Using LTE Connectivity to Enable IoT Development
Contributors: Tom Amershek, Sr. Mgr., IoT Solution Architecture & Development ; Robert Shidla, Sr. Mgr., IoT Solution Architecture & Development
Cellular connectivity can be a powerful partner for you as you develop your next IoT solution. It has several advantages over non-cellular, unlicensed spectrum options, which I discussed in an earlier post. In this post, I’ll discuss how 4G LTE networks can make IoT development projects more successful.
What are the key factors when selecting an LTE technology for an IoT developer?
The adage that “application drives infrastructure” applies for IoT solutions especially. For IoT applications, the desired throughput of the application during the device’s intended lifetime, and the addition of required features like voice will drive you toward which LTE connectivity Category is best for you. The most common LTE Categories suited for use in IoT implementations are Cat-4, Cat-1, Cat-M1, and NB-IoT. The following chart outlines some of the differences.
M2M or CDMA Replacement
Comparable to 4G
Comparable to 3G
Comparable to 2G
Comparable to 2G
Once you’ve decided which Categories allow the features you need, hardware costs and availability from your provider will help narrow the decision even further.
For example, if your application requires video over cellular, you could eliminate Cat-M1 and NB-IoT from the list immediately because low-throughput, half-duplex technology most likely cannot adequately meet the needs of such an application. From there, the quality of the video needed and the typical duration of the transfer may further steer you toward either a Cat-4 or Cat-1 device.
How can Verizon’s ThingSpace assist developers when using LTE for IoT?
From the Verizon ThingSpace page, the Devices section showcases hardware options for prototyping LTE solutions at Verizon. For customers who do not yet have an Enterprise account, ThingSpace offers the ability to request access to a trial line of service on which the LTE modem can be activated.
ThingSpace provides access to the Open Development program at Verizon where customers can register as hardware developers and receive guidance through both the development and network certification processes. Once certified, customers can choose to list devices in the Device Showcase - a searchable list of certified hardware solutions where other customers and partners can locate devices when searching by feature, application, vertical and other categories. Once the software development portion of the solution begins, ThingSpace offers REST APIs for managing connectivity (activations, rate plan changes, viewing usage, etc.), and APIs for SMS to and from those LTE devices.
Inside the Verizon ThingSpace community at thingspace.verizon.com, you’ll have a unique opportunity to get involved with the Verizon partnership ecosystem and take advantage of these resources.
Members of the community can:
- Share ideas, challenges, and inspiration with your peers
- Communicate with Verizon to chat with subject matter experts
- Read the latest news and information related to ThingSpace updates and developer events
To get into the ecosystem, and see how Verizon can help with your next development project, join the ThingSpace community today.