A visioner & technology enthusiast who envisions the unlimited possibilities of wi-fi & wireless technology combined with IoT devices.
Devices communicating with each other must have the same Wi-Fi versions (peer-to-peer connectivity) which vary depending on radio frequency bands they function on, occupied radio bandwidth, Max data speed it can transfer, and other technical details. Superior versions with multiple antennas to receive data at greater speeds with less interference. All versions go through IEEE 802.11 standards and the device receives appreciation as “Wi-Fi Certified “after meeting standards for interoperability and backward compatibility. Until the year 2017, the Wi-Fi Alliance includes 800+ organizations naming few popular ones like Nokia, 3com, Lucent, LG, Microsoft, Apple, Abbot, Sony, Cisco, and many other major companies. They distinguish versions with numbers along with technological developments like:
- Wi-Fi 4 - Device supporting 802.11a/ 802.11b/ 802.11g/ 802.11n.
- Wi-Fi 5 - Device supporting 802.11h/ 802.11i/ 802.11-2007/ 802.11-2012/ 802.11ac.
- Wi-Fi 6 - Device supporting 802.11ad/ 802.11af/ 802.11- 2016/ 802.11ah/ 802.11ai/ 802.11aj /802.11aq /802.11ax.
- Wi-Fi 7 - Device supporting 802.11be.
The 802.11 standard has a range of radio frequencies used in Wi-Fi communications, namely:
- 900 MHz - 802.11ah.
- 2.4 GHz - 802.11b/g/n/ax.
- 3.65 GHz - 802.11y.
- 4.9 GHz/ 5 GHz - 802.11j.
- 5 GHz - 802.11a/h/j/n/ac/ax.
- 5.9 GHz - 802.11p.
- 6 GHz - 802.11ax.
- 60 GHz - 802.11ad/ay.
Every country applies its protocols to the permitted channels, permitted users, and maximum power levels among these radio frequency ranges.
IoT - Internet of Things.
According to IBSG - The term IoT - Internet of Things got introduced in the year 2008 which means things getting connected and communicated through the internet than people. Things that include embedded systems, sensors, controllers, firmware, and multiple technologies which enable the exchange of data & signals between them like home appliances, security systems, health monitoring ECG machine, logistics, automation, enabling devices, and many other technologies which are controlled through smart devices like mobile phone, speakers, and such communicating devices.
Accessibility & Addressability.
To integrate things with the internet, the device needs an IP address, RFID tag, or Electronic product code, or URI (Uniform Resource Identifier), which is the unique identification number that identifies a logical resource using web technology. IPv4 permits 4.3 billion unique addresses, which restricts its usage in major IoT objects. Next-generation IPv6 enables large address space and auto-configuration options. To increase the possibility and successful adoption of IoT globally, IPv6 development would be critical.
IoT Device Connectivity Networks.
Short Range IoT Wireless Networks.
- Bluetooth network - Bluetooth mesh networking with many nodes and standardized application models for devices within a few meters.
- NFC - Devices probably within 4 cm can communicate with NFC (Near Field Communications) technology.
- Li-Fi - Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) is a wireless network technology analogous to Wi-Fi standard, but has more bandwidth and contains noticeable light communication.
- Wi-Fi - Network on par with IEEE 802.11 standard and enables devices to interact directly or indirectly through shared access points.
- ZigBee - A private space networking communication protocol based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard, providing high throughput with low data rate at a low cost and less power consumption.
- RFID - Devices with embedded Radio-Frequency Identifier tag (RFID) have data stored in them, which are read using an electromagnetic field technology like tags on clothes, groceries, and other items in a supermarket.
- Z-Wave - It’s a mesh network with low-energy radio waves primarily used in an appliance to appliance communication, for applications such as security and home automation purpose.
Medium Range IoT Wireless Networks.
- LTE Advanced - A network superior to 4G & LTE mobile network. Providing high-speed communication, high throughput with comprehensive coverage, and low latency.
- 5G - A must-have network for major IoT devices which are on the move continuously. For seamless connectivity and meet the requirements of numerous IoT devices, for high-speed communication 5G/ 6G/7G networks would be mandatory.
Long Range IoT Wireless Networks.
- LPWAN - Low Power Wide Area Networking (LPWAN) allows long-range communications with very little data sharing between devices. The cost of data transmission and power consumption is less compared to other networks. Such available protocols and technologies are RPMA, Sigfox, Weightless, LoRaWan, DASH7, CSS, MIoTy, and NB-IoT. Technology gets used in many areas, naming a few like sensors at society gates for closing/opening, the periphery of the vehicle body, smoke detection & alarm devices, gas & water metering.
- VSAT - For communicating TV dish antennas (narrow-band) and broadband data transmission through the satellite, Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), a satellite communication technology gets applied.
Wired IoT Communication Network.
- Ethernet - With the help of hubs and switches, devices communicate with each other through fiber-optic links and twisted pairs of wired networks.
