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IoT Medical Devices Security Vulnerabilities on Wi-Fi Networks

IoT Medical Devices Security Vulnerabilities on Wi-Fi Networks

IoT Medical Devices Security Vulnerabilities  on Wi-Fi Networks

IoT medical devices security vulnerabilities affects many different types of in-hospital equipment including diagnostic equipment (e.g., MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines and CT (Computerized axial Tomography) scanners), therapeutic equipment (e.g., infusion pumps and medical lasers) life support equipment (e.g., heart support machines), internet-connected devices for monitoring patients vital signs (e.g., thermometers, glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, wearables), as well as novel, intelligent and disruptive devices which can keep track of medication schedules (e.g., GlowCap outlets and AdhereTech wireless pills).

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is gradually realizing a radical transformation of healthcare services based on the deployment of numerous medical devices, which already represent a considerable segment of the billions of internet-connected devices that are nowadays available.

These devices are used in conjunction with mobile terminals (e.g., tablet computers, smart phones) which enable health professionals both to configure them and to visualize their data. Moreover, several IoT applications integrate RFID tags, as a means of uniquely identifying and associating with each other devices, patients, doctors, drugs, prescriptions and other artifacts engaging in the care service provisioning process. While several of the above listed devices can be deployed in the patients’ homes, the majority of them are deployed in the hospital environment.

In principle, IoT technologies enable the processing of data and the orchestration of services from all these devices in order to facilitate health professionals to access accurate and timely information about the patients’ status, but also to configure disease management processes for prognosis, diagnosis and treatment. Beyond disease management, the deployment of IoT medical devices security in the hospital can be also used to boost the efficiency of hospital operations.

As a prominent example, the continuous monitoring of IoT medical devices security can serve as basis for reducing their downtime. Likewise, devices emit notifications that can trigger proactive maintenance and replenishment of supplies. Furthermore, information from medical devices can be exploited in order to optimize resources utilization and patient scheduling. Based on these processes, healthcare will become a setting that will annually contribute over $1 trillion to IoT’s business value by 2030, as projected by a recent report of McKinsey Global Institute.

IoT Medical Devices Security Risks

The expanded use of IoT medical devices in hospitals raises serious privacy and security challenges, given the proclaimed and widespread vulnerabilities of wireless devices. IoT medical devices security vulnerabilities has always been a concern for applications, but in the case of healthcare it is a matter of life and death. Indeed, beyond compromising patient’s data confidentiality, security vulnerabilities can have life-threatening implications, as IoT devices are used to control medication or even to drive surgical interventions and other therapeutic processes.

Since commands to several devices are transmitted wirelessly, hackers can invade the wireless network in order to gain control over devices and transmit unauthorized commands with fatal results. For instance, a malicious attack against an insulin pump can lead to a wrong dose to a diabetes patient. As another example, the hacking of an electrical cardioversion device could instigate an unnecessary shock to a patient.

There is a host of different IoT medical devices security vulnerabilities  easily include a non exhaustive list of common attacks includes:

  • Password hacking: It is quite common for medical devices to be protected by weak passwords that can be hacked. This is the case when the built-in passwords provided by the device vendors are maintained.

Hackers can easily discover such passwords in order to gain access to device configuration information. Moreover, in several cases, hackers are also able to control the device and use it to launch more advanced attacks.

Poor Security Patching: Some medical devices are poorly patched, either because some patch has not yet been deployed on the device or because the device runs an “old” operating system (e.g., an older version of Windows or Linux). Poorly patched devices are vulnerable to malware and other attacks, which makes them an easy target for hackers.

Wi-Fi: The weak link in IoT Medical Devices Security Vulnerabilities 

Denial of service attacks: Medical devices are usually lightweight and resource constrained, which makes them susceptible to denial of service attacks. The transmission of simultaneous requests to the device can cause it to stop, disconnect from the network or even become out of order.

