All connectivity technologies have their respective pros and cons. If you want to know which technology is best suited for your application, you should first determine exactly what you want to know. If you have a courier service and want to track your drivers, a WPLAN connection is a good option. If you want to enable consumers to order new razor blades with a single press of a button once their current blade becomes dull, it is better to go for a continuous connection using cellular M2M.
What to look out for when choosing a technology?
The size of the required batteries may affect your product’s design. A device with a cellular connection and a ten-year lifecycle, for example, may need three AAA batteries. LPWAN requires a much smaller watch battery, which offers more design options.
Hardware, e.g. a SIM card, and software cost money. From the perspective of hardware costs, there are virtually no differences between the various technologies. If you go for cellular M2M with a SIM card, you will need a data provider, which comes with its own costs. LoRa, Bluetooth, Sigfox and WLAN utilise existing networks, so you do not have to pay data costs. Of course, the requisite infrastructure for these networks has to be available. If that is not the case, creating this infrastructure will lead to more costs. A provider may also charge you for e.g. the maintenance or expansion of the network. These costs are often billed per device per year.
Good data security is becoming increasingly important, especially when you want to transmit large quantities of (confidential) data. A cellular M2M connection offers many advantages in this regard. A SIM card is technically a microprocessor that mostly handles encryption and decryption. This encryption makes it impossible for unauthorised third parties to access the data. The user can turn a device off remotely and access or block the SIM card. If you want to transmit highly confidential data, it is advisable to use a private Access Point Name (APN). This means data is only transferred via a private network connection. LoRa also encrypts its data traffic, while Sigfox does not. Out of the LPWAN technologies, NB-IoT is the most secure because it utilises both network- and device-side authentication. Furthermore, NB-IoT encrypts the data traffic between devices on the network.