- PLC Network - An old form of the network where instruments get connected with electrical wiring for transmitting power and data for example HomePlug or G.hn use (Power Line communication) PLC for communication of IoT devices with data rate up to 2 Gbits/sec. These include telephone wiring, power lines, coaxial wiring, and plastic optical fiber (POF). In achieving tremendous data speed like 5G, POF would be the fundamental change.
Wi-Fi Hardware parameters.
- Access Point (AP) - Access Point act as a network hub or Ethernet hub or switch which connects wireless devices to a nearby wired LAN. Also referred to as WAP (Wireless Access Point) permitting communications between wired and wireless devices.
- Wireless Adapter- Adapters help in connecting devices with wireless networks like External On-the-go Wi-Fi connectors for computers and laptops not having inbuilt internal Wi-Fi 802.11 adapters.
- Router- A wireless router assimilates a WAP, Ethernet switch, and routers internal software application, which offers DNS forwarding, IP routing, and NAT through a unified wide area network (WAN). A Wireless router can connect both wired and wireless devices through a cable modem, optical modem, or DSL modem. It can configure the settings through a single central utility.
- Bridge- A bridge differs from the access point, as an AP connects wireless devices to a single wired network. Bridging is connecting two networks to form a single network at the data-link layer over Wi-Fi, which refers to wireless distribution system standards (WDS). An external dongle is a perfect example, which is an On-The-Go wireless device. The Dongle can act as a hotspot and connect many wireless devices, but data speed gets distributed as well accordingly.
- Repeater- Wi-Fi repeater acts as a range extender of an existing Wi-Fi home or office network like a mobile network booster. As the network range gets extended maximum, transfer speed degrades subsequently.
- Embedded system- Embedded devices have two configurations for security reasons, push-button, and pin configurations. They are a secured Wi-Fi setup with limited graphical UI to connect to the internet and devices, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Various Wi-Fi manufacturers embed chips and modules for Wi-Fi like GainSpan. The best example would be a portable ECG machine monitoring a patient’s health at home and communicating with other devices with a doctor or mobile at another location through the internet.
Wi-Fi Generations & Development.
|Wi-Fi Generation||Max Linkrate||Development Year||Radio Frequency|
Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
600 to 9608 Mbit/s
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
600 to 9608 Mbit/s
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
433 to 6933 Mbit/s
Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)
72 to 600 Mbit/s
6 to 54 Mbit/s
6 to 54 Mbit/s
1 to 11 Mbit/s
1 to 2 Mbit/s
IoT Adoption Barriers.
There have been concerns for the security and privacy of devices & users along with its impact on the environment, and other concerns to satisfy like
- When multiple IoT devices communicate, the data gets stored in the cloud network for further processing, which can lead to data breaching multiple systems.
- Need to have an encrypted and defense-in-depth approach at every stage of data sharing.
- Considering minimal information for processing and storing data for a short period.
- A national and international policy on IoT including a consumer’s privacy and the right to share the data, security, and spectrum.
- An underdeveloped policy, inconsistent data evaluation, lack of infrastructure makes the business model a little uncertain at present. Despite solid IoT value proportion, there is a gap between the private and government sectors that can get filled with shared common characteristics.
- IoT devices may suffer from platform fragmentation, non-interoperability because of various IoT networks communication options like Bluetooth, LoRa, Cat M1, and other networks, with their versions developing. Vendors of IoT devices cannot update old devices with hardware and software, which can be vulnerable to devices.
- Storing bulk data generated by sensors over time in distributed systems or clouds for further analytics is also a challenge to overcome.
- Electronic hardware items used for manufacturing IoT devices like semiconductors, a variety of heavy & rare earth metals, and highly toxic chemicals which get dumped in regular landfills are also a societal question to resolve.
- According to a 2018 study, 70% of IoT deployments succeeded in the pilot projects, but could not scale up because of a lack of a commercial business model.
What is the future?
- According to a study from IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), the internet of things (IoT) or devices would touch 125 billion by 2030.
- 35+ billion IoT devices would get installed worldwide by the year 2021 and 75+ billion by the year 2025.
- 1 GB+ per second of data speed wirelessly to achieve the next developments of the wireless networks.
- For the success of IoT projects there requires a need for
- Separate research & advance segment.
- Prototype before scaling up commercially.
- Better defined IoT terminology and jargon.
- Project managers to well verse with interdisciplinary technical know-how.
- Roll out of 6G & 7G networks after 5G within 20 years.
- Wi-Fi 7 is at par with IEEE 802.11be standards commercially available for IoT & having a speed of 30 GB per second, which accounts for 3x the Wi-Fi 6 data transfer capability.
Next 50 Years!
There would be drastic changes in the digital world and things connected to the internet. Making monitoring of activities easier in every sector like healthcare, defense, real estate, agriculture, logistics, manufacturing, marine, and whatnot. Fatalities would get reduced. Welcoming a new world of the internet with new business models. All your electronic devices at home & office could get controlled from a single device like a mobile phone without being physically available using Wi-Fi. 6G & 7G wireless network to boost more objects with internet connectivity feature. IoT is cumulative of all technologies. Period!
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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Hiren V