Wireless Communications will be key enablers of the Internet of Things.
In the following, we will include related links and descriptions of available technologies.
There are many wireless proprietary solutions, and more to come, which enable wireless communications between devices. A plethora of companies develop their own devices, integrating a microprocessor and a radio transceiver, and provide kind-of-secret solutions to provide various performances and tailor the performance to each particular vertical need. Even though these solutions may have some market share, the lack of a standardized approach may lead to some limitations. However, no one can tell…look at Apple and their policy; apparently it was the road to failure, and now is a giant, and tons of people pay tons of money for their non-standardized technology.
ZIGBEE-Like Solutions (based on the IEEE 802.15.4 Standard)
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) received lots of attention around the year 2000. Many companies arose selling devices compliant with the IEEE 802.15.4 Standard for Low Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks (lr-wpan). This technology has several strong constraints. Despite that, still some companies invest into this technology.
WIFI-Like Solutions (based on the IEEE 802.11 Standard)
Based on the IEEE 802.11, WiFi is all around us. We still need to agree on a way of using it an energy-efficient manner and agree to share the infrastructure, which is already there. Once we achieve this, WiFi, and its sibling, Low Power WiFi, will play a central role in the IoT.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is already here and is here to stay. Despite its very short range, the passive, and thus cheap and long-life, tags that can be attached to any object for tracking purposes. I believe this is the secret ingredient for its successful penetration in applications like stock control, or monitoring of runners in races!
iBeacons Solutions (based on Bluetooth Low Energy)
Use Bluetooth beacons to deploy smart applications is a simple, yet brilliant idea, risen originally by Apple. Now, many manufacturers exploit this, and we will see tons of companies selling products based on this technology.
2G, 3G, LTE and beyond (Standardized Cellular)
The use of the public cellular networks is very promising for the IoT. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are responsible for maintaining the communication networks, thus letting IoT companies to focus on the application layer. The Service Level Agreements (SLA) need to be adjusted to make IoT business models sustainable, but once done, this will be a major solution.
Here, a review of the LTE Standard: LTE Overview by 3GPP
LTN – Low Throughput Networks (Low Power Wide Area Networks, LPWA)
Due to the slow process to adapt standardized cellular solutions and, in particular, the SLAs (prices), a bunch of new emerging alliances and technologies are arising to fill the gap of having a technology capable of transmitting few bits per second over long distances. These companies and initiatives are offering low-cost services for M2M connectivity, thus covering a very relevant part of the market.