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IoT Networking

IoT networks may be built in different ways. Devices can be directly connected to the 5G system, or they can connect through capillary networks using short-range radio to extend the 5G network reach. For efficient management, different radios need to be served in the same IoT platform. At the MWC we showed how to easily manage different capillary topologies and discuss capillary radios such as Bluetooth Low Energy.

Tokyo in Autumn
Anna Larmo 

Principal Researcher

Nicklas Beijar 

Senior Researcher network security

A place can become smarter if things start talking to each other. There are many different scenarios where smart places can provide value, just think of a smart home, a smart office building, a smart bus and so on. According to the Ericsson mobility report , in the year 2021 we will have 15 billion devices that will be connected. While some of the devices will be cellular a large part will be using other radio technologies.

If we want to handle those devices in the same management system with mobile phones, we need to use Capillary Gateways that bridge the other radio network with the 5G system. Capillary gateways may be fixed installations, but even a mobile phone can be used to connect to the things around you. Installing, configuring and managing all those devices require automation. This means that the system needs to adjust whenever devices are added, lost or moving.

The first part of the demo in Barcelona focuses on connectivity management in the IoT network. We demonstrate how to automatically control the connectivity between devices and gateways in the capillary network in order to globally optimize the network usage. The function supports multiple short range radio technologies, for example, Bluetooth, WiFi and 802.15.4, which may be deployed with different topologies, such as star and mesh. In the second part of the demo, we show how the upcoming Bluetooth Low Energy mesh technology can be used for capillary connectivity.

As a summary, connectivity is a key enabler for IoT. Our solution is to allow an enterprise to deploy IoT as a managed service and capillary networks is one deployment option. This way, the enterprise does not need to take care of device management, connectivity, security or the cloud execution environment. We do all that for them.

Our research capillary network platform includes features for:

  • Authentication of devices and gateways using Generic Bootstrapping Architecture and securing the data transfer
  • Scalable management of massive numbers of devices based on standardized protocols, such as OMA-DM LWM2M are also included
  • Distributed IoT cloud instances are run near the sensor nodes to reduce latency and to aggregate the data sent to the central cloud.
  • Finally, automatic selection of the optimal gateway for each device enables load balancing and optimization of the end-to-end path.

This blog post about IoT is the first one out of three. Continue reading and join us on our journey towards a connected society!

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