Hello and thanks for reading (or watching).
So, you’ve gone ahead and deployed an IoT solution that uses cellular connectivity…..now, it is important that you are set up in a way that ensures you are always connected.
The first step is ensuring that you have a strong cellular signal, both from a connection standpoint, as well as from a speed standpoint (as speed can fall dramatically as your signal strength decreases).
Here are 5 things that will affect your signal strength, some of which you have control over and some that you do not….
- The “remoteness” of your application
Ideally, all IoT deployments would be done with 5 bars of cell coverage, but one of the powers of IoT is to work in areas that aren’t always traditionally covered well by landlines, so this can often mean some remote applications, such as a mining site or at a national park. Since cell towers are usually built to handle smartphone type traffic (which there is less of it in most remote areas), coverage can be weaker when you leave major urban areas.
2) The amount of “beautiful things” in the way
Many people appreciate things in nature like rolling hills, rivers and lakes. However, your IoT device does not share your affinity for these things. Challenging topology means that not only are there are lot of things blocking your “view” of the cell tower, it is often very challenging to put cell towers in the area in the first place. This helps to add to the remoteness level of the first point.
3) Windows, Floors and Doors
Cell towers are designed to maximize outdoor coverage. This is why cell coverage tends to get better when you step outside of a building, as the signal does not have to fight its way through any obstacles. Materials like wood and drywall can have some effect on your signal strength, but the real culprits are concrete and metal.
4) Every aspect of using a phone in a car
In some ways, it is amazing that cellular signal ever works reliably in a moving car. First, the concept of moving at highway speeds means that you are constantly changing between cell towers without reducing your signal strength and speed. However, cars by their nature are not friends to cellular signal. They have a lot of metal (see point 3) and although they have glass in most directions, it tends to be tinted and most people have their phone below the “glass line” of their car anyways, making it less useful in the first place
5) Mother Nature
Trees are beautiful to look at, as can be the rain. However, Mother Nature is not a friend to the cellular signal of your solution. Heavy vegetation, along with changes in the atmospheric pressure can have effects on your signal strength at various times of the year.
In a future blog, we will show the Top 5 ways you can combat these obstacles to increase your
changes of IoT success!