Networking & Communications

Six Reasons that Cellular is Your Top Choice for the Internet of Things

April 29, 2016 By: Scott Schwalbe, Nimbelink

Sensors Insights by Scott Schwalbe

The Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity are today's fastest growing technologies, and both depend on the connections between systems and sensors. There are a variety of ways to make those connections, but none is more effective overall than the cellular network. Today's cellular is:

  • Simple
  • Available
  • Fast to market
  • Reliable
  • Secure, and
  • Affordable

Point One for Cellular: Simplicity

As anyone with a cellphone can tell you, cellular-enabled devices are easy for users to deploy. They arrive fully provisioned and can be used immediately. That's far from true of devices using Wi-Fi or other connection technologies, which require often-complex setup and in some cases may not even be allowed on the local network by cautious IT departments. Even if they are allowed they may have to wait in line with other items in IT's queue.

Cellular, on the other hand, is simple and getting simpler. For example, LTE's high-bandwidth service is now being augmented with LTE Cat 0, which is ideal for many M2M applications. Cat 0 reduces the complexity of the LTE modem, has a peak data rate of 1 Mbps in both downlink and uplink, and requires significantly less power for operation.

Point Two for Cellular: Availability

Cellular service is available almost everywhere, largely because cellular companies compete on the basis of availability. As a result, service can be found in cities, suburbs, rural areas, on the road and, increasingly, inside malls, subways, and similar venues. That means that wherever a cellular device is located, or wherever a mobile application may travel, it still can access the network.

Other connectivity options like Wi-Fi have scattered local availability, have to be set up if they are not already in place, have short ranges where they do exist, and certainly can't serve mobile applications. In fact, the only option that really competes with cellular for coverage is satellite, which is extremely expensive and relies on cumbersome outdoor antennas.

Point Three for Cellular: Faster Times to Market

For developers with plenty of time and resources, cellular modules can be designed right into the circuitry of a device. Then all the necessary FCC and carrier certifications can be obtained, although the process can take months and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

For those more concerned with speed to market, however, NimbeLink offers pre-certified, miniaturized cellular modems—2G, 3G, and LTE—that can plug right into a circuit board to eliminate a lot of development cost, all the cost of certification, and much of the delay in designing in and certifying bare-bones cellular modules.

A mini, pre-certifies cellular modem can plug right into the circuit, saving time, space, and assorted costs.
A mini, pre-certifies cellular modem can plug right into the circuit, saving time, space, and assorted costs.

Next page

1 2 

About the Author: Scott Schwalbe

Add Comment


Sensors 2017 Call for Speakers



Twitter Feed

Find It Fix It Forum

Sensors invites you to join the Findit-Fixit Forum, where you can get answers to your sensing questions—concerning technologies, products, methods, applications, and services--and also offer help to your fellow engineers. The Forum covers all kinds of topics, from the basics to the extraordinary.

Join the discussion!

© Copyright 2016 Questex, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Sensorsmag. Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

If you are having technical difficulties or considerations, please contact the webmaster.