UNTIL RECENTLY, most technologies within the Internet of Things (IoT) have been forced to transmit data over satellite and cellular networks. But even though the infrastructure is well-established, these networks are often considered too expensive for IoT technologies, which incorporate thousands of low-power, Iow
data-rate devices.(wireless design, read more...)

To meet these new requirements, low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) have emerged to replace satellite and cellular networks in the industrial and commercial IoT. A recent report from SNS Telecom estimates that LPWANs will record service revenues of $27 billion by 2020.

As LPWAN technology reaches maturity, the SNS Telecom report suggests that LPWAN modules will become less expensive and more accessible. The report estimates that today the cost of a typical module ranges from about $5 to $20, depending on the specific technology. However, the cost per module will eventually fall below $1 to $2 in volume quantities.

wireless design prototype development circuit design
In separate reports, analysts have suggested that lowering the cost of modules could be accelerated by moving toward a few core API standards. This would be a stark contrast to the recent explosion of LPWANs spurred by chip-makers, industrial manufacturers, and wireless companies. (manufacturing sourcing, read more...)

The Wireless IoT Forum was recently established to stop the IoT from being "held back by fragmentation and the absence of standards". The organization will attempt to drive consensus between competing standards and promote requirements for ideal LPWANs.

The SNS Telecom also anticipates that government bodies will get involved to regulate these networks, many of which operate in the license-exempt or unlicensed spectrum bands. "There are a number of ongoing initiatives that call for regulators to dedicate spectrum bands exclusively for LPWANs," the report says, noting that the widespread usage of unlicensed spectrurn can result in significant interference. At present, most LPWANs occupy the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) bands.

With all of these LPWANs entering the market, the report says that wireless operators have begun to invest in carrier-grade LPWA networks to support low bandwidth IoT systems. In October, for instance, Verizon introduced Thing-Space, a platform for application development, device management, and other tasks required for IoT systems. (prototype development, read more...)

The largest potential for IoT technologies exists in the industrial and commercial markets, but consumer network protocols such as Bluetooth and ZigBee are making a bid to compete on both sides of the plate.

Silicon Labs, on the one hand, supports the SigFox standard, while at the same time continuing to increase its investment in the ZigBee standard. The company recently acquired Telegesis, a manufacturer of ZigBee modules.(product design, read more...)

Posted from: Electronic Design magazine, Jan 2016 edition

Author: Electronic Design

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