Flexible Multimodal Sub-Gigahertz Communication for Heterogeneous Internet of Things Applications


To realize low-power and low-cost wireless communication over long distances, several wireless standards using sub-1 GHz frequencies have recently been proposed, each with their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of coverage, energy consumption, and throughput. However, none of them are currently flexible enough to satisfy the requirements of future dynamic and heterogeneous IoT applications. To alleviate this, a novel architecture that uses a multimodal device for flexibly employing a variety of heterogeneous sub-1 GHz wireless networks is proposed. It greatly increases network flexibility, resilience, and performance. A device design is presented together with an abstraction layer that combines the different networks into a single flexible virtual network substrate. The article elaborates on the qualitative advantages of this approach. Measurement-based simulation results show advantages in terms of energy efficiency, with significant reduction in energy use compared to a single-technology solution in a representative IoT track and trace scenario. Finally, the article identifies several open research challenges that need to be resolved to fully realize this vision of flexible multimodal communication for demanding IoT applications.

IEEE Communications Magazine