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Improve your Bandwidth Usage by Controlling your IoT Downlink Transmission Frequency!

IoT, Industrial IoT, Ellenex, Downlink, Bandwidth, Software, Cost Saving, Efficiency, NB-IoT, LoRaWAN

With bandwidth benchmark prices going over $70 per Mbps, the global bandwidth usage is bound to increase 50% per annum!

Bandwidth consumption in IoT Application

IIoT is a key component of Industry 4.0 that is characterised by the collaboration of digital and physical technologies. It involves the use of sensors, software, and machinery working in pair with internet connectivity to collect, analyse, and act; upon vast amounts of data, which utilizes a certain amount of bandwidth. Because of this, bandwidth costs and efficiency are important considerations when it comes to IoT solutions. It directly impacts the overall operational costs and the ability to scale and expand Industrial IoT deployments in sectors such as logistics and delivery, oil and gas, agriculture and farming, mining and construction, manufacturing and production, and many more.

Depending on the amount of data being processed, bandwidth consumption can reach undesirable prices that differ from region to region. In Australia, the effective bandwidth benchmark price is $100 per Mbps due to Telstra's high transit pricing, whereas in Asia, transit pricing is approximately 7 times as expensive as North America's and Europe's, at $70 per Mbps. IoT applications frequently exchange data that is being analysed in real time, which again necessitates efficient and cost effective bandwidth utilisation to ensure smooth operations and reduced network congestion for timely/accurate data processing.

A study conducted by Nielsen Norman Group suggests that bandwidth requirements will grow by an estimate of 50% each year regardless of the industry. A figure is provided below which can be used to visualise the growth of bandwidth consumption from 1983 to 2023. This growth can be attributed to several factors such as data transfers, file sharing, software updates, and IoT and mobile devices as suggested by Atlantech.

Figure 1. Study by Nielsen Norman Group

As a result of these factors, businesses should; as best practice, continuously assess their current bandwidth usage to determine the appropriate needs and costs when using Downlink transmission over an NB-IoT or LoRaWAN communication protocol. But before we go into the solution let's first get a better understanding of what Downlink is and why it's important for IIoT devices!

The Role of Downlink Transmission Frequency

"Downlink refers to the transmission of data from a satellite or a cell tower to a ground station or a device on the ground." - Phinder

The Downlink to IoT devices are critical for the accuracy & frequency of the measured parameters (e.g., pressure, level, temperature, flow metering, distance, water quality, moisture, load and strain, sensor interface), where reading these information both costly over the internet and power consuming in LPWAN IoT devices

Downlink plays a crucial role in the context of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and IoT in general as it enables platforms to receive updates, or data sent from IoT devices through communication technologies such as NB-IoT and LoRaWAN. Two networking protocols Ellenex conveniently has solutions for in regards to their IIoT sensors.

Having direct control over the transmission frequency of a payload (data being transmitted) from downlink means that industrial sectors can save money on their communication methods and reduce congestion of their communication networks. Other benefits besides reduced network congestion and cost savings include:

  • Power savings: Devices are able to conserve more power during operation when transmission rates are lowered. This in turn extends the IoT devices battery life and lowers the necessity for recharging or battery replacements. This can be especially beneficial in industrial settings where potentially hazardous environments exists, such as: Mining and Construction, Chemical and Process, Powerlines and Cables, and Manufacturing and Production.

  • Regulatory Compliance: There are regulations that govern data transmission and communications that IoT devices must comply with. Having control over the downlink transmission frequency allows IoT devices to comply with these regulations.

Empowering the Industrial Customer: Ellenex offers cost effective and efficient use of bandwidth

The software platform at Ellenex is capable of tuning the transmission frequency to meet carious industrial solutions - Inventory management systems, Contamination and Pollution Prevention (air, water, soil), Performance Monitoring and Predictive maintenance, Safety and Disaster Prevention, Supply Chain Management, Cloud Control Loop, Workflow Management, Overload monitoring

Ellenex provides an intuitive approach to tackle this issue via their software platform! Connecting and configuring registered IoT devices that our customers may have bought and deployed on site! providing rich features such as a user friendly and intuitive design, ability to see a list of registered devices, alert sending, registering data, and most importantly - full control over the transmission frequency for each device!

This provides customers of Ellenex the power save on their communication costs by administering options that can lower the amount of bandwidth their IoT devices consume when sending payloads.

These options can be easily found on the platform by using the following steps: "Command To Device" > click on "Command" > Change "DownlinkWaitTime*" or "TransmissionIntervalMinutes*" to the desired value > Click "Save" > Done!

Fast, easy and intuitive!

Figure 3. Interface demo on downlink frequency tuning

By giving customers full control over their report frequency, IIoT devices can be optimised by clients to reduce network congestion and lower unnecessary bandwidth costs. This also comes with the added benefit of transmitting data only when necessary; reducing the amount of data being sent.

IIoT networks can also become congested if too many devices transmit data simultaneously. By using these options provided by the Ellenex software platform to control the transmission rates, devices can stagger their transmissions, reducing the likelihood of network congestion and ensuring the timely delivery of critical data.

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