What's best for long-range M2M: 2G/3G, LTE or Weightless?

March 03, 2014 //By Denis Bidinost, CEO, NextG-Com
What's best for long-range M2M: 2G/3G, LTE or Weightless?
Although M2M is often talked about as if it were a single technology, it is actually a highly fragmented application space served by a patchwork of complementary and sometimes competing technology standards.

It covers a number of different markets and verticals that have diverse specifications for parameters that include throughput, mobility, power, cost, real-time application and ease of deployment. So which is the best technology to use for M2M?

Although short range communications, served by technologies such as ZigBee, Bluetooth-LE and Wi-Fi, represent an important part of the M2M connectivity domain, long range cellular standards are more appropriate for a wide range of applications and markets, and are expected to grow substantially over the next year.

The reasons for using cellular for M2M obviously include mobility and coverage, but cellular technology also offers advantages to the operator in terms of widespread deployment and ease of device management. Nevertheless it is clear that M2M poses many additional challenges to traditional cellular networks that use technologies like GSM, UMTS and LTE. In particular, some M2M use cases require devices to be deployed deep in buildings, where the coverage limitations of cellular technologies can adversely impact deployment feasibility and costs. Many applications also require battery-operated equipment ideally to survive for many years, which could be critical in certain application domains in order to keep down deployment and maintenance costs. Minimising the cost of the devices is also an important enabler for the widespread deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) business model.

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