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Frequently Asked Questions

IoT Connectivity

Why should I choose cellular connectivity for my IoT solution?

When choosing connectivity for your IoT solution, you are faced with many options. In addition to Cellular - WiFi, Bluetooth, Sigfox and LoRa are some of the most popular technologies (and there are many more!). Cellular connectivity holds some great advantages:

  • Security
    Cellular networks are operated under very strict security requirements when it comes to stability, privacy and threat response. In comparison to for example LoRa or WiFi you will not have to worry about operating and securing the network you connect your devices to. This is what telecom operators such as Telenor have done for years, and it is one of our most important areas of expertise. For simple, low-power devices there is additional functionality in the network to send your data