IoT Radio Technologies comparison

To help you choose the best radio technology for your IoT solution, we have compared all the possibilities available on the market. Read our overview.

23th February 2018

Maciej Rygielski

IoT radio technologies

Selection of radio technology for IoT solution is a tough decision and must be taken up wisely. It all comes down to four basic factors:

1. Cost of module

2. Cost of transmission

3. Data type

4. Energy consumption

IoT Engineers usually pick one of the popular radio technologies or propose hybrid solutions, which are most cost efficient.

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Radio technologies review

Radio technologies review
Bluetooth Low Energy
LTE
LoRa
Sigfox
Business summary Small range solution which allows to transmit audio-video signal. No cost for communication Long range solution, with high data band. High connectivity cost and high module cost Big range solution with low module cost, no transmission cost and data rate fitting majority of IoT solutions Low-cost solution for obtaining simple data from units in wider area (like gps location, temperature, etc.) For
sending small, infrequent chunks of data in one direction
Sample Use Cases Monitoring of machines in a small part of facility (complex sensor data, even audio-video) Real life remote audio-video streaming. Sending multiple sensor data with high frequency. Monitoring of machines – multiple sensor data in large facilities or in wide rural area (power consumption, temperature,
etc.)
Single Sensor monitoring single in very wide areas, Monitoring temperature in numerous locations
Technical
Range 50-150m
Better range if Bluetooth 5 is used
35km max for GSM 2-5km (urban environment), 15km (suburban environment) 30-50km (rural environments), 3-10km (urban environments)
Data rate – content Voice, pictures, low quality video, text data Voice, pictures, high quality video, text data Short text data Short text data
Data rate – values 1Mbps (Smart/BLE)
Better data rate if Bluetooth 5 is used
35-170kps (GPRS),
120-384kbps (EDGE),
384Kbps-2Mbps (UMTS), 600kbps-10Mbps (HSPA),
3-10Mbps (LTE) – video streaming in high quality
0.3-50 kbps. 140 message per hour,
1message=12Bytes
Costs1
Cost of connectivity1 Free 3-5$/unit/month – strongly depends on the country Private – Free
Public (LoRaWAN)- small number of operators – pricing offer often do not exist yet
<1$???/month for multiple units
Cost of infrastruture1 No cost No cost LoRa P2P has no infrastructure cost For LoraWAN operators single gateway cost is 230-1200 EUR No cost
Cost of module 5-30$ 30-50$ 9-12$ 5-10$
Power consumption [mW] 10–500 5000 100 50
Security
Data Security Secure Secure Secure – Messages are visible for everyone, but content may be secured(encrypted) Secure
Jamming Security – cost of jamming 500$ to jam 15m radius 650$ to jam a single gateway 30EUR7 No data
Connectivity in motion (for example in cars) Possible Possible Possible Moderate efficiency8
Other
Geographical constraints Global availability, licence free radio frequency ranges GSM network is has high coverage in majority of the countries, GSM frequencies are licensed USA, EU and China have different frequency usage for LoRa. In India LoRa is partially in licensed frequencies Limited Coverage around the globe. See this link4

Hybrid solutions are most cost efficient

Most common IoT scenarois – multiple sensor data collected by multiple units spread around one facility or small area can be easily optimised in terms of cost by making hybrid solutions

1. LTE Gateway + LoRa

2 . LTE Gateway + Bluetooth

3. Land line/WiFi + LoRa

4. Land line/WiFi + Bluetooth

LoRa

Sources:

www.link-labs.com/blog/costs-in-iot-lte-m-vs.-nb-iot-vs.-sigfox-vs.-lora

www.link-labs.com/blog/sigfox-vs-lora

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth

docs.mbed.com/docs/lora-with-mbed/en/latest/intro-to-lora

www.sigfox.com/en/coverage

www.rfsafe.com/study-shows-30-mins-exposure-4g-lte-cell-phone-radiation-alters-brain-activity

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Bluetooth_Low_Energy

lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/ 123456789/587540/1/ camera_ready.pdf

iot-daily.com/2015/03/13/sigfox-pros-and-cons

niviuk.free.fr/lte_band.php

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DASH7

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Paweł Skiba

Paweł Skiba

IoT Solution Architect