Three Critical IoT Connectivity Protocols Small Business Owners Need to Know About
The Internet of Things or “IoT” is rising in importance in the modern business world. In 2021, there were approximately 35+ billion IoT devices installed across the world. From voice assistants to smartwatches – these devices are everywhere. More importantly, they’re shaping how modern-day businesses operate and engage with the outside world.
That’s why countless companies are scrambling to adopt IoT solutions for their businesses. However, integrating IoT technology into a business is not easy. What are the major challenges business professionals face when they attempt to adopt IoT solutions? According to a recent survey, connectivity and protocols are the two key technical challenges.
In this survey, top business executives from Europe were asked what kinds of challenges they faced with their IoT projects. Almost all of them agreed that they were unable to understand which IoT connectivity protocols suited their businesses the most. This lack of understanding negatively impacted their ability to plan and deploy IoT projects.
Understanding Connectivity Protocols
Understanding the concept of IoT technology and devices is simple. IoT devices on a shared network can communicate with each other. There are multiple different layers to this communication. The types of gateways, apps, and IoT devices being used obviously impact the quality of this communication.
But, the technique by which IoT devices communicate with each other is the most important factor. The languages that the members of the IoT network use to communicate which each other are called IoT connectivity protocols. These protocols are pre-designed to structure whatever data is being shared in a secure and meaningful manner.
The connectivity protocols of your IoT network will determine how each member or device on the network interacts. By setting a common set of protocols or “language” between your IoT devices, you allow them to function efficiently. Without these protocols, the different IoT devices in your network wouldn’t be able to interact.
Establishing standard IoT connectivity protocols is key to mitigating network security issues. The pre-defined protocols also help maintain consistent communications between the different sections of the IoT network. Which connectivity protocols should your company adopt while obtaining IoT solutions? There are multiple pre-designed internet protocol suites to choose from.
Each network protocol comes with its own distinct uses. Let’s explore the most popular protocols to understand whether they suit your business needs –
Lo-Ra (stands for long-range) is used as a wide area network (WAN) technology. Another name of this IoT connectivity protocol is LPWAN. It stands for – Low-Power, Wide Area Networking Protocol. This protocol is designed to help long-range, wireless IoT devices communicate with each other on a single network.
These devices tend to be battery-operated. Hence, the “low-power” nature of this protocol is extremely helpful for users. LoRa was developed in 2015. This connectivity protocol works best on regional, national, and global networks. It helps IoT devices communicate across long ranges. IoT devices on LoRa don’t consume too much power.
Their ability to detect signals from long distances improves a lot on this connectivity protocol. That’s why most IoT devices used for urban or industrial applications are designed to follow this protocol. Here are the advantages of using this IoT connectivity protocol –
- With LoRa, users receive all-inclusive technology packages. They also receive end-to-end integration for their IoT devices – from implementation to providing services to customers.
- IoT devices can communicate freely up to 10 miles without any wired connections.
- Users also receive premium-quality security for their IoT networks and devices.
- Most importantly, this protocol is flexible. Users can easily scale their IoT solutions when using this connectivity protocol.
ZigBee has been around since 2005. It’s one of the most popular connectivity protocols for IoT networks. ZigBee is famous because it can achieve range capabilities up to 1000 feet. It can also accommodate high node counts. That means this connectivity protocol is ideal for industrial deployments and home automation projects.
Users can add countless IoT devices to this robust, resilient, and flexible connectivity protocol. The amazing range capabilities of this connectivity protocol always enable free communication. Most impressively, the ZigBee connectivity protocol offers efficient, low-power capabilities.
IoT devices on the ZigBee connectivity protocol don’t need to consume too much power to stay connected. That’s why many IoT street lights and electric meters use this protocol. These devices can’t consume too much power. Once users set these devices up, they stay connected for months without consuming too much electrical energy.
Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT)
This relatively new connectivity protocol (launched in 2016) is very important for new-age businesses. That’s because the NB-IoT connectivity protocol is custom-designed for networks that need low bandwidth to support huge connection density. The protocol also allows simple, non-sophisticated IoT devices to communicate on the network.
That’s why NB-IoT is ideal for businesses operating in rural, low-connectivity settings. Users of this protocol also receive lower bitrates and the ability to provide connectivity without complicated gateways.
Lo-Ra, ZigBee, or NB-IoT – which IoT connectivity protocol is best suited for your business? Or, will your business benefit more from adopting more popular IoT communication protocols like Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) or Bluetooth? Choosing the right IoT protocol for your business projects is vital. If you’re still confused, consult with IoT experts now!