We are frequently asked what’s new, or what the best practices are, when it comes to connecting devices to the Internet. It is an interesting question because in the IoT world there are always new standards appearing and new ways to connect, but sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics and connect smarter. At the same time dimensioning your network and deployment to take full advantage of the product offered to you can already be enough to get an edge over your competitors in your target marketplace. Lots of companies can do one or two of the following topics, but few can do all of them well!
IP Addressing and how to use it well
It’s absolutely fine to take an off the shelf M2M SIM card, get assigned a dynamic IP, and get Internet access, if that is all you require. However, before you go down that path have a look at your devices and revisit the purpose of the device. Take vehicle tracking for example. The tracker just reports data to the tracking server over the Internet in most cases, but operationally, how about the management of those vehicle trackers? Static private IP addressing could help you catalogue and segment trackers to SIM cards, and trackers to vehicles, helping diagnosis in the future. If you are getting an APN then is your IP addressing scheme fitting in with the IP ranges you are assigning to the SIM card estate?
Consider your analytics capability
Big data is a buzzword that will be around for a few years to come. It pays (literally) to look ahead at your company’s strategy and see what is in the pipeline and how that could be supplemented by analytics. Gather insights and an understanding of your company data, ie. when are peak periods of data transmission, what countries are your devices serving, and what network and applications are being used in support of delivering big data analytics?
Pangea offers the supporting services to manage and monitor your connected devices. We also offer a CDR feed, as well as a real time management portal to view usage and manage the SIM card estate.
Spend the extra time to get your IoT deployment right the first time
Deployments either tend to be thousands of SIM cards with low data requirements or a few SIM cards with high data and high value requirements. In both cases, a simple change such as changing an IP addressing scheme or perhaps moving SIM cards to a different APN can be a headache. If you think in the future you will need to alter the device configuration, due to growth or company strategy for example, you should make sure you have alternative options available to you.
Pay attention to Security
You don’t want to end up on the front page of the evening news for being responsible for the latest botnet attack! You should ensure steps are taken to make sure your device is protecting the applications and network behind it, and more importantly, that the device itself is protected and not vulnerable to hacking. Broadly, this means you should make sure you have correct access rules in place, your passwords are appropriate, and your device software is up to date. At a network level, IoT devices usually have a private IP, but if you have a public IP on your devices it’s important to be extremely careful in blocking unauthorised access.