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Wireless modules and protocols of IoT

Jun 22, 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here, it’s huge, and it’s only going to get more massive as time goes on. IoT has been described as the fourth Industrial Revolution. And if all the research and speculation is accurate from Gartner, we’re going to be seeing at least 26 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020.


And wireless connectivity is a core foundation of any IoT product, allowing a device to sense its surroundings, collect data, and send it off to the cloud for interpretation. All of this is made possible through a variety of wireless modules and RF circuits, but how are you going to find room for all of them?


These days there’s a ton of off-the-shelf modules and RF components that are designed for IoT and wearable products. These parts keep their footprints as small as possible while still including all the functionality you need. What wireless module and protocol you decide to use in your PCB will ultimately boil down to several factors, including required range, data transfer speeds, security requirements, and power consumption. Chances are you’ll be using one or many of these protocols to get the job done:

·Infrastructure – 6LowPAN, IPv4/IPv6, RPL

·Identification – EPC, uCode, IPv6, URIs

·Communication & Transport – WiFi, Bluetooth, LP WAN

·Discovery – Physical Web, mDNS, DNS-SD

·Data – MQTT, CoAP, AMQP, Websocket, Node

·Device Management – TR-069, OMA-DM

As you might imagine, this list is by no means exhaustive. There are a ton of other IoT protocols out there, and plenty more in development as the needs of our connected future changes. We do wonder, will there ever be one wireless protocol to rule the future of IoT? Probably not. With every device having different needs in power consumption, range, and data transfer, you’ll likely always find yourself mixing and matching protocols and modules depending on your requirements.


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