We’re going to go through the fundamental details you need to know before choosing a hardware device to start your IoT network. Know your options to make the most out of the whole process. IoT and setting up a network aren’t easy and need a lot of research. We advise you to be meticulous throughout the whole setup.
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Moving on, here’s everything on finding a device for your IoT problems.
Overview: What’s An IoT Device?
Devices that connect to larger devices that are connected to the net. These devices can range from sensors, microphones, RFID transmitters, or even cameras. The devices can collect data, which is later on sent to a processing unit that uses this data. Most IoT devices only collect data and transmit it; they don’t process or store it.
Which is why they’re important. So, what happens to the data after being transmitted to another processor? It’s used for many things. The processor is what most of us know as the ‘cloud.’ The whole system wouldn’t be able to operate without the IoT device.
3GPP, or 3rd Generation Partnership Project, has categorized IoT devices into two groups:
- User Equipment: IoT devices that connect to networks such as computers, smartphones, and other IoT devices.
- Infrastructure: The devices that user equipment connects with for telecommunication services.
What Is An IoT Network?
This refers to a group of smart devices communicating and exchanging data without human intervention. Picture this: if you use your phone to play music on a Bluetooth sound device and then command Siri to search up a dinner recipe for you, that’s an IoT network on a smaller scale. Bigger-scale IoT networks also exist for businesses.
What To Look For In IoT Devices
Before choosing a device, start by defining your goals for the IoT network you want to develop. Consider all the details. Details such as performance requirements, number of prototypes, timeline, and the operating environment in which your devices will be placed.
There’s obviously a lot to consider, but we’re here to provide some clarity. Here are some questions that can help you in finding and choosing the right device:
- Define the main objectives that your device needs to accomplish in order to narrow down your search.
- How much data does your device need to transmit and collect? Does it need to process and store too? Remember that these devices can normally only collect and transmit.
- What type of connectivity will your project and device need? Wifi, Bluetooth, 4G/5G? Consider the location of where your devices will be deployed. Will it be stationary? Mobile? Remote?
These questions will help you gain clarity for the next step, and you’ll be able to scope out a more accurate choice. So, do not fret and map out your pick with these. Now let’s look at your choices for hardware platforms.
Private Cellular (5G, etc.)
A good device to start your IoT network with is a private cellular module device. It’s much more reliable than WiFi, and it offers reliable long-range connectivity for mobile or stationary sensors. This is the best option for someone who wants an IoT network but lives in a mobile home, but also great for stationary use. It has very large area coverage too.
Users can control every aspect of their cellular network when they opt for this connectivity option. Here are some companies that provide these products:
- Airspan Networks
Bluetooth devices for your IoT network are ideal for short distances, low-power consumption requirements, and low-bandwidth applications. They’re also affordable and practical. IoT networks using Bluetooth can normally send signals up to 25 feet far, and they use very little bandwidth and power.
Bluetooth connectivity has evolved as well to suit different types of needs. Here are some variations:
- Point-to-point connection: pairs two devices
- One to many: one device broadcasts info to many devices and connects with multiple of them
- Many to many: spider web connection between devices
And here are the companies you can check for Bluetooth IoT devices:
WiFi is a popular choice for IoT networks and a viable option for IoT sensors that need to share information across medium-range areas. They don’t offer as much coverage as private cellular networks but still have their perks.
They’re best for small to medium-sized networks, so, for example, a small office branch on one floor in a building can rely on Enterprise WiFi. They’re good for indoor spaces and serve stationary IoT sensors pretty decently.
Enterprise Wifi operates differently from consumer WiFi at the end of the day. It’s designed for high-density use and requires multiple access points. It’s scalable. Equipment is designed to run all day and last longer than consumer WiFi equipment. Also, most of this equipment can be controlled from a singular administrative hub.
- Cisco Enterprise Wireless
- Mist WxLAN
Finding the right devices for your IoT network can be difficult, but we hope this article has shed some light on the topic, and we hope it helps you with your decision-making in the future. Don’t forget that many of the companies that offer IoT solutions also offer tutorials and learning resources for you to use to get started, so don’t hesitate to check those out if you’re confused or stagnating on a particular problem.
For businesses and start-ups, best to further consult an expert on setting up your IoT network since they’ll know the niche details that can make or break your company’s efficiency.