Although it's easy to get caught up in the hardware of IoT, one factor that you can't afford to overlook is your network. Your network is what keeps your IoT project online and connected – it puts the "I" in "IoT".
The importance of network choice in IoT
Due to the nature of IoT projects, the networking needs of IoT are much more prepared than your typical network. Your connectivity provider needs to be able to support a large (and growing) network of devices in a variety of environments across different cities and different countries – all as securely as can be.
This is what's known as network resilience. It's your network's ability to keep your devices connected and – in a worst-case scenario – is what will resolve the loss of connectivity or network failures on the fly.
Things to keep in mind when choosing IoT connectivity
When you start looking for a connectivity solution for your IoT project, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the variety of options. Not only do you have to compare different types of networks – 2G, 3G, 4G, NB-IoT, CAT-M1, etc. but also the ability of your providers to roam across multiple networks in multiple countries.
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering your options:
- Price doesn't necessarily reflect coverage.
Unlike traditional cellular networks – where most of the premium you pay goes towards coverage – IoT network pricing can be affected by variables including different features, and their underlying technology. Make sure the network you choose matches your project's unique needs.
Like any network of data-sensitive devices, your connectivity provider needs to be secure. Otherwise, every device in your IoT network presents a potential risk. Read our IoT Security eBook to find out more.
- The quality of coverage.
While keeping all of your devices connected is a good start, it's not enough to keep an IoT project sustainable. Your connectivity provider needs a solution that provides your devices with a strong, reliable connection – whether your devices are indoors or outdoors.
- Multi-Network Roaming.
Because of the mobile nature of most IoT networks, roaming connectivity is a must. And since no network has truly global coverage, you need a connectivity solution that allows you to roam multiple networks across different carriers. This way, even if your devices are outside of your home network’s range, they’ll still be connected.
- Network resiliency.
When things do go wrong, and your devices lose connectivity, how will it affect your data? How long will it take the network to recover? How much will be required of you to bring the network back online? If you're using a resilient network, the answer to all of these should be as close to “Zero” as possible.
Do you have the network coverage you need?
Now that you have a better idea of what a resilient network looks like, it's time to evaluate your connectivity options and ensure that it's meeting your needs. To be successful in the long term, your IoT network needs to be online as consistently as possible.
Anytime that your devices can’t connect, they aren't delivering the value they have the right to expect. Losing your connectivity can bring your IoT project to a grinding halt and take your team's attention away from more important tasks.
If you're trying to determine if your current/potential connectivity provider will offer you the network resiliency you need – just ask yourself these four questions:
Are your devices always accessible?
With a reliable network plan, you’ll be able to access your devices whenever you need them, wherever they are. You need a strong connectivity solution that keeps your devices available to you in every situation so that you’re never without critical data. Otherwise, your network is putting you at risk.
Do you have a recovery plan in place?
If disaster strikes, and you do lose connectivity/data/security – does your network provider have a Plan B? And if they do, make sure that they also have a Plan Z. You can never be too prepared.
Is your network secure?
IoT projects are – by their very nature – extremely data-sensitive. They are collecting a broad scope of information across hundreds, or even thousands, of devices. And each of those devices is a potential doorway into your IoT project. If a provider doesn't value network security, they're putting your project at risk.
Does your network deliver data accurately and consistently?
Lastly, you want to make sure that the quality of the network is up to par. Otherwise, you could be losing data, transmitting inaccurate data, or transmitting infrequently – all of which will greatly impair your project's effectiveness.
To learn more about this, please check out our quick IoT Connectivity guide.
Velos IoT Connectivity: Switching to a more resilient IoT network
Velos IoT offers a non-steered and global network, meaning that your devices will always be connected to the strongest network available, no matter where they're deployed – even if that network isn't Velos IoT's. Non-steered SIM cards are able to roam different networks without a preference, unlike steered SIMs, which are built to stay on one particular network until that network is completely out of range. With Velos IoT’s non-steered connectivity, you'll experience fewer outages, fewer data losses, and fewer delays in your loT project.
Velos IoT may be one of the oldest connectivity providers in the EU, but that doesn't mean we’re living in the past. When it comes to IoT, Velos IoT offers one of the most resilient networks available. Our network architecture is geo-redundant, providing you with access to reduced failure points and increased reliability.
If you're looking for a resilient, reliable IoT connectivity provider, contact one of our experts: