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What are the Differences Between LTE-M and NB-IoT Cellular Protocols?

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New cellular protocols are set to roll out in 2017 to provide low power and low cost cellular connectivity for industrial Internet of Things applications. Digi Chief Innovator, Rob Faludi, explains both LTE-M and NB-IoT low bandwidth protocols by breaking down the differences between the two and sharing some examples of their use in industrial applications.

Watch the video to learn more and get started with cellular connectivity today with the Digi XBee Cellular Development Kit.

Do you have a topic you’d like to see an Internet of Things expert cover? Let us know in the comments below.

Make the Most of Your Automobile with Macchina M2 and Cellular Connectivity

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Regardless of our age, we can all attest to the advancements the automobile industry has made throughout its history, but the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated this change even more with smart cars, hybrid and fully electric cars, and strides being made towards to self-driving cars. It is truly fascinating and our imaginations are sparked with automotive innovation on all scales from green transportation to open-source development platforms, like M2 by Machinna.

Macchina M2 is an open source automotive interface that allows car hobbyists, enthusiasts, and professionals the creative ability to program a device and service into the automotive aftermarket. This ‘one-to-many’ interface allows engineers to design a single device that will sync with different firmware and software architecture. The device includes an Arduino board, equipped with a USB port, LEDs, SD card slot, built in EEPROM, and is compatible with Digi XBee. This socket compatibility combined with the Digi XBee family footprint, users can embed cellular connectivity with Digi XBee cellular. This means makers can bypass complicated end-device certifications and provides end-users the option to upload and download live data. Check out the First Look: Macchina M2 article on Hackaday for more software and hardware design details.

We are excited to partner with this project  and our community to bring embedded cellular IoT innovation to the automotive industry. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to connect Macchina to Digi XBee Cellular, and let us know what you think!

4 Top Questions About the Future of Cellular Networks in IoT

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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:

5 Lessons Learned from the Mirai DDoS Attack

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Security is always top of mind when it comes to IoT devices and applications. The recent Mirai DDoS attack in October 2016 is an important reminder that IoT device manufacturers—and consumers—need to be vigilant with security, both out of the box and at home.

Recently, Andrew Lund, Digi’s Product Marketing Manager for Wireless M2M and IoT, shared his thoughts with IoT Evolution on the Mirai attack and what lessons could be learned to help improve security for IoT devices and applications. Below is an excerpt of five of Andrew’s best practices from IoT Evolution’s piece, which you can read in full here.

  1. Change default passwords:
    Given the attack vector that Mirai used, it’s clear that one area Device OEMs can make design decisions to increase security is with respect to passwords. The days of leaving the default password unchanged are over, so manufacturers must either force users to change passwords or create a “default” passwords that are unique to each individual IoT device.
  2. Don’t allow insecure ingress protocols:
    Mirai malware contains “killer” scripts that remove other worms and Trojans, allowing Mirai to maximize its use of the infected host device. But Mirai also goes one step further and closes processes that are used for remote ingress attempts, like Telnet, SSH, and HTTP.
  3. Secure remote management tools:
    Efficient, cost-effective method of remotely monitoring, updating and managing connected devices. Users can set performance parameters for healthy devices and create reports and alarms for suspicious activity. Using a remote manager that incorporates PCI-DSS and other relevant security certifications in the cloud such as HIPAA and NIST allow users to define a device profile, assign the profile to all devices in a group, and monitor and auto-remediate any variances. The best remote management tools can also restrict incoming traffic to only allow SSL connections, eliminating unencrypted TCP connections.
  4. Firmware updates:
    Firmware updates must be completed securely (authentication) and automatically, or at a minimum, users must be notified/prompted when a new firmware update is available.
  5. Packet encryption:
    This consists of basic encryption, such as FIPS-197/AES, to protect messages from unauthorized viewing or malicious changes. This method is easy to implement and use, especially in conjunction with private keys.

TO LEARN MORE, READ THE FULL POST HERE >>

Big Data and IoT Team Up for the Gaming and Lottery Industries

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Online gaming and virtual gambling have risen significantly due to increased mobile accessibility, social media, technology advancements and expanded internet connectivity. Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) are proving to be even more of a game changer for these industries by collecting large amounts of data, from a variety of gameplay data sources, while rapidly connecting and communicating to thousands of sites.

