WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee are commonly found in consumer devices part of the “IoT ecosystem”, but the range, cost, power consumption, and/or scalability of these wireless standards are not suitable. For example, agricultural and forestry applications normally require long distance, and smart parking or city lighting may requires scalability to a great number of nodes, so alternatives are needed. EDN wrote a thorough article comparing 10 alternative wireless standards: Weightless-W, Weightless-N, Weightless-P, SigFox, LoRaWAN, LTE-Cat M, IEEE P802.11ah, Dash7, Ingenu RPMA, and nWave.
The table includes the frequency band, channel width, range, transmit power, packet size (minimal or maximal), downlink and uplink data rates, maximum number of connected devices, topology, roaming capability, and status. If you had to implement something today, four to five solutions are “in deployment”: SigFox, Ingenu RPMA, nWave, LoRa, and possibly Dash7, while the other are only starting to get deployed, or will be finalized in 2016. All standards have a Line of Sight range of at least 1km, with RPMA claiming up to 500km… Many standards are quite scalable as they support up to 1 millions node or more, but RPMA, and especially LTE Cat-M and P802.11ah are much less suited to projects with a large number of sensor nodes. Typical power consumption and an estimate of costs would have been two nice extra rows to have in that table, but number for these two are probably hard to come by, especially since each project is different.
If you are interested in these long range low power wide area network wireless standards, I recommend you read the complete article on EDN for much more details.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.