Connected objects protocols

Which communication protocol to choose for your IoT project?

A communication protocol defines the standard rules for communicating between several digital devices. It allows you to connect an object to a network, wired or wireless. The network is made up of a set of equipment (gateways, proxies, servers, etc.) connected to each other and to the Internet, if applicable.

Networks that allow smart devices to move their data have different characteristics in terms of reach, power consumption, availability and cost. The ideal solution is the one that best suits your IoT project.


What is an IoT network?

The Internet of Things encompasses all of the systems necessary for the design and use of connected objects. An object is said to be connected when it is able to transmit and receive data.

A connected object is based on three essential characteristics: sensors, a connection, and actuators.

The connection to the Internet allows the development of new applications centered on users, according to multiple criteria: profiles, professions, needs, etc.

Different communication protocols are available in the market and it can be difficult to choose the most suitable network for your projet IoT.


How to choose your IoT network?

When qualifying your IoT project, many criteria must be taken into account to define the functional scope of each connected object:

  • Network coverage,
  • The environment,,
  • Energy consumption,
  • The speed or bandwidth,
  • Communication distance,
  • The volume of data exchanged,
  • The frequency of transmission of information: will the object communicate constantly or occasionally?
  • The cost of the service.

Other main characteristics can be examined to define your communication protocol: availability, deployment, maturity, durability, fixed or mobile objects, location of objects, level of security, type of network operator, battery life, type of IoT platform, cost.

All data is personal and confidential. But some information may be more sensitive than others. Can your communication protocol be limited to usual practices or must it acquire a higher level of security to protect end-to-end data collection and processing?


The main categories of networks

The transmission of messages between connected objects requires the choice of three essential components:

  • connectivity: short distance (Bluetooth Low Energy, WiFi, Z-Wave, ZigBee, RFID ...), long distance and low consumption (LPWAN: LoRaWAN® or SigFox) or long cellular distance (2G, 3G, 4G, LTE- M, NB-IoT, 5G)
  • a protocol: SMS (the simplest and still widely used), MQTT (the most popular standard for exchanging messages by a flexible publication and subscription mechanism) or CoAP / LightweightM2M (LwM2M) reducing to a minimum the volumes exchanged and thus the overall energy consumption
  • a security mechanism to manage the authentication of objects and the encryption of communications: TLS, DTLS and / or OSCore, for example.

The choice of protocol used depends on the functional architecture of the project, the nature of the exchanges (frequency, volume, direction, centralization, etc.). It is important to rely on industrial standards guaranteeing good interoperability of objects and systems, but also the durability of the solution deployed and the technologies used.

It is essential to properly qualify your IoT project to ensure its proper functioning at start-up and over time, over the years. Choose Orange Business Services to support you in the launch of your IoT project, anywhere in the world.


Discover other articles on the same themes: