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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: January 2021

7 - IoT Connectivity Technologies


Learning Outcomes

After reading this chapter, the reader will be able to:

  • List common connectivity protocols in IoT

  • Identify the salient features and application scope of each connectivity protocol

  • Understand the terminologies and technologies associated with IoT connectivity

  • Determine the requirements associated with each of these connectivity protocols in real-world solutions

  • Determine the most appropriate connectivity protocol for each segment of their IoT implementation


This chapter outlines the main features of fifteen identified commonly used and upcoming IoT connectivity enablers. These connectivity technologies can be integrated with existing sensing, actuation, and processing solutions for extending connectivity to them. Some of these solutions necessarily require integration with a minimal form of processing infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi. In contrast, others, such as Zigbee, can work in a standalone mode altogether, without the need for external processing and hardware support. These solutions are outlined in the subsequent sections in this chapter.

IEEE 802.15.4

The IEEE 802.15.4 standard represents the most popular standard for low data rate wireless personal area networks (WPAN) [1]. This standard was developed to enable monitoring and control applications with lower data rate and extend the operational life for uses with low-power consumption. This standard uses only the first two layers—physical and data link—for operation along with two new layers above it: 1) logical link control (LLC) and 2) service-specific convergence sublayer (SSCS). The additional layers help in the communication of the lower layers with the upper layers. Figure 7.1 shows the IEEE 802.15.4 operational layers. The IEEE 802.15.4 standard was curated to operate in the ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical) band.

The direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) modulation technique is used in IEEE 802.15.4 for communication purposes, enabling a wider bandwidth of operation with enhanced security by the modulating pseudo-random noise signal. This standard exhibits high tolerance to noise and interference and offers better measures for improving link reliability. Typically, the low-speed versions of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard use binary phase shift keying (BPSK), whereas the versions with high data rate implement offset quadrature phase shift keying (O-QPSK) for encoding the message to be communicated. Carrier sense multiple access with collision avoidance (CSMA-CA) is the channel access method used for maintaining the sequence of transmitted signals and preventing deadlocks due to multiple sources trying to access the same channel.