As part of our investigation of IoT and video, the question of wireless network readiness comes to mind. Will today and tomorrow’s network be ready to forecast BILLIONS of connected devices? We take a closer look.
As noted in my previous blog, last month we were joined by Dean Bubley, one of the industry’s well-known analysts and futurists for a webinar looking at the intersection between IoT systems and video. In that blog, I shared a summary of Dean’s position that there are three main areas of influence that come from IoT and video applications. Dean also points out that an important part of the IoT and video momentum comes from low-cost sensors and displays that are driving down the entry point for new innovations.
As part of the discussion, Dean poses a valid question: With all the new IoT and video applications, are the networks ready for the task?
Video demands significantly more bandwidth than a simple temperature sensor and the remote and mobile use cases are creating new opportunities and challenges for communications service providers. As Dean points out in his paper, legacy, low-speed wireless network technologies, including 2.5G and 3G are sufficient for low-bandwidth applications, but don’t provide the bandwidth or reliability for video. Thus, the keen interest in 4G and WiFi networks today and 5G networks in the future.
A managed wide-area WiFi network is often deployed in municipal, large venue, enterprise, or campus-wide deployments where hop distances are under a mile. Beyond these distances, antenna costs rise and reliability falls.
Consumer-grade WiFi found in most small businesses or home deployments can handle simple video security or personal communications applications. Beyond that, performance may be a challenge, suffering from poor (or non-existent) site design, interference from neighbors, or security holes.
Many of the 4G wireless carriers are aggressively courting the IoT community, seeing connected devices as a potential gold mine for new subscriptions. Until recently, limited data plans capped the practicability of high-bandwidth video applications over 4G networks. I suspect the recent shift to 4G unlimited data plans are going to change the economics and open new opportunities for remote and 4G mobile devices.
However, as the 4G spectrum and towers get increasingly congested, video solution designers will have to decide whether 4G, WiFi, or the anticipated 5G networks will meet the needs of their application.
You can listen to the recording of the webinar or download Dean’s paper– request your copy.