time due to prolonged battery life. 

NB-IoT
Utilizes existing 4G coverage NB-IoT deals effectively with large volumes of data and high download capacity. However, issues with mobility and high battery consumption add to the system's complexity and high cost, highlighting its inadequacies when used in massive IoT cases.

Zigbee
Specializing in device security, Zigbee features better mesh capabilities than Wi-Fi, as well as increased flexibility for users. Despite low initial costs, the short-range network has higher maintenance costs, which can become costly over time.

Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi features a simple and cost-efficient networking technology that presents universal mobility for users. The recent development of Wi-Fi has evolved into Wi-Fi6, which can deal with greater device density and uses less energy than its predecessor Wi-Fi5, making it staunchly comparable to 5G. However, with limited security and a router requirement that must be replaced on a 3–4-year basis, Wi-Fi has limited coverage for users.

BLE
With very low costs, a simple and efficient setup, and lacking the necessity for pre-existing hardware, BLE is straightforward to use. This makes it a cheaper alternative to Bluetooth, designed for situations where battery life is desired over speed due to limited bandwidth, short-range, and short connection times.

5G
Showcasing higher capacity, increased data rates, and lower latency, 5G has succeeded 4G with a broadly more powerful software-designed core network. These improvements to the technology are offset by the complex infrastructure that has inflated 5G pricing. The use of millimeter waves to increase speed has also decreased the range that 4G previously had; moreover, 5G waves are also more easily barred by terrain.

As IoT continues to expand and network options becoming more available for businesses to choose from, infographics such as the ULTIMATE NETWORK COMPARISON created by Semtech are increasingly important for the decision making of businesses of all sizes.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Special Correspondent

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