Wireless Technologies

Although wired connections can be used in IoT, wireless connections are used more broadly.  Current wireless technologies include WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Cellular technologies. New wireless technologies being developed for IoT include BLE, LTE-M, NB-IoT, and 5G etc.

  • NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard
  • A cellular IoT technology
  • Low power, long range
  • Uses DSSS technology
  • Developed to connect IoT devices over cellular telecommunications bands
  • Focuses on low cost, long battery life applications in utilities, smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities, and m-health
  • There will be low cost NB-IOT modules and devices
  • No need for gateways
  • Strongly supported in Europe and Asia
  • North America concentrates more on LTE-M

  • LTE-M is also a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard
  • A cellular IoT technology
  • Low power, long range
  • Is LTE built for IoT applications
  • For transferring small amount of data
  • Example: smart meter applications
  • Compatible with the existing LTE network (no need for new antennas)

  • ​Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Also called Bluetooth Smart
  • Subset of classic Bluetooth
  • Designed for IoT
  • Short range (100 meters)
  • Supported by most major platforms such as iOS and Android
  • Designed for low power consumption devices
  • Designed for devices that do not send data constantly or only send tiny bits of data
  • Part of the Bluetooth 4.0 core specification
  • Newest: Bluetooth 5

Bluetooth Mesh
  • Recently added to BLE 
  • Support mesh networking
  • Better than Wi-Fi due to low energy
  • Better than ZigBee due to availability on smart phones
  • Ideal for building automation which uses large number of sensors

  • Stands for IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks
  • Lower layers are based on IEEE 802.15.4 (same as ZigBee)
  • Mesh networking capabilities
  • It is ZigNee adapted for IoT applications
  • ZigBee was widely used in existing wireless sensor networks

  • A Microchip wireless technology
  • Low power wide area network
  • Long range (greater than 15 km)
  • High capacity (up to one million nodes)
  • Long battery life (more than 10 years)
  • Reduced synchronization overhead with no hops in mesh networks
  • Secured
  • Immune to interference
  • LoRaWAN is the MAC protocol defined by the LoRa Alliance for WANs

  • Is a cellular style technology
  • Is LPWA (low power wide area)
  • Cell density: urban 3-10km, rural 30-50km
  • Uses the ISM band (868MHz in Europe, 915MHz in US)
  • Uses UNB (ultra narrow band) radio modulation
  • Uses  a lightweight protocol
  • Has a small payload
  • Uses low energy