Radio for IoT deployments

IoT deployments need a strong network for effective functioning. The scale and meaning to IoT deployments come from the inter-operability based on a strong network. The life of the deployment depends on the reliability, coverage, real-time response and security of the network. Driven by the need for the sensor to be small, portable and many wireless networks are the most suitable.

Wireless networks are by far many WiFi, BT, BLE, GPRS, 6LoWPAN, LoRA, Sub-GHz networks etc. Each protocol brings its own positives and negatives. The important factors that need to be optimized are cost, coverage, power and importantly QoS. Based on whether the IoT deployment scale, area and portability we choose these constraints manifest differently. The manner in which RF cost is loaded onto a  deployment varies it could be chip cost like in Wifi/BT, it could be service cost in case of GPRS/3G/4G/LTE etc. When an IoT solution is fixed or stationery like a shop floor or a smart building power and coverage is not a concern as Wifi/BT/Zigbee can support good QoS. The challenge is when sensors are not stationery, they move between environments where not the same radio is optimized to the various cost and performance constraints.

In such a case what is the best strategy to provide the required QoS. We imagine a situation where the radio can sense the environment and adapt to the needs in order to provide good QoS at the optimized cost. This involves systems for sensing various radio protocols and optimizing algorithms for cost / coverage / power from context to context. This will ensure reliable RF/network connectivity and QoS. A “Radio Hub” shall ensure QoS by migrating to the correct network based on signal strength when connectivity is a priority or cost when cost is the priority. The network optimization cycle also varies based on the solution maintenance budget of the customer.

“Radio Hub” comes with its challenges on system design and implementation. Maintaining so many radio receivers and dynamically switching context based on RF strength is complex. However a seamless radio transitioning hub will improve the QoS and increase efficacy of every IoT solution.

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