Access Digitization and 5G
The telecom industry has talked about little other than 5G for the past couple of years. All I hear about at IoT or telecom technology conferences is the potential of 5G and the opportunities with 5G. Despite all the hype, IoT 5G still seems to be stuck in the future.
I’m sure that the industry will eventually get there. So far however, I see few customers willing to pay for the costs of putting 5G inside their IoT applications.
These costs include:
- Adding an always-connected service to a device requires the addition of a LPWAN radio, including the chipset, firmware and antenna. These radio systems are not yet available at prices that will facilitate mass-market adoption.
- The power consumption of being always connected is falling, but is still high enough to seriously impact battery life in portable devices. Always connected portable devices either need to have bigger batteries or be recharged more often. Less time between charges is not attractive in remote mission-critical applications.
- The costs and time it takes to certify new wireless devices for use and for sale in each market.
- The ongoing cost of the wireless subscription service.
We have designed Teleporte to securely virtualize an IoT network through the smartphone. This approach has the obvious disadvantage that it’s not always connected and doesn’t serve real-time alarms in case of physical vandalism. But the advantages in the design are numerous.
- The current Teleporte system is fully redundant to the core network of our customers. This means that it is more resilient: working even when other networks are failing.
- The battery life of portable or remote devices is much longer.
- Products like this can be significantly less cost to deploy, both in the up-front costs and the ongoing costs of the 5G wireless connectivity service.
Our approach with Teleporte also provides a higher level of cyber-resilience than any always-connected device does:
- Any nefarious hacking into our customer’s core networks doesn’t affect Teleporte and if any compromise was found on the Teleporte network it couldn’t be a vector into other sensitive networks. Access control data networks should be independent of the other systems. Cyber-attacks are routinely carried out through connected “smart” devices that seem to perform a tangential function.
- A possible hacking attack with an always-connected device might try to reach all networked access points simultaneously. For example, to unlock all sites on a network. With a network topology like Teleporte, which requires physical presence at the node to make the connection, such an attack is extremely impractical as it would involve visiting each site at the same time otherwise there is no connectivity to carry out such an attack. With most cyber-attacks being conducted by AI today, the most secure form of defence is having the connection only when it is needed.
At Sera4, we participate in building a world of machine-to-machine connected devices. We are already innovating toward secure always-connected solutions in our labs that overcome the challenges described here and when it’s feasible such features will soon integrate seamlessly in the Teleporte network. We encourage those who want the benefits of IoT access devices and smartlocks to proceed today with confidence that today’s Teleporte networks are secure and pragmatic, and that Sera4 will remain at the forefront by introducing always-connected devices as soon as it’s commercially practical to do so.