Choosing the best wireless networking technology for your M2M application is a complicated task. There are cost considerations, coverage considerations, security considerations, network longevity considerations, and scalability considerations. Some of the possible technology choices are wi-fi, LTE, 5G, LoRa, SigFox, NB-IoT, LTE-M, eUICC, and multi-IMSI.
Choice of network
Wireless applications with high data rates could use wi-fi or mobile networks. Security cameras, remote presence robots, drones, and factory machinery are a few examples. Applications with relatively low data rates, and requiring long battery life, could use LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technologies, which are increasingly popular, with applications in farming, vehicle telematics, smart cities, healthcare, utilities, and manufacturing.
Mobile IoT as a LPWAN technology, using NB-IoT or LTE-M in licensed spectrum, offers unrivaled global coverage, high security in terms of communication and authentication, and choice of network service providers.
Other LPWAN technologies (LoRa, SigFox, etc.) have the advantage of lower CAPEX, lower OPEX, lower complexity, and the option of private ownership of the network.
Choice of SIM
Choosing a mobile connectivity technology also requires choosing the type of subscriber identity module (SIM). The options are the standard SIM, the eUICC (as specified by GSMA), and the multi-IMSI SIM.
The standard SIM is well known, cheap, and widely available, but suffers from being locked to one network, requiring manual swapping of the SIM to change to a different network service provider. It also comes in a package that requires a relatively large space, and can give electrical connection problems as a result of vibration or oxidation of the contacts.
The other SIM types, the eUICC and the multi-IMSI SIM, can be remotely configured to connect to a different network, removing the need to manually swap out the SIM. They can also be soldered onto a circuit board, making devices smaller, cheaper, more resistant to vibration, and allowing them to be hermetically sealed. eUICC and multi-IMSI can be supplied in 2FF, 3FF, and 4FF formats, and can therefore be used in existing equipment. So, which type of SIM is better for your application?
The eUICC is a standard specified by GSMA, with the backing of more than twenty network operators, two leading M2M associations, and a number of OEMs. The eUICC allows operator profiles to be loaded, deleted, and activated from the operator backend. GSMA certifies the design, production processes and facilities, the functionality, and the profile management system. It offers wider global support (when most networks support it, just a matter of time), freedom from lock-in, and possibly better security, than a multi-IMSI SIM.
The multi-IMSI SIM is not standardised, with various companies supplying their own systems. The operator profile or details can be loaded, deleted and activated remotely or locally. A multi-IMSI solution can be cheaper, simpler, and offer fast automatic switching between networks, than an eUICC solution.
The choice of wireless network and type of SIM will of course depend on your particular requirements and constraints. Be sure to consider both short term as well as long term costs and benefits.
Speak to us about your M2M SIM requirements. We offer a range of tailored solutions, covering standard SIMs, multi-IMSI SIMs, and eUICC modules.