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Networking for the Internet of Things: Not so Fast!

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Jon Green
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A risk of conflation
Jon Green   4/16/2014 11:51:48 AM
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With the growth of cloud technologies, at the same time that IoT has become part of the public agenda, we've seen new terms grow up together.

Two of them are "Internet of Things" and "Big Data".

But the two are not synonymous. IoT devices are just that - devices. They do not have massively powerful processors. Most do not have urgent communications needs. In fact, the great majority that are in production or planning at the moment do not generate vast volumes of data rapidly; instead, they provide small amounts (compared to available network speed), infrequently. If there is a Big Data connection, it's in the aggregation and analysis of many, many small individual reports. It's certainly not in the communications.

So the title of this article is entirely apt. "Not so Fast!" indeed. What we need, for IoT, is not high-speed networking so much as ubiquitous networking - because an Internet of Things device without an Internet is a tragic and useless thing.

This introduces a new set of problems, and new approaches to them. It doesn't necessarily matter to the average IoT gadget that data rates are no better than GPRS...so long as they're available. We need that connection on the hills and in the valleys; in the urban jungle and perhaps even the Amazonian one.

Maybe those Google network blimps are rather more important than detractors have realised.

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