 Unencrypted data transmission: It’s quite usual for attackers to monitor the network in order to eavesdrop and steal passwords. The transmission of unencrypted data can therefore ease their efforts to gain access to the device in order either to extract information or even exploit the device for transmitting malicious commands.

IoT medical devices security is serious business, as most of the medical devices are Wi-Fi enabled, which renders Wi-Fi the technology that carries the vast majority of the traffic that is exchanged between medical devices. However, Wi-Fi networks are conspicuously associated with IoT Medical Devices security vulnerabilities , which make them the weak link.  For example, the WEP (Wireless Encryption Password) mechanisms that empower Wi-Fi security are weak, as WEP passwords can be easily stolen.

This can accordingly enable hackers to launch attacks based on the sniffing of unencrypted traffic. In order to alleviate WEP problems, IEEE and the Wi-Fi community have specified and implemented Wi-Fi standards and protocols (e.g., WPA2, WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES)) with much stronger encryption capabilities. Nevertheless, not all IoT medical devices security vendors provide proper support for these standards, putting the operation of devices and their interoperability with others at risk.

In recent years, special emphasis has been given in producing standards and best practices for securing wireless medical devices, on the basis of the implementation of appropriate authentication and encryption mechanisms for IoT medical devices security.

This has led to the specification of IEEE 802.1X, which is a ratified IEEE standard for network access control. 802.1X is flexible and supports a variety of Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), including EAP with Transport Layer Security (EAP-TLS) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. The latter provides two-way authentication between devices based on the installation and use of X.509 certificates.

IoT medical devices security challenges

Alleviating IoT Medical Devices Security Vulnerabilities 

 

The vision of IoT enabled hospital care cannot be realized without very strong security. CIOs and IT managers of healthcare services providers cannot therefore afford to treat security investments with caution, in an effort to reduce budgets which could ignoring low-probability risks.

Rather, they should adopt a holistic approach to IoT medical devices security and their operation, spanning technology, processes and security policy aspects.

At the technological forefront, latest Wi-Fi technologies offering strong security and encryption features should be deployed and tested.

This may involve purchasing technologically advanced equipment and testing it in terms of IoT medical devices security features, configuration problems, wireless stability and more. There is also a need for medical engineering processes in order to ensure that IoT-enabled process provide high security levels.

IoT medical devices security vulnerabilities is particularly important in the case of the trending BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) services, which involve the deployment and use of third-party devices as part of healthcare processes.

Moreover, as part of the holistic security approach, hospitals must tweak their security policies in order to keep up with IoT-related technological developments.

The right technology, the proper processes and an IoT-aligned security policy provide a sound basis for hospitals to adhere to security and privacy regulations, to avoid relevant liabilities and ultimate to maximize returns on their IoT investments.

Next Generation of IoT Medical Devices Cyber Security Recruitment

The NextGen Executive Search cyber security team is intimately familiar with the newest IoT medical devices security over WiFi networks. We identify and develop candidates so that in the shortlist we deliver to clients those who not only meet, but exceed your expectations. We target only “A players” who produce 8 to 10 times more than “B players, backed by an industry leading 12 to 36 month replacement guarantee. For more information on recruiting cyber security professionals for in-hospital medical devices using ioT device and data network connections, speak with the cyber security practice lead, click on the image below.

 

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT Infrastructure?

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT Infrastructure?

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT Infrastructure?

The growth of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) paradigm begs the question if blockchain technology securing IoT infrastructure properly or not?  Currently propelled by an unprecedented increase in the number of internet-connected devices. Even though the Cisco’s 2011 projection about 50 billion devices in 2020 is not ending up being very accurate, more recent estimates by Gartner and IHS confirm the tremendous growth of the number of IoT devices.

