By Harish Viswanathan, CTO Advisor for M2M and Wireless in the Corporate CTO team, Alcatel-Lucent
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) got a lot of attention last week at Mobile World Congress 2013. At its most basic level, M2M to the communication between devices, machines, systems and people. Examples of M2M communication can be as simple as using a credit card for a self-service transaction and home automation, to more advanced applications such as smart metering, telehealth, the Connected Car, and Integrated Communications for highways and utilities.
Fueled by such factors as the ubiquity of wireless networks and simplified IP networks, M2M is rapidly moving out of a “niche” market into a promising opportunity, as evidenced by announcements from service providers such as Deutsche Telekom, Sprint and Verizon.
While growth in deployment of M2M and M2M2H services can be a boon for service providers, they also bring a number of business and technical challenges. Business challenges include navigating a complex and fragmented value chain, device management, and addressing the different needs of various vertical markets. On the technical side, service providers will have to address a number of network considerations such as reliability, availability, scalability, and security to name a few.
One of the biggest factors that service providers will need to prepare for is scalability. As more and more devices and systems “talk” to each other – not just a few devices but potentially MILLIONS – the network will need to be able to scale to meet demand. Making this more complicated is the fact that different services will have varying demands on the network, such as number of transactions taking place, amount of network resources required, and quality of service. Efficiently managing the flood of signaling traffic generated by M2M applications to its specific requirements will be critical to service providers’ success.
As I discuss in “Getting ready for M2M traffic growth“, one efficient approach to traffic management would include overload protection mechanisms at the RAN and core network to prevent flawed applications from abusing the network – combined with application-level control to enable more efficient use of network resources. A new network element, the M2M server, would help network operators prioritize M2M transactions and enforce network usage policies.
Let me know what you think, and check out some of these articles.
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