Why wifi, just use cell?

Speaking of IoT, isn’t it better to use cell instead of WiFi? What are the limitations you see? With cell, there is no setup and it works, almost, anywhere!

Of course I am assuming a device with little data needs, not video streaming! Like a sensor that repost its value every few hours. Maybe 1K bytes daily?

because sometimes it’s easier to have one network than 15. 15x cell plans for 15x devices I want to have scattered around, and 15x cell modules. Versus 15x wifi modules and my (already existing) wifi base station and wired internet connection. Really, to do IoT well there needs to be a cheap way to achieve it, the CC3300 holds (held?) some hope to help there to help bring this to the masses as a commodity item. Should we expect to see cell modules as commodity items?

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I have thought the same thing at times but for me and the applications I am working on it comes down to cost. To start off with the hardware costs more oer device. The service is not free either. You are going to pay at least $5/month.

If it is a single device it might not be too bad. If there are multiple devices in close proximity, wi-fi to a routing device with cellular makes the more economic sense in my opinion

Power could be an issue as well. Although, wi-fi can be a problem if you are running on battery.


It is better to use cell than WIFI if you’re talking only about IoT. It would be best to use both, so that if the device isn’t away from “home” it should fall back to WIFI, however there are so many uses for remote IoT that the cost can be justified. I pay $50USD (est.) for a data plan which is just fast enough to send and receive email and do basic browsing; which is more than enough for remote monitoring.

If you’re doing fleet management: Cell
Long range remote equipment or sensor monitoring: Cell
Short range remote equipment or sensor monitoring: Long range Zigbee

(My 10 cents)

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Cell has a place for telemetry for long range and remote applications.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is cell?
I fear Google will not help me with that search.

“Cell” is what europeans call “mobile” - telephony. Americans think the most interesting part is the fact that it is battery driven (the cell), and not that is mobile… HA HA … OR?

EDIT: @ Gus - why are you asking… PPP is in the testing, are you considering more power behind it.

Mobile telephony is getting more and more sophisticated and cheaper, so I assume the IoT hardware should be able to benefit from that in the longer terms.

Haha. I was over thinking it.

Has anyone heard of Home - Sigfox 0G Technology . If it catches on this will be ideal for IoT devices that only need to send simple data. And it will massively undercut the costs of cell plans.

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GSM is a great idea but to really make it work (other than PPP :stuck_out_tongue: and software) you need a data package that is cheap (fixed price is best) and pay monthly or 1 year up front etc.

Trying to use Pay As You Go (or pulsa or credit top up) is not ideal as you need to keep a track of this and somehow remember to top it up. I use this for development only but once the device is rolled out, it has to be pay monthly or other means so that it just works.

It’s not always cheaper but it has the advantage that you don’t need a WiFi access point which sort of puts it in the remote, away from home scenario. If you have something at home, WiFi makes more sense, assuming you have WiFi available in your home.

Never heard of “sigfox” but will do a little investigating, looks promising. With mobile telephony, cost has always been the issue in my opinion. Currently I do not have requirement to use mobile telephony :frowning:

The name probably comes from the name of the network signal topology rather than because the phone device is powered by a battery.

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I used to call it a Bat Phone. Way cooler name.

“A SigFox base station can serve a radius of tens of kilometers in the countryside and five kilometers in urban areas. To connect to the network, a device will need a $1 or $2 wireless chip that’s compatible, and customers will pay about $1 in service charges per year per device.” http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527376/silicon-valley-to-get-a-cellular-network-just-for-things/

100 baud would also be an important factor for most.

That’s what allows you to get 5km out of a 10mW licence free transmitter. Probably not much use for your smart watch, but more than enough for your thermostat or smoke detector.

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I didn’t read every detail about SigFox, it does look interesting. However, it looks very proprietary. If the service ends up being sold in a similar manner as cell service, multiple providers in a given area, it could be successful. It would also require multiple hardware vendors.
I would like to know how they handle 10’s of thousands of devices in a given area at 100 baud. More technical details would be nice to see.

As far as cellular service goes, SparqEE, the rumored makers of the SparqEE CELL modem, is supposedly going to sell service as well. SparqEE – SparqSIM

(I say “rumored makers of the SparqEE Cell” because I was a backer on the Kickstarter that ended in Sept, 2013. Delivery was supposed to be end of 2013. I will be surprised if I see something by this Sept.)

I have no idea where I’d get a m2m sim in ultra low quantities…

Good question! Where would someone get 10 cards and pay $10 month for each?

Then what would be the least amount?!

I had AT&T quote me this week $2 - $3 per sim card per month for pooled data. Which matches pretty close to what SparqSIM has on their web site. (SparqEE – SparqSIM)

The actual data usage is on top of the $2-$3.