Understanding Blockchain Technology Securing IoT infrastructure

The need to support billions of devices in the years to come is inevitably pushing IoT technologies to their limits. Despite significant progress in blockchain technology, the specification and implementation of IoT technologies for identification, discovery, data exchange, analytics and security, the future scale of IoT infrastructure and services is creating new challenges and ask for new paradigms.As a prominent example, IoT security is usually based on centralized models, which are centered round dedicated clusters or clouds that undertake to provide authentication, authorization and encryption services for IoT transactions. Such centralized models are nowadays providing satisfactory protection against adversaries and security threats.

Nevertheless, their scalability towards handling millions of IoT nodes and billions of transactions between them can be questioned, given also recent IoT-related security attacks which have manifested the vulnerabilities of existing infrastructures and illustrated the scale of the potential damage.

blockchain technology securing IoT data and devices

In particular, back in October 2016, a large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took place, which affected prominent Internet sites such as Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and Reddit. The attack exploited vulnerabilities in IoT devices in order to target the infrastructures of dyn.com, a global infrastructure and operations provider, which serves major Internet Sites.

The incident is indicative of the need for new IoT security paradigms, which are less susceptible to attacks by distributed devices and more resilient in terms of the authentication and authorization of devices. In quest for novel, decentralized security paradigms, the IoT community is increasingly paying attention to blockchain technology, which provides an infinitely scalable distributed ledger for logging peer to peer transactions between distrusted computing nodes and devices.

Most of the people that are aware of the paradigm to blockchain technology securing IoT perceive it as the main building block underpinning cryptocurrencies such as the well-known BitCoin. Indeed, the main characteristic of Bitcoin transactions is that they are not authenticated by a Trusted Third Party (TTP), as is the case with conventional banking transactions. In the case of the BitCoin, there is no central entity keeping track of the ledger of interactions between the different parties as a means of ensuring the validity of the transactions between them. Instead, any transaction occurring between two parties (e.g., A paying 1 Bitcoin to B) is kept in a distributed ledger, which is maintained by all participants of the BitCoin network and which is empowered by blockchain technology. Among the merits of this distributed ledger approach is that it is very scalable and more robust when compared to traditional centralized infrastructure.

This is due to the fact that the validation of transactions is computationally distributed across multiple nodes, as well as due to the fact that the validation requires the consensus (“majority vote”) of the whole network of communicating parties, instead of relying on a centralized entity. In this way, it is practically impossible for an adversary to attack the network, since this would require attacking the majority of nodes instead of one or a few parties.

The scalability and resilience properties of the blockchain approach have given rise to its applications in other areas such as electronic voting or IoT transactions. The principle remains the same: Transactions are logged in the distributed ledger and validated based on the majority of nodes, even though in the case of voting and other transactions Bitcoin units are replaced by votes or credits. This results in a trustful and resilient infrastructure, which does not have a single point of failure.

Based on the above principle, blockchain is deployed as an element of IoT infrastructures and services, which signifies a shift from a centralized brokerage model, to a fully distributed mesh network that ensures security, reliability and trustworthiness. Blockchain technology securing IoT infrastructure facilitates devices to authenticate themselves as part of their peer-to-peer interactions, while at the same time increasing the resilience of their interactions against malicious adversaries. Moreover, this can be done in a scalable way, which scales up to the billions of devices and trillions of interactions that will be happening in the coming years.

Cases based on IoT Blockchain Technology Securing IoT

blockchain technology securing IoT systems

The development of secure mesh IoT networks based on blockchain technology is no longer a theoretical concept. During the last couple of years several companies (including high-tech startups) have been using blockchain technology in order to offer novel IoT products and services. The most prominent implementations concern the area of supply chain management. For example, modum.io is applying blockchain in the pharmaceuticals supply chain, as means of ensuring drug safety.

The company’s service uses the blockchain technology in order to log all transactions of a drug’s lifecycle, starting from its manufacturing to its actual use by a health professional or patient. Recently, the retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced a food products track and trace pilot based on blockchain technology. The pilot will document all the steps associated with tracking and tracing of pork, from the farm where the food is grown, to the supermarket floor where it is shipped. This pilot is a first of a kind effort to validate the merits of the blockchain outside the scope of the financial services industry.

