Three Critical Considerations for Cellular IoT Design

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 17:13

As we recently discussed in our White Paper, “Choosing the Right Route to Low Power Cellular IoT,” there are lots of approaches to designing your product for IoT with cellular as the primary communications route. And as we discussed in our previous blog post, the two primary low-power IoT specifications, NB-IoT and LTE-M, are both quite different and ideally suited for different kinds of low power wireless. We have frequently focused in the past on selecting the right technologies to make your design a success, which is with good reason: it’s a fundamental decision, and it heavily impacts the design choices you’ll be able to make afterwards.

However, a great IoT design is also one that works as efficiently as possible within the constraints of its platform, technologies, and other limitations. Consider NB-IoT: as we discussed in our last post, its low power characteristics, narrow frequency bandwidths, and relaxed latency make it possible to deploy a device on NB-IoT that lasts for years without a change of batteries. But that is a round estimate, and possibly an overestimate if your device tries to do too much, communicates too frequently, isn’t conservative with its data sharing, or otherwise doesn’t function efficiently.

These kinds of considerations can have a huge impact in your cellular device’s battery life, as well as the cost to deploy on a cellular network where data is at a premium. In the following sections, we’re going to focus on the first three of the primary conclusions of our White Paper, “Choosing the Right Route to Low Power Cellular IoT,” which have huge impacts on the effectiveness of your cellular design.