You may experience this IoT evolution when you are playing Words With Friends® on your smartphone with college classmates across the country, or when you play poker on your computer with complete strangers across the globe. Regardless of your gaming or gambling experience, we all know how critical real-time connection is when we are trying to win. Now translate those wins into $6 billion of revenue, and the stakes of rapid connectivity are significantly heightened like for the world’s largest slot machine manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) . With more than 400,000 point-of-sale devices in 100 countries, watch the video below to learn why IGT turned to Digi TransPort® LTE wireless routers to keep those bets and wagers flowing:

The 10 Security Factors Every Device Designer Should Consider

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The following is an excerpt from our recent whitepaper, IoT Device Security, Built-in, Not Bolt-on: The 10 Security Factors Every Device Designer Should Consider. This guide was written to help you navigate security consideration before they become threats, so you can get back to designing the best IoT product or application possible.

The Rising Tide of Security Threats

Limited only by designers’ imaginations, the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how people live. From medical devices and fitness trackers to tank sensors, smart thermostats, intelligent streetlights, water monitors, and more, the IoT is in more places than ever.

However, by relying on wireless networks, those hundreds of millions of IoT devices present a greater “attack surface,” making them tempting frontline targets for competitors, hackers, disgruntled employees, and other bad actors. Unfortunately, the tools and techniques we’ve applied to PC/smartphone platforms often don’t work well in the IoT, for several reasons:

  • Resource Limitations – Small-footprint IoT devices typically have far less battery power, processing speed and memory. They lack the power and sophistication required to support traditional security measures.
  • Data Complacency – Many companies view the data in their IoT networks as mundane and having little intrinsic value outside the organization. But many breaches are motivated by other factors, such as competitive advantage, social status, or revenge. The data isn’t the goal – the hack is.
  • Availability of Tools– The tools and expertise to analyze and modify embedded/IoT devices are widely available – even to hobbyists.
  • No Physical Access Required– One of the advantages of the IoT is that devices can be remotely configured/upgraded without the need for dispatching a truck. However, thanks to wireless connections, hackers don’t need physical access to devices such as USB or other I/O ports.
  • Interface Differences– Embedded devices have no GUIs, and error messages can be as basic as a coded series of beeps or flashing lights. This is particularly true for security status and control functions allowing for security alarms to be overlooked.
  • Hardwired Ports– These provide unfortunate opportunities for compromise. IoT solutions can’t simply implement a strong password over a TLS connection – the most common approach for PC/Internet applications.

IoT solutions need a different approach and the effort required to identify and mitigate unique security risks in embedded systems is often underestimated, if not overlooked entirely.

>> To learn more, read the full whitepaper here.

Selecting the Right Technology for Your Internet of Things Application

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Developing a successful Internet of Things (IoT) application starts with selecting the right technology for your product or project. The two videos below were created to get you in the know and on the right path in less than a few minutes each.

Mesh Networking Vs. Cellular Technology for IoT Applications

How do you choose between mesh networks and new LTE networks such as Cat 1, Cat M1, and NB-IOT?

IoT expert and Digi Chief Innovation Officer, Rob Faludi, explains the advantages and disadvantages of mesh networking and cellular networking, so you can identify the right solution for your application.

 

Choosing the Right Mesh Networking Technology for Your Application

If you’re still determining if mesh networking technology is the right solution for your application, Faludi, digs deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of mesh networking protocols specific to IoT applications.

When working with different IoT applications it is important to know the difference between point-to-multipoint networks and mesh networks, along with the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mesh networks like ZigBee, DigiMesh, and Thread.

Do you have a topic you’d like to see an Internet of Things expert cover? Let us know in the comments below.

3 Holiday DIY Internet of Things Projects

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the holidays are officially in full swing. To help get you in the holiday spirit, we’ve curated some of our favorite connected creations that take holiday celebration to the next level.

Here are some of our favorite Internet of Things-powered projects to keep you occupied this holiday season.

Enjoy!

Internet of Things (IoT) meets the Internet of Holidays (IoH)

The OpenDNS Security Labs team took a look at IoT patterns throughout the holiday season and examines the patterns that emerged.

Internet of Things Christmas Tree

Make your own IoT Christmas tree with this handy how-to from our friends at Instructables!

The IoT Holiday Lights Project

Find out what Twitter, a Christmas tree, and minions all have in common with this clever IoT holiday project.


Have you seen a worthy holiday IoT project? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll add it to the list!

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