A large sign at the curb greets arrivals at Building 9 of the Cisco Systems campus in San Jose, California, on Oct. 5, 2015. Credit: Stephen Lawson
Cisco Systems just voted for one of the many technologies that could make your next IoT device networkable.
On Tuesday, Cisco unveiled a gateway between the LORaWAN low-power wireless network and a large cable such as an Ethernet cable. The gateway can receive information from sensors and other small IoT devices and send the information back to the enterprise or the cloud.
This is Cisco's first commercial attempt at LPWAN (low power, wide area networks) technology, targeting a new generation of infrastructure designed for small and power-hungry end-devices that can not use cellular networks.
Many of these technologies are competing to become LPWAN's choice for business or service providers. LoRawan, an industry standard based on the LoRa consortium, is a leader in the competition. Proprietary networks from other companies, such as SigFox and Ingenu, are also trying to play that role.
Another LPWAN system, NB-IoT ?, is also shrouded in this rapidly evolving market. Since NB-IoT is derived from LTE technology, it can be easily deployed on the operator's network. NB-IoT just established the standard, looking forward to large-scale market next year. But there is a place NB-IoT can not enter, that is, business. As a result, LoRa technology will have a lofty promise of commercial deployment of its own network infrastructure.
Ovum analyst Daryl Schoolar said one way of looking at NB-IOT and other LpWAN technologies is like looking at WiFi and cellular networks. Rather than direct competition, they are complementary, and many telecom operators can use them simultaneously. For example, Korea Telecom is promoting NB-IoT and LoRaWAN network deployments at the same time. Dutch carrier KPN is already rolling out LoRaWAn, but said at the same time that they are also open to NB-IOT.
By choosing LoRaWan as Cisco's first step into the field, Cisco is not doing a huge venture or troubleshooting other technologies in the future. Cisco is already conducting LoraWAn tests, including deployment in some smart cities in Dubai. It also does not determine whether to do some NB-IoT-based products or other LPWAN technology products in the future.
Peter Jarich, an analyst at Current Analysis, believes that network vendors, which are promoting the dominant RoRaWAN protocol-based products, should give businesses more confidence that the technology will have a broader and more reliable ecosystem.
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