CSF117 Module 6 Wireless Communication

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Welcome to the Networking for IoT module. This module aims to facilitate learning of the various ways you can interconnect components together for purposes of sending and receiving data. We will cover topics starting with Wireless Networking and then talk about Web servers for IoT. Finally we will look at cloud computing and services.
Hello and welcome to wireless communication for IoT. In the previous module, we focused on wired communication. We learned how multiple components and even multiple microcontrollers can send data across wires. The sending and receiving or data happens in the network or data transport layer. There are a number of wireless communication protocols. Commonly used protocols include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee and LoRa. The choice of which one to use when and where may depend on a number of factors such as the distance between communicating points, reliability, traffic and security of the data. Bluetooth, for example, has a short range and low bandwidth compared to WiFi which has higher bandwidth. 3G mobile internet has more range and more bandwidth that both bluetooth and WiFi. LoRa has the longest range but the least bandwidth. Evidently, it is important to understand your data requirements when choosing a communication technology. Power consumption is another key consideration to be made in choosing a technology. WiFi for example, consumes a lot of power compared to Zigbee. Therefore for low power consumption solutions, it may be preferable to use Zigbee. Bluetooth on the other hand, even though it may consume less power than WiFi, it can only connect a limited amount of devices while Zigbee can connect hundreds of devices. In general, for home automation solutions, Zigbee is ideal. But bear in mind that it is not a secure network and can only transmit packets and not suitable for video streaming. LoRa is another technology to connect devices. It stands for Low Power Wide Area Network (or LPWAN). It works on the principle of reducing bandwidth to increase range. WiFi, for example, has high bandwidth but low range. WiFi links that operate at 5 GHz have a lower range compared to the 2.4 GHz links. LoRa is therefore ideal for huge spans of area where not much data does need to be transmitted. For example in farming to collect humidity information across acres of land. When transmitting data to the cloud, you may consider using Arduino IoT cloud. This is a service provided to IoT enthusiasts to have their Arduino devices post data through the web securely. It also allows mobile apps to connect to the cloud so as to enable the apps to remotely monitor IoT devices.