Beyond supply chain implementations, novel products are expected to emerge in the areas of connected vehicles, white appliances and more. Several of the applications are expected to benefit from blockchain’s ability to facilitate the implementation of monetization schemes for the interaction between devices. In particular, as part of blockchain implementations, sensors and other IoT devices can be granted micropayments in exchange of their data.

The concept has already been implemented by company tilepay, which enables trading of data produced by IoT devices in a secure on-line marketplace. At the same time, cloud-based infrastructures enabling developers to create novel blockchain applications are emerging. As prominent example Microsoft is providing a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) infrastructure as part of its Azure suite.

Overall, blockchain technology is a promising paradigm for securing the future IoT infrastructures. Early implementations are only scratching the surface of blockchain’s potential. We expect to see more and more innovative products in the next few years.

In this direction, several challenges need also to be addressed, such as the customization of consensus (i.e. “majority-voting”) models for IoT transactions, as well as efficient ways for carrying out the computationally intensive process of transaction verification. Solutions to these challenges will certainly boost the rapid uptake of this technology in the IoT technology landscape.

 

Autonomous Vehicles – the Future using Artificial Intelligence

Autonomous Vehicles – the Future using Artificial Intelligence

Autonomous Vehicles Future using Artificial Intelligence

 

For years we have been hearing that driverless cars will soon be dominating our highways as autonomous vehicles are developed.  Not since the advent of the horseless carriage have we been faced with such a disruption in personal travel.

But the adoption of vehicle automation will likely take longer than many have thought. There may be a more gradual increase over several years through several stages. That will come with further development in artificial intelligence to make vehicles more autonomous.

Increasing Autonomy

Science policy writer Jeffrey Mervis writes for Science online about six levels of auto autonomy. Level zero describes the cars that our fathers and grandfathers drove. There was no automation in those old Fords and Chevys, and early automobiles didn’t have automatic transmissions or power steering. Level five would apply to a vehicle in which everything is automated and there are no manual controls — even if a driver wanted to take over.

The industry target is level four, a scenario where drivers can take over control of automated vehicles under certain conditions (such as inclement weather). According to a table in the article, the cars we currently drive fit into level one, those in testing now are level two, but the limited automation of level three might never be deployed. Here’s a summary of the levels of automation according to Mervis:

  • Level Zero:  no automation
  • Level One:  driver controlled with adaptive cruise control and parking assistance
  • Level Two:  partial automation accelerates, brakes, or steers and connects to other vehicles (IoT)
  • Level Three:  conditional automation assumes near full control within limited parameters
  • Level Four:  everything automated under certain conditions
  • Level Five:  everything automated under all conditions

The point is that there is not necessarily a binary choice between cars with drivers and driverless cars. It is matter of degree. New cars already include assisted driving capabilities, such as parking, braking, and object avoidance. We are making progress, but an article in the MIT Technology Review claims that “Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think”.

Contrasting Visions of Autonomous Vehicles

The role that automated vehicles will take remains a matter of debate. We have all heard about a possible future that includes fleets of driverless trucks or taxis. Some people look forward to relaxing, sleeping, reading, or other activities in an autonomous vehicle that automatically delivers us to our destination. An article in the Atlantic predicts a time when car rides across town might be free — so long as the rider makes a stop at one of the taxi’s sponsors.

Some even see the advent of driverless cars as a solution that leads us to a new utopia. Benefits would include fewer accidents, with reduced casualties and medical cost savings. Automated vehicles that communicate with each other would make commutes easier by eliminating traffic jams. The young, disabled, or elderly would be able to “drive” across town, giving them more independence. Police would be freed up to work other issues when DUIs and speeding offenses become a thing of the past. And there would be an elimination of bureaucracy related to the DMV and drivers licenses.

