There are many communication technologies connecting the Internet of Things behind the scenes. Here we take a look at some of the higher level application and network protocols available for the IoT, and explore their strengths and limitations. Traditionally Wi-Fi, for example, makes sense for products with plenty of power and memory, like a fridge or dishwasher, but not for devices that are small and low-powered, like a smart door lock. Factors such as range, security, power demands and battery life will dictate the choice of which of the IoT protocols is best for an application or product.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are now in everyday vocabulary, but other technologies are less well known such as Google’s emerging network protocol Thread, making its attempt to become the industry standard. Z-Wave and Zigbee are relatively new application protocols, but well known amongst home automation enthusiasts. Older home automation protocols like X10 and UPB, although dated and less likely to shape the future of IoT, are included here for completeness.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology, commonly used for exchanging data over short distances (typically up to 10m). Class 1 Bluetooth however, primarily ...find out more
LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) is a media access control (MAC) protocol for long range, low power networks (LPWAN) ...find out more
The Thread IoT protocol is an IP-based secure wireless mesh network for the home and connected products. Built on established standards ...find out more
Universal Powerline Bus (UPB) is a standard protocol for devices used for home automation. It uses the AC powerline wiring ...find out more
One of the most widely used wireless technologies today and a familiar term for most, Wi-Fi is the wireless version ...find out more
X10 is a long-established protocol for communication among electronic devices used for home automation; it has been on the market ...find out more
The Z-Wave protocol is an interoperable, wireless, RF-based communications technology designed specifically for control, monitoring and status reading applications in ...find out more
ZigBee is an open standard based on the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless-data specification, as is Thread. It is one of the ...find out more