IoT network technologies

IoT objects / devices such as automated vehicles, networked traffic lights, parking sensors, smart TVs or intelligent washing machines use different network/transmission technologies. The transmission technologies are split into the categories of "Wide Area IoT" and "Short Range IoT". Which technology is used is influenced by the distance from the network node, the data transfer rate, the reliability of the network, the energy consumption of transmission and the cost. Although different transmission technologies are used, data is usually transferred using the IP protocol; this means that compatibility can be ensured across the different network technologies and platforms. Fixed-network technology is of minor importance for the IoT.

The "Wide Area IoT" category comprises transmission technologies which transmit data over fairly large distances (100 m to 10 km). Such technologies are used, for example, in Smart Cities to control traffic lights and to read electricity meters or in industry to network manufacturing machinery, as well as in the mobility sector to network vehicles. Wide Area IoT technologies include the "cellular" mobile telephone networks such as 4G/5G and "Low Power Wide Area Networks" (LPWANs) such as Sigfox and LoRa, which are based on unlicensed frequency bands.

Information on 5G technology
Information on LoRa
Information on Sigfox

The "Short Range IoT" category comprises transmission technologies which transmit data over fairly short distances (1 m to 100 m). These technologies are often used in the "SmartHome" domain to network heating controls, lighting controls and the washing machine, but also in "wearables", e.g. for fitness trackers and smart watches. The most important technologies here are Wi-Fi (WLAN), Bluetooth and Zigbee.

Information on Wi-Fi (WLAN)
Information on Bluetooth
Information on Zigbee

OFCOM carefully monitors developments in network technologies so that the optimal general conditions can be created for Switzerland, e.g. in relation to security, use of the frequency spectrum, susceptibility to interference and conformity.

Last modification 18.03.2019

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