As we know, the sunset of 3G networks has very much become a reality. And although many companies will have been planning their pivot for some time, others will naturally be slightly behind. This change necessitates that companies all over the world re-evaluate their IoT connectivity options to ensure seamless operations and future-proof their systems. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the different alternatives available to companies in the wake of 3G network sunsetting.
Transition to 4G LTE
One of the most straightforward options for companies currently using 3G for IoT connectivity is to migrate to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. 4G LTE offers faster speeds, lower latency, and enhanced capacity compared to its predecessor. This transition enables businesses to continue leveraging cellular connectivity for their IoT devices, ensuring smooth operations and reliable data transmission. Additionally, 4G LTE networks often provide improved coverage in remote areas, expanding the reach of IoT deployments.
Embrace NB-IoT and LTE-M
Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M (Long Term Evolution for Machines) are low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies specifically designed for IoT applications. These technologies offer extended coverage, improved battery life, and lower costs compared to traditional cellular networks. NB-IoT is ideal for stationary, low-bandwidth IoT devices, while LTE-M is suitable for devices requiring moderate mobility and higher bandwidth. Migrating to NB-IoT or LTE-M allows companies to optimise their IoT deployments for specific use cases, reducing power consumption and connectivity expenses.
Shift to 5G
While 5G networks are still in the early stages of deployment, they hold great promise for IoT connectivity. With significantly faster speeds, ultra-low latency, and massive device connectivity, 5G is set to transform the IoT landscape. As companies plan for the future, considering the migration to 5G can provide long-term benefits. 5G networks will enable more advanced IoT applications, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and industrial automation. However, it’s important to note that 5G infrastructure is not yet as widespread as 4G, and coverage may vary across different regions.
Explore private IoT networks
Companies with specific connectivity requirements, extensive IoT deployments, or those operating in remote areas may consider establishing private IoT networks. Private networks provide complete control over the infrastructure, ensuring data security, reliability, and customisation. They can be built using various technologies such as Wi-Fi, LoRaWAN, Sigfox, or even leveraging private cellular networks like Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Deploying a private IoT network grants businesses the flexibility to tailor connectivity to their unique needs and circumvent potential limitations of public networks.
Getting ahead of the curve with eSIM for IoT
The use of eSIM empowers IoT devices to seamlessly switch between different networks and technologies. This capability enables companies to choose the most suitable connectivity option for each device or location. For instance, devices can switch between 4G LTE, NB-IoT, LTE-M, or even future-proof themselves for 5G networks, depending on the requirements of their specific IoT use cases. This flexibility ensures optimal connectivity performance and adaptability to changing network landscapes.
Hybrid connectivity approaches
In certain cases, a combination of different connectivity options may be the most effective solution. Hybrid connectivity allows companies to optimise IoT deployments by leveraging multiple technologies simultaneously. For instance, critical devices can be connected via private networks for added security and reliability, while less critical devices can utilise public cellular networks or LPWAN technologies to reduce costs. This approach provides the flexibility to choose the most suitable connectivity option for each device or use case, ensuring efficient operations and cost-effective connectivity.
The sunset of 3G networks serves as a catalyst for companies to evaluate their IoT connectivity strategies. As businesses strive to stay ahead in the ever-evolving IoT landscape, they have several alternatives to explore. Whether migrating to 4G LTE, embracing LPWAN technologies like NB-IoT and LTE-M, considering the potential of 5G, looking at eSIM for IoT, establishing private networks, or implementing hybrid connectivity approaches, there are plenty of options for companies who are yet to migrate.
We’ll just leave this here…
OV can help future-proof your IoT technology during and post the 2G and 3G sunsetting activity. To learn more about how we can do this, talk to one of our team today. And to keep an eye on who is sunsetting what, and when – check out this handy guide.