Nov 26, 2015

The IoT Is Getting Its Own Network – and Guess What, it’s LTE

Verizon’s recent announcement that it plans to build a 4G LTE network specifically for IoT-connected devices is more than warranted. Not least because adding more small low-data-using devices to its existing network is not cost-effective. Verizon has estimated — based on its own module development — that its new network will halve the cost of adding LTE capability to an IoT-connected device. Some devices will even connect for free, their data usage being that low.

For manufacturers, embedding their smart devices with single-mode 4G LTE chipsets will prove imperative for the ongoing viability of today’s businesses. As the number of IoT-connected devices explodes, so too does the demand for their connectivity. According to Gartner, there are already some 4.9 billion “things” connected to the Internet, and that number is only going to rise. In fact, Gartner predicts that the number of devices connected to the Internet will jump to 20.8 billion by 2020.

These devices will range from today’s typical smartphones and tablets to tomorrow’s self-driving cars, smart cities and connected thermostats. Connected home devices will also become far more common as, according to a recent survey by Accenture Digital, 69 percent of consumers say they plan to buy a connected home device by 2019. Because of this growth and demand, smart device owners will benefit from an IoT-specific 4G LTE network that enables a faster connection at a significantly lower cost.

4G LTE continues set the standard when it comes to network connectivity, speed and reliability. Fast download and upload times has a lot to do with this. When compared to 3G’s 6.1Mbps download speed, 4G LTE is more than twice as fast, boasting a download speed of 15 Mbps or higher. In comparison, consider that a movie experiences no latency at 5 Mbps, so speeds close to 15 Mbps mean an impeccable connection.

These traits will become increasingly important as the homes and businesses of the future will rely increasingly on IoT-connected devices to run. When our alarm systems, door locks and utility meters all rely on a connection to the Internet, it’s clear that a constant connection is a must. With over 350 networks worldwide, 4G LTE is one of the most abundant networks available. This, in and of itself, makes it more reliable than 3G and legacy networks.

Therefore, when constructing devices, manufacturers must think toward the future and ensure their IoT devices are embedded with the most cost-effective 4G LTE chipsets. The fact that Verizon has identified a need for a separate IoT-only LTE network is a proactive response to the device onslaught coming our way, and highlights the need for reliable, affordable connectivity to support it.