Reliable data is fundamental. Even when sitting in a crowded stadium watching U2? YEE HA I got the tickets! Now I need to tell all my loser friends how clever I was to get here. Connect to stadium WiFi – not happening. I log onto facebook...try to post. Still trying. On to Instagram. (I need to put my glasses on…to see what to do) Snapchat? FORGET IT - my 20 yr old son will disown me!
I spend the entire concert trying to tell my “non existent” virtual friends what they are missing. By the time I am home, I’m obsessed with checking my likes and replies. A crowded or inadequate network situation is something we all know and don’t love. However, a failing network in critical IoT systems can be disastrous.
For IoT, a reliable network is key to success. The vast majority of connected objects will connect back to the cloud wirelessly using RF and microwave frequencies. The ability to operate reliably is especially challenging in an environment such as a factory where there is metal and concrete throughout the facility.
Reliable operation needs to encompass everything from low to high data rates, short to long range operating distances or a device situated in a hard to reach area that only needs to communicate when it's absolutely necessary. Take forest fire sensing, when a blaze is detected, a notification needs to happen and quickly. Therefore some devices may go months or years without communicating and others will need to operate continuously across mission critical secure networks. Also many of these sensor nodes will also be self-powered through batteries or energy harvesters so efficient operation is also key to success. The communication networks are critical to transport the intelligence from sensor to cloud across differing requirements.
What is needed? Ideally, a technology that is low cost, low power and with low latency. But also with the capability to scale a system with unrestricted sensor placement. One example of a reliable network is creating an implementation by using alternate pathways and channels to overcome interference. If a signal faces potential interference, it simply moves on to another channel rather than risk downtime.
And finally, maybe we need to look at the bright side of drop out in crowded social situations; perhaps we should try listening to the music instead of posting about every moment. (I don’t care where you are or how much fun you theoretically are having! I AM NOT JEALOUS!)
From Rant to Reality
To learn more about low power, secure wireless networks from ADI