But not everyone agrees with this rosy view. Vehicle automation might not be so friendly to the environment. And there might be a case of the haves and the have nots when only the rich can afford to buy automated cars. Of course, automated vehicles will be subject to the same issues that affect computers, such as viruses and cybercrime. And then there is a matter that no one seems to be discussing:  Some people just love to drive! Being stuck with an automated car can take away the sense of control and independence that we feel out on the open road.  As any Nascar or Indy race fan will tell you, they aren’t giving up the thrill of control and acceleration to autonomous vehicles.

Other Automated Vehicles

The first thing we think of when someone mentions automated vehicles are the cars that we drive every day. But those are not the only ones. I remember visiting the Docklands area of London more than a decade ago.  It seemed funny that the driver on the Docklands Light Railway was sitting back and reading the newspaper. That setup is probably more common than we realize. You’ve probably also heard that airline pilots do very little these days, while the huge jets that they allegedly fly are automatically controlled by onboard computers.

Automation could be implemented in any of the transportation systems we use, and industrial systems seem to use as much automation as possible. Assembly lines in manufacturing plans are automated, and robotic vehicles often defy classification. Automation seems to be everywhere.

Autonomous Vehicles self driving truck

While writing this article I met an Arkansas farmer who told me his automation story. He said that the tractors that work the soil now do it all without the benefit of a driver. The old farmer told me that young fellows in central control rooms run the automated farm vehicles now. Some of the tractors don’t even have steering wheels — which means that the old farmer couldn’t drive them even if he wanted to.

Who’s In Control with Autonomous Vehicles?

When we drive down the highway in our private vehicles, we know who is in control. We know who is pressing the accelerator, who is turning the wheel, who is applying the brake. We know who is monitoring the gauges and adjusting the radio volume. We are. But autonomous vehicles of the future will take advantage of another form of intelligence to make decisions. Artificial intelligence (AI), according to Encyclopedia Britannica, is “the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.” So-called driverless cars will actually be driven by artificial intelligence.

We already have many computers in our cars. These are called electronic control units (ECUs), and they manage vehicle systems such as engine, transmission, brakes, traction, and climate control. I wrote about it for Techopedia in an article called “Your Car, Your Computer: ECUs and the Controller Area Network”. AI will take this computerized control much further. Writer Colin Pawsey says that AI could be the driving force in autonomous vehicle development.  “Autonomous technology is set to transform the motor industry, but there are no clear paths for manufacturers,” he writes. “As the autonomous mobility industry takes shape, artificial intelligence could play a much bigger role.”

Conclusion

There is no stopping the technological advances that shape our society. Market forces will continue to shape how science is applied, and the success of any technology is directly related to how widely it is adopted in industry or public use. It’s like test driving a new car. If you like it you will buy it, and if you really like it you’ll be sure to let all your friends know. The next decade should tell us a lot about how well people like autonomous vehicles and the artificial intelligence that drives them.

 

Future Cell Site Towers for IoT Data, Broadband, and Leasing

Future Cell Site Towers for IoT Data, Broadband, and Leasing

Future Cell Site Towers for IoT Data, Broadband, and Leasing

 

As demands on the Internet continue to grow, an in-depth look at the future cell site towers needs to be addressed, especially with IoT that sees homes become increasingly “smart” with the demand for transmission equipment continuing to grow. How will this growth happen? Where will transmission towers be located? What are the cost factors and are any innovations likely to come online soon? Are cell towers even going to be needed?

The base for everything on the Internet is power. Something must generate the electricity for transmission, whether through fiber optic lines or radio waves. How much power is not even a question as engineers know exactly how much it takes to send any signal any distance through any medium.

The power needs for individual devices, think smartphone, smart thermostat and such, is tiny. However, the power demands for several of these devices increase. Bump that number to the hundreds and thousands and power demands jump a lot. The future cell site towers is that they are going to need a LOT of power to handle that volume of data traffic.

