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Taking the Time to do IoT Networking Right

By: Blair Felter on March 24, 2016

With all the buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT), many companies will jump onto the IoT bandwagon by creating software-defined IoT-widgets and management applications then distribute the IoT-widgets and hope for the best. However, without proper planning, this can be an expensive mistake.

Cisco is forecasting that by 2022, the IoT will reach an economic value of $14.4 trillion. As the market continues to grow, we will see a plethora of bandwidth hogging IoT-widgets becoming available.

Do you have the bandwidth?

We know that IoT-widgets will generate data and most likely transmit this data across the Internet resulting in a larger volume of data transmission—just think about all of the chatty IoT-widgets sending telemetry through the network, a big shift from the current paradigm where devices share a few bytes of simple data from one widget to another and a perhaps a reason why the IoT is utilizing only 1% of the current network bandwidth. Right now, bandwidth isn’t a problem.

“The large U.S. wireless carriers require a certain Return on Investment to continue to build and maintain mobile networks and support the growth of IoT. Most IoT devices today provide a tiny fraction of the revenue that a typical smartphone generates in a month. The economics of IoT is a challenge for the wireless carriers today, and this problem will only grow over time as the number of connected devices grows exponentially in the next decade,” says Rob Chamberlin with VentureBeat.

IPv6 a Key Consideration for IoT

Why is IPv6 critical for the success of the Internet of Things?

IPv4 cannot handle the more than 1 billion IoT devices entering the market each year. With IPv6, we’re allowed 340 undecillion IP addresses, which can easily accommodate the IoT.

Some other reasons include:

  • More scalability—Of course, one of the biggest reasons IPv6 is critical for IoT is scalability. IPv6 provides 3.4×1038 addresses, which will far exceed the amount we can use in the foreseeable future.
  • Better security—IPv6 offers better security for the Internet of Things. It provides connectivity with a superior distributed routing mechanism. It also has an active community that is continuing to improve its security features.
  • Tiny stacks—Tiny stacks will offer a compressed version of IPv6 called 6LoWPAN. This allows for shorter addresses for IPv6 constrained devices. Border routers will be able to translate the compressed addresses into standard IPv6 addresses.
  • Global network compliant—With IPv6, it’s possible to have a global network that contains smart devices that are interconnected with other smart devices throughout the world. This is not possible with IPv4 due to the limited number of addresses.
  • Self-configuring addresses—IPv6 supports a stateless method of self-configuration. This allows nodes to define their own address. This saves the time of having to do the configuration manually.
  • Breaking down the NAT barrier—Network Address Translation (NAT) has been a major limitation of IPv4. With NAT, devices are sharing IP addresses over time and therefore do not have their own public IP address. This allows them to access the Internet but not be directly accessible from the Internet.
  • IoT data overload—Having your home appliances and other devices send and receive data over the Internet is definitely where things are headed. However, is it possible that we will overdo it with all of this data? How are we going to aggregate it and send only the data we need?

Taking the time

As we move rapidly toward the Internet of Things, it becomes imperative to properly plan for the change. Having a data center that has already made plans to meet the required bandwidth and IPv6 requirements will go a long way toward helping you get ready.

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