Hello and thanks for reading.
As I try to maintain the weight loss that I was able to accomplish about 18 months ago, I find that one great way to do it is to use a shopping list for the grocery store. It helps to keep you focused on what you need and to avoid the danger aisles....namely processed food and junk food.
The same may actually apply well to buying a modem, as it will help you buy only what you need.
All we hear about lately is about Security.....it seems that every day we read about some enterprise being hacked. So, naturally, you must want to load up your IoT modem with it, right? Well, it actually depends. For solutions where you are attaching the modem to a non-intelligent device, like say an Industrial pump, it absolutely makes a ton of sense to load up on security features, as the modem is the only thing preventing unwanted access to your device.
However, if you are attaching the modem to a very intelligent device, like say a bank machine or a router, does it have the same need? Most of the vital security methods (encryption, authentication, firewall-type protection) can be effectively handled by the device behind the modem. So, you need to factor this into your decision...
Some applications scream out rugged.....like modems deployed in the forestry, mining and public safety applications. People's lives often depend on connectivity, so you are not going to use anything but the toughest modems in these applications. However, what about in a nice, warm office? Most of the devices that are being connected to the device are not rugged (such as an iPad or standard PC) and since people work in that office, it is pretty unlikely that a device will see "elements" (short of a pipe bursting) or extreme temperatures (unless my wife is in charge of thermostat)....One should focus more on the reliability of the modem when compared to the toughness of it in these scenarios.
Number of Ports / type of ports
I saw a pretty odd combination on a modem the other day....it touted that it had an RS-485 port and a specification of 0c on it. So, a port that is used in heavy duty rugged applications (for the most part) is connected to a device that cannot deal with any extreme conditions.
One needs to look at what ports they need now, and in the future. A device with 2 Ethernet ports may seem like overkill but what if you want to add a video camera on site down the road? Is WiFi really a bad option on a modem if you may wish to use it to offer Internet access to your clients in a manner that does not use your own network in the future?
The Bottom Line
It makes sense to approach buying a modem for your IoT solution in a manner similar to buying a car.....what might you need now and what might you need if things change over the next few years? Hopefully, this is the start of a list that will help you from buying things that you do not need....unless you plan on going to Costco, where using a list seems to be impossible!