Hybrid IoT communications could be the best option

Using a sole communications technology doesn’t make sense in many Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, says connectivity vendor Sigfox.

In fact, the company, which provides Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks, says one could use a hybrid that includes an unlicensed LPWA network along with a licensed, cellular LTE narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) or LTE Cat M1 network solution instead. That way you can support cheap, unlicensed IoT short messaging close up, as is offered by Sigfox and others, and then offload the sensor traffic to more expensive, licensed LTE cellular mobile networks as the devices move off home base, such as what happens in asset tracking, Sigfox says.

“One size fits all is no longer valid,” said Ajay Rane, vice presdient of mobile network operator business development for Sigfox, speaking at Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles last week. Sigfox says a new duo chip — a multi-mode, hybrid, LTE LPWA microprocessor created with GCT Semiconductor — is now available for integration into IoT modules, and some manufacturers are in development with it.

Why hybrid IoT communications is best

Rane says many IoT communications projects are over-specified using only cellular and that Sigfox’s 12 byte message limit, with transmissions at most every 10 minutes, offers significant cost, weight, and power advantages if all you’re doing is sending a short message, such as a temperature or position.

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