Simply put, a pocket-sized battery will not deliver the volts and amperage needed to receive and transmit signals from more than 1,000 devices. “Cell towers will become obsolete only when Chevy Suburban’s and Ford F-150’s can drive down the Interstate at 70 MPH fully powered by solar panels made in the USA.  The demand for bandwidth is growing faster than the carriers can sell smart phones. Even if they came up with some amazing technology that could replace cell towers, it would easily take 10 years or more to implement.”   Some may point to signal boosters to handle the need for more and stronger transmissions.

  • More Power

Signal boosters require more power. That must come from somewhere. The demand on the already-stressed power grid will just get worse. Individually, the power draw may be minuscule. Added together, it becomes a real issue. A straw broke the camel’s back.   Battery advances over the past 30 years are huge, but battery output is still directly tied to the size of the battery. You can’t run a golf cart on a dozen D-cell flashlight batteries.

  • FCC Regulation

The Federal Communications Commission controls radio wave broadcasts including that done by wireless devices. It regulates signal boosters now. “Malfunctioning, poorly designed, or improperly installed signal boosters can interfere with wireless networks and result in dropped or blocked calls, including emergency and 911 calls,” says an FCC Consumer Guide to signal boosters.  As more and more devices go wireless, the chances for interference are going to grow.

Future Cell Site Towers in Aesthetic Landscapes

The demand for towers is not going away. Vertical Consultants tracks cell tower agreements and reports the industry is growing. “So again, if cell towers were about to become obsolete, why would the industry leaders be investing billions of dollars to acquire the rights to your cell tower?  The answer to this situation is that technology is nowhere near close to finding an economic and reliable replacement for the future cell site towers, and your individual site lease has value to the acquiring company!” .

However, the look and location of these towers is changing. So, a better description for a cell tower is “transmission hub,” or hub for short. Increasingly municipalities are rejecting the look of giant antenna arrays.  The industry is responding. “Cell tower companies like Crown Castle are installing small cells for carriers’ use on light poles, on top of shopping centers and other places where they fit in with the urban scenery. In 2010, Crown Castle acquired New Path Networks, which built the nine-antenna medical center system.

Where and what these smaller hubs are might surprise you. Twisted Sifter has a list of these different types of antenna hubs.  These hubs still require space, which means buying or leasing that space. A smaller footprint likely will translate into smaller lease payments, but more hubs also mean more leases. Savvy negotiators are going to win this one.

Future Cell Site Towers gets Creative

The demands on the wireless networks and high-speed broadband Internet are only going to grow. Consumers have already shown they are willing to pay for the service. Creative thinking will dominate the industry as it moves forward.

ISPs must step up their transmission capabilities. The tower manufacturers are already headed in the right direction with smaller hubs that are not eyesores. With the increase in transmission/reception sites, the demand for real estate to plant these hubs is also going to grow.

Future cell site towers are small hubs, more hubs and hidden hubs are the demands. Companies that make these hubs are in the driver’s seat. They determine the power needs and appearance. Location is going to be set by ISPs or cell companies and real estate owners.

future cell site towers in the city

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LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks?

LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks?

LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks?

Curious – can LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks or the other way around? The big cellular companies have heavily invested in Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks and the coming 5G network. They are saying it can compete with the Internet of Things (IoT) network that smaller companies are putting their bets on.

“Despite the prospect of new networks that reach farther than cells and let IoT devices communicate for years on one battery charge, many of the power-sipping networked objects to be deployed in the coming years will use LTE and future 5G cellular systems,” reports Stephen Lawson in Computerworld.  Lawson’s article depends largely on information from the LTE and 5G network developers..

ZDNet took a look at IoT investments stating that “Investors in Sigfox’s  fund raising included major cellular network operators NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, and Telefonica, so it seems that some at least are hedging their bets,” wrote Stuart Corner.

Verizon has not made that kind of investment, but it is investing in its own IoT tech. Looking at the Category M1 tech Verizon is working on, it’s hard to see major differences between that and the IoT networks under development, and in place, by the LORA Alliance, Sigfox and others. Cat M1 runs on a 1.4mhz bandwidth with speeds capped at one meg a second. It promises to come in under $10 for consumers.

Verizon is saying LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks and in fact they will exist together. Rosemary McNally, Verizon’s VP for mobile devices and operating system technology, told RCR Wireless that “the Cat M1 network they have in mind will run on the LTE. It will offer more security than IoT”, she promises.

So the question needs to be reframed. Instead of asking if the two networks can compete, ask instead do LTE and 5G have to compete on the same grounds as IoT? No, because they don’t have to.

Will LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks?

The IIoT and 5G merge in places like over-the-road shipping. IIoT sensors inside the truck feed data into the 5G and LTE networks, which hand it over to controllers and monitors. Decisions can be made within minutes.

The agriculture industry is also using the IoT. Modern tractors are embedded with sensors that provide regular feedback to the manufacturer. A farmer in South Georgia recently got a call from the tractor dealership. The sales rep said he’d received a message that whoever was driving one of the farm’s tractors was “riding the clutch.” Riding the clutch can cause it burn out, a costly repair. By having IoT in the tractor, the maker was able to monitor use and save the owner money.

Another reason LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks is radio frequencies. The Verizon Cat M1 is going to run on licensed bands. Once those bands hit maximum transmission traffic, Verizon is either going to have to get new bandwidth, which can run to the millions of dollars, or scale back some traffic.  If that happens, will Verizon continue to support Cat M1, which appears to have low profit margins? Or, will the company discontinue its IoT investments?

Where 5G and LTE have an advantage is security. Current IoT is running on unlicensed spectrum. Anyone can use it. Turf wars may erupt. Two companies next to each other decide to use the same frequency for their IoT. The signals interfere with each other, causing minor to major problems. With licensed frequencies, this is not a problem.

So can LTE and 5G compete or compliment 5G and LTE complement Iot networks?  In truth they compliment each other. Each has strengths and each has weaknesses. Using each system’s strong points to cover the other’s weak points will create a much stronger network than either could be independently.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

Doug Brake takes a long and hard look at IoT, 5G, LTE and nextgen wireless in a report for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  The industry has gone from 1G (analog) in the 80s to 2G, 3G and now 4G in the past few years. He points out the industry goes through a major upgrade every 10 years. Each upgrade has required big investments. With 2020 a short four years away and 5G already being discussed, AT&T, Sprint and the rest are planning major investments to upgrade the wireless network. The smart ones are planning upgrades that allow IoT.

Can LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT networks?

The questions that should be asked are:  

  • How can IoT be merged into higher-speed transmissions to let on-site and remote operators make better decisions? SugarCreek is one example of how this merger works. Modern tractors are another.
  • What will be the standard? IoT must have a standard just as smartphones do today. A Verizon phone can call, SMS, MMS and so forth to an AT&T phone. Consumers will demand the same for IoT. A homeowner will buy a fridge from General Electric, get an HVAC from Trane and a home entertainment system from Crutchfield. He will demand all the systems function seamlessly on the same IoT network. The IIoT is making inroads on standards, but much more work needs to be done. Equipment needs to move seamlessly from plant to plant. Just installing the hardware is expensive enough. The wireless controls should be plug and play.
  • Is a frequency “land grab” ahead as regulators look at the unlicensed frequencies and increasing demand for them? How much is needed?
  • What kind of security protocols are needed? Yes, it may take a day to hack into a microwave, but someone is going to do it. That’s an annoyance. Hacking into the smokers at SugarCreek could shut down production for a day or more and cost the company plenty. How can this be stopped? Since IoT is going to be largely low-speed, small data, could each device have a limiter? Perhaps once a certain amount of data is sent, the device takes an action to alert the owner or disconnection from the IoT.

Will LTE and 5G compete or compliment IoT network

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