IoT (Internet Of Things)





What is IoT ?


For the past several month (as of Jan 2015), I have been hearing two words that everybody was talking about but nothing is clear about it in terms of technical details. One of them are 5G and the other is IoT (Internet of Things). I have been following up various news about 5G and had a dedicated section for 5G and now I am about to talk about IoT.


What is IoT ? It stands for Internet of Things. Basic idea is to connect EVERYTHING that you can think of by Internet. One small snapshot of connection would be as shown below.



I am using my own color coding to explain the situation in more detail.

  • Dotted Red :This is cellular link (meaning communication between cellular network and the device). By this link, I tried to indicate what 5G people call 'eMBB' (Enhanced Mobile Broadband) and URLLC(Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communication). You may not call this type of communication as a typical IoT, but I think some use case of this type of communication can be categorized as IoT. That's why I put some example in this illustration. However this link requires extremly short latency (remote control over celluar network) or extremely high thoughput (downloading HD TV without compression). As of now (Oct 2015), this link would be difficult to be implemented. This link are one of the main target/motivation for 5G.
  • Dotted Green : By this link, I wanted to indicated a communication in which a lot of small end device(e.g, Water meter, power meter etc) directly communicates with a cellular network transmitting very low throughput data. This link will be the main target for LTE Cat 0,1,LTE-M,MTC or NB-IoT(NB-LTE).
  • Solid Red : This is also cellular link (meaning communication between cellular network and the device). But you might have already seen some of the application being used even now (Oct 2015) and the type of celluar technology is covering the whole range from 2G(GSM, CDMA),3G (WCDMA) through 4G (LTE). Relatively latest technology (as of Oct 2015) would be Category 3 LTE, but in most case this can be taken as too expensive solution. It start moving towards Category 1 and Category 0. I think you would see many Category 1 devices from next year (2016) and Category 0 devices from late next year (2016) or early 2017 in the market. Currently, Category 0 activity is being done at mobile baseband chipset level.
  • Solid Bule : This is a kind of short range communication being used between the device and a Gateway. Various communication technologies are used in this area. Probably ZigBee or similar technology has been used in most case, but recently there has been activities moving towards IEEE 802.15 based communication (e.g, 6 LoPAN). This type of communication would be more dominent in industrial IoT (e.g, Sensor network in a factory)
  • Solid Green : This represents a backhaul line connecting cellular tower or core network data pipe. If IoT is realized as everybody says/hopes, the amount of traffic flowing through this line would be enormous and this path should be wide enough to handle all those traffics. Though may not be visible to most of celluar people, this part is one of the most actively working area recently (as of late 2015).
  • Solid Violet : This represents Non-Celluar LPWAN like LoRa, SigFox etc.


You might have different interests in type of links depending on which industry you are working in. Personally I am more interested in solid red and dotted red line since I am in this area. It would be interesting to see which line gets thicker and which line gets thiner as time goes on.



Are We Ready ?


Goal for IoT is clear. That's is.. 'Connect Everything by Internet'. The question is "Are we ready for this technicaly ?",


"Do we have all the technical compoents to achive the goal ?".


The answer is "NOT YET !" (But I will put down some of the recents observation below the following illustration)


Followings are some of the questions that pops up in my mind and I think we need to have clear answers at least to these questions before we start tyring to make any specific things.


But don't be disappointed too much. I think IoT is at least a little bit better than 5G in terms of technical details :).  We start having some industry standards for this and I think I can find some answers (partial answers) to thease questions. I will keep posting pages that would provide answers to these questions. Even though there is no perfect answers, it is always good practice for you to have your own questions before you study/develope anything in engineering.




Are you confused ?


Yes, I am confused.

For a while, I have been searching/watching/reading/devouring YouTube, web pages, WhitePapers and Specification documents about IoT. When you start reading about IoT, I am pretty sure that you will see some words about M2M and now start searching about M2M. And when you searching M2M and reading them, I am pretty sure that you will hear something about MTC, D2D. Then while I was googling about MTC, D2D and I started hearing about LTN and realized that even ETSI specification are released about LTN.

In addition to Cellular based IoT/M2M, many kinds of other network and short range wireless protocols that are designed for IoT/M2M or revised from existing application for IoT/M2M application, now we have even more confusing bubbles as illustrated below. If you are confused with this diagram, I would say my mission accomplished. This specific section is to confuse you :).  

Read through other sections and pages and get back to this sometimes. If this does not confuse you any further, your study on IoT is done :)



I think I start understanding what each of these are talking about on its own, but I am still confused about how all of these interplay each other.

For now, in stead of trying too hard to get out of the unclear status I just decided to keep accumulating whatever I find. I am pretty sure that things would be clear by itself when I just have enough information/data compiled. This is how human brain works.



Reference (documents/video)


[1]  M2M Summit 2014 | Joachim Dressler: Is LTE changing the M2M world?

[2]  Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Tutorial Trailer for IEEE ComSoc Tutorial Now

[3]  What is M2M?

[4]  NB-IOT - Enabling New Business Opportunities (HUAWEI)