Wireless communication technology for Every IoT Design

Wireless communication and IoT

The lifeline of IoT lies in the ability of IoT devices to transmit and receive information. A wireless communication is the ideal form of communication for IoT. However, IoT devices do not send and receive data in the exact same way hence different connectivity options have been developed to cater for the different applications. These connectivity options have different coverage, power requirements and offer different bit rates. It is prudent to consider these variations when deciding which option to utilize for a given IoT device.

Wireless technologies

  • WiFi

There is a high chance that you are accessing your internet right now from a WiFi network. Just about every office, coffee shop, school, library, the residential apartment has WiFi. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE) has assigned it the standard 802.11. WiFi operates at either 2.4 GHz, 3.6 GHz or 5 GHz. It has a maximum range of 100M. It exhibits medium power consumption. The 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands support MIMO (Multi-input multi-output) hence increased data throughput, it is for this reason that many IoT devices use WiFi. It enables them to transmit up to several megabytes of data throughput while utilizing less power.

  • Bluetooth

Bluetooth if one of the most common wireless networks. Many people have come in contact with it through their smartphones and hands-free earpieces. This technology is capable of so much more. Bluetooth is an IEEE standard 802.15.1 and is used in many different medical and industrial devices.  It operates at 2.4 GHz. It has a maximum range of 10 meters and is a low power consumption option. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a Bluetooth variant that was released in 2011 and requires significantly less power than the standard Bluetooth. BLE is ideal for industrial monitoring sensors and medical devices.

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  • LoRaWan

LoRaWAN is ideal for IoT applications on wide area networks. LoRaWAN is an IEEE 802.15.44g and it operates within 1Ghz. It offers data rates of 0.3-50 kbps. It has a range of up to 20 KM. It is quite secure, actually more secure than most wireless networks that can be used to it, it can transmit encrypted data at various frequencies and bit rates. LoRaWAN is designed to enable data transfer at low bit rates in low power wide area networks connecting IoT devices to a centralized network server. It can be used in industrial and smart home environments.

  • Zigbee

Zigee is a 1EEE 802.15.4 wireless standard. It utilizes the 2.4 GHz bandwidth. It has low power requirements and is suited for limited data exchanges at a bit 250 kbits/second. It has a range of up to 100M, it can exceed this range when a mesh network is used. It is also quite secure thanks to 128-bit encryption. It is ideal for industrial applications and sensors.

  • Z-wave

Z-wave is one of the less popular wireless communication technologies. It is, however, gaining popularity in the IoT front thanks to Amazons Echo, it has proven suitable for home automation and connectivity. There are currently more than 2000 z-wave products on the market, allowing connectivity for household products. Z-wave offers a range of up to 30 meters and operates at a frequency of below 1 GHz.

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