Article | January 8, 2013

Does M2M/IoT – The Internet of Things – Need Its Own Network?

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Stein Soelberg

In this article, Stein Soelberg, Director of Marketing at KORE Telematics discusses the options put forth by experts and thought leaders in the M2M industry regarding the best way to use the valuable, expensive-to-procure, and highly regulated radio spectrum available for M2M connectivity. With AT&T putting an end to its 2G network in 2017, questions about the best options to optimize valuable spectrum for M2M and whether M2M needs its own network have risen. Reliable, secure, and high-speed/high-performance M2M connectivity requires a high quality of service and specific network optimization, so finding answers to these questions is extremely important.

The following four options are presented in this article with the goal being to list the available options and seek new ones, not to argue which option is better. It is noted that all these options have pros and cons that individuals have to weight and decide for themselves. Here is an overview of the four options:

  • Option 1: You can’t fight progress – make the appropriate investment in device upgrades and network equipment to support 3G, 4G and subsequent spectrum re-grooming.
  • Option 2: Carve out a small and finite (meaning limited) range of spectrum to dedicated exclusively to M2M and allow 2G devices to continue operating in this specifically dedicated spectrum range.
  • Option 3: Build out a new, alternate network dedicated to M2M on its own frequency.  Case in point a French startup named Sigfox is proposing to do just this.
  • Option 4: Find “new” or unused spectrum – somehow, some way – that can be dedicated to M2M connectivity without interfering with other technology avoiding the perils encountered, for example, with LightSquared’s interference with GPS signals.

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