IoT networking standards; who’s who and who’s winning out?

February 18, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
How to connect the myriad devices that (it is forecast) will soon pervade the environment we live in? There are many competing proposals for the over-the-air portion; Thread vs. Bluetooth vs. ZigBee vs. Apple Home Kit vs. Intel’s Open Interconnection Consortium and Qualcomm’s AllSeen. From a not-entirely-disinterested viewpoint, GreenPeak’s CEO Cees Links has prepared a white paper surveying the current landscape.

In the white paper, Links aims to provide an overview of the most important contenders around the IoT Wireless Communication Standards – looking specifically at wireless networking technologies. He notes that;

“The three major IEEE based standards are competing to capture as large as possible application domain , all three seem to have found a core application space and will be around for quite a while – IEEE 802.11/WiFi for content sharing and distribution, 802.15.4/ZigBee for low power sense & control networking, and Bluetooth for cable replacement and wearables.

“The battle has moved to the low power sector. With IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee) now becoming dominant in the low-power networking market, there is no surprise that two new low power IEEE-based alternatives, WiFi (with “low power WiFi”) and Bluetooth (with Bluetooth Low Energy) are both trying to enter this market to get a piece of the action.

Links continues (expanding on each of these snippets from his text);

“Recently Google/Nest has adopted 6LowPAN as part of Thread, giving it instant credibility and putting it in direct competition with ZigBee PRO, another contender for this low power data space. ZigBee PRO and Thread (based on the same IEEE 82.15.4 Physical/Link Layer) have certain

competitive advantages over each other. Supporting Ipv6, Thread is well integrated in the IP world. In contrast, ZigBee is already widely adopted...

“Adding to the confusion, there is yet another party in this space now trying to enter this conflict

at the Network/Transport Layer. The Bluetooth SiG has announced an initiative to make Bluetooth “networking capable”.

“However, here is the really important question: is Bluetooth Mesh technically possible”?

Cees Links continues, giving his own, and GreenPeak’s, answer to that question, and more besides – read the entire paper here;  www.greenpeak.com/Press/PressKit/2015GreenPeakWhitePaperIoT&CommStandards.pdf