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4 Top Questions About the Future of Cellular Networks in IoT

Recently, Digi Product Marketing Manager, Andrew Lund and Senior Product Manager, Brent Nelson sat down with M2M Zone for an in-depth discussion about connectivity types in the IoT space, next-generation cellular networks, and what it all means for your IoT/M2M applications.

There were so many great questions from attendees that we wanted to share our top 4 questions with Andrew and Brent’s responses. Additionally, you can watch the webinar in full by clicking the video at the end of this post. 

1. How does LTE-Cat 1 compare with LTE-M and NB-IoT?

Brent: So LTE-Cat 1 is available now. LTE-Cat 1 is essentially 3G type of speed, it’s a scale down from typical LTE. It does not have the power saving modes that you will get in the two narrow band standards that I mentioned, but it does bring down the cost of the module significantly. So I view LTE 1, which again is available now, as kind of the first time you could put LTE in a machine-to-machine product and not price yourself out of the market because you really didn’t need LTE.

LTE-Cat M then drops down to 2G speeds, and that’s where you start seeing the power saving modes. And narrow band IoT is sub-2G speeds, it’s sub-100 kilobytes per second and an increased battery life. So that’s kind of the progression of the different networks.

2. So where will the IoT application typically reside in the LPWAN market? Will it be inside or outside the narrow band centered device, or both?

Brent: So in general, it’s always going to depend on the use case, as you get lower and lower power, you’ve got lower and lower processing. So you’ve got typically less intelligence on the edge and more intelligence in the cloud. It’s all about getting the data up to the cloud as inexpensively as possible.

Andrew: I was going to say the same thing. I think the other notion would be to take a security angle on it. Given that there may be limited power, limited processing, and limited memory on the edge, I think there’s also the notion that there’s limited ability to defend against security threats, potentially. And so, like you said, getting the data to the cloud in a safe and reliable way is the most important thing.

3. Will the new Cat M and NB-IoT use regular SIM cards?

Brent: Yes, although I think you’ll see much more of a move to the embedded SIMs as we go forward. I guess I’m not 100% positive of how the technology will support that, but I know generally in the market you’ll see more and more moves to embedded SIMs versus the standard kind of SIM that shows up in a credit card format.

4. Do the current M2M management platforms need to be upgraded to work with these new technologies?

Andrew: So, “upgraded” can mean a lot of different things. But it seems to me that to the extent that a new LPWAN technology provides insight into what’s going on at the network level, at the physical level in terms of RF quality, packet loss latency, and so forth. If there’s something interesting that LPWAN technology can tell a management platform about what’s going on in the field, then that management platform would need to be upgraded to take full advantage of that. That’s how I would approach that.

Brent: The management platforms understand that these devices are not always reachable. And things like timeouts where I didn’t get a response versus in this amount of time, when you get to those lower power, higher latency devices that might break your system. And we see that as we look at our router products which are connected all the time versus our battery-powered IoT products which connect very rarely.

The management platforms can handle it, but sometimes the mentality of the user can’t because they expect things to be connected all the time, and that’s just not going to be the case with the battery IoT products.

And that might be the case with certain, even like SCADA systems that expect the device to be connected all the time. And if it’s not, they error out. So I can see some updates required in those type of systems.

 

Watch the full webinar below:

3 Reasons Wireless is a Great Solution for Demanding Conditions

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The following is an excerpt from our recent brief, Purpose-Built for Industrial Applications. Industrial ecosystems can be unpredictable and are often built in challenging locations. Digi’s wireless solutions help keep industrial applications connected and communicating in the most demanding conditions.

Creating a connected industrial ecosystem requires the installation of a communication infrastructure to accommodate the delivery of data to and from all your facilities and remote assets. Digi communication solutions help you expand remote monitoring into areas that are difficult to access, where power is not available, and even to locations that are outside of your normal network range.

 

 

1. Safe and steady wireless communication
Wireless connectivity and cloud-based data storage solutions are making industrial process control systems more productive, more responsive and safer. And it all depends on communication: machines talking to each other—and to users—through wireless communication networks. Digi International provides industrial-grade routers and gateways for secure and reliable network communications. Connectivity is easy with boxed solutions from Digi that are ready-made for diverse environments, from automation and low power to no power, and with or without cellular coverage.

2. Rugged and safety-minded
Inside and out, Digi products are made to withstand the harsh realities of process industries, including temperature extremes, wet/damp conditions and exposure to caustic chemicals and off-gassing. Features like ruggedized enclosures and DIN rail mounting mean you can install our devices anywhere in minutes, and then trust they will provide years of dependable data communication. Bottom line: your employees will spend less time installing, maintaining and reading devices in dangerous or remote areas.

3. Fortified against security threats
Digi LTE routers support advanced VPN, firewall, encryption and authentication tools to ensure the highest cyber security protection standards. In addition to individual software elements, Digi Remote Manager ® provides a centralized, scalable tool for ensuring security across the entire network of remote devices. It is hosted in SSAE-16 certified facilities and is ISO 27001 certified. In many products, Digi TrustFence™ provides built-in security, giving you immediate access to critical features including secure connections, authenticated boot, encrypted data storage, access-controlled ports, secure software updates, and seamless integration of the dedicated on-module Secure Element (SE). Device Security: Where it matters the most, Digi products include physical security features that help deter hands-on tampering and can alert your team to security breaches. Security features may include SIM covers, specialized screws and lockable enclosures.

TO LEARN MORE, READ THE FULL BRIEF HERE >>

 

Digi System on Module and Avancen Enhance Oral Pain Medication Delivery

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avacen1-smOn a daily basis hospital staff members are outnumbered by patients, which results in heavy workloads and delayed tasks. This has become an agonizing issue when it involves delivering oral pain medication to a patient that is suffering, because as we all know, a minute in pain actually feels like 10 minutes. Even under optimal conditions it can take an average of 10 plus minutes after pressing the call button for a patient to receive painkilling medication.
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This is what inspired Avancen to create the world’s first wireless, patient controlled analgesia (PCA) device called Medication on Demand (MOD®). The MOD® is equipped with the Digi RCM6600W system-on-module (SOM) for built-in intelligence, programmability and WiFi connectivity. This FDA approved device is used in hospitals and clinics saving time and making patients more comfortable in hospitals and clinics across the country.

Read more about the Avancen success story here>>

Digi ConnectCore® for i.MX6UL Starter Kit is Now Available!

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The Starter Kit for evaluating the new Digi ConnectCore® for i.MX6UL System-on-Module (SOM) is now available. It delivers an extremely compact and flexible development and rapid prototyping kit as well as a reference design for the Digi ConnectCore® for i.MX6UL, which is suited for use in a wide range of connected applications.

The Starter Board combines a Digi ConnectCore® 6UL SOM built on the low-power NXP i.MX6UL application processor, 256 MB flash, 256 MB RAM, integrated 10/100 Mbit Ethernet, precc-6ul-starter-kit-1-certified dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN + Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity with an integrated high-efficiency antenna and a focused set of key peripheral interfaces.

The simplified but also rugged board design offers USB host/device connections, microSD storage and embedded expansion connectors for development and prototyping purposes. These include Grove
connectors, which allow you to instantly connect and integrate a wide range of compatible off-the-shelf sensors and peripherals, effortlessly.

Digi’s Yocto Project Linux BSP and software support is provided with full source code access straight out of the box. Whether you are building a connected device for medical, healthcare, energy or industrial applications, or prototyping new connected product concepts, the Digi ConnectCore® for i.MX6UL Starter Kit is the ideal platform to get you started. And if you need additional help with your project, Digi also offers professional support and design services to help you go to market smarter and faster.

Click here to learn more about the Digi ConnectCore® for i.MX6UL and buy your Starter Kit today!

The U.S. Bank Stadium is Set Up for Success with Digi-Equipped Daktronics Scoreboard and Timing System

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As most football fans know, nothing is more mission critical than instantaneous score and time keeping to deliver a successful game-day experience. The Daktronics scoreboard and timing solutions installed at the U.S. Bank Stadium are equipped with Digi Neo ® PCI Express serial port to ensure accurate information is being sent to all the stadium’s scoreboards and clocks in a timely manner.

Digi Neo ® PCI Express serial port was chosen because it outperformed other solutions during testing and for its reliability. This reliability has been established by providing mission-critical connections for many of Minnesota’s successful athletic venues like Target Field (Minnesota Twins), Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota Wild) and TCF Bank Stadium (University of Minnesota), with new equipment currently being installed at Target Center (Minnesota Timberwolves.) Not to mention, Daktronics solutions utilizing Digi connectivity solutions are in use at half of all MLS facilities, 75 percent of NBA facilities, 80 percent of NHL and NFL facilities, and 100 percent of MLB facilities!

Read more here about how Daktronics and Digi Neo ® PCI Express serial port delivers winning solutions for U.S. Bank Stadium.

Traffic Flows Better with Digi TransPort® WR31

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In a recent article for Network World, Deepak Puri nicely summarizes how the Internet of Things is improving the flow of traffic in smart cities. He references data from the Economist that sitting in traffic costs Americans $1700 per year in lost productivity and gas while our cars idle on the freeway (not to mention the stress and anxiety!).

Traffic on Motorway at Rush Hour in Berlin, GermanyBut smart cities are reducing those costs by connecting sensors such as inductive loops buried in the roadway, traffic cameras, and dynamic messages boards, smart cities around the world are improving the flow of traffic.

What’s more, smart cities can take advantage of these connected assets, and improve security and be more efficient in dispatching highway patrol or a service truck for a stalled vehicle. With high-bandwidth 4G LTE connections, Digi TransPort WR31 is helping smart cities around the globe connect their critical infrastructure in ways that improve services that ultimately makes our commute to work in the morning a little less stressful.

Learn more about how smart cities are connecting their critical infrastructure with Digi TransPort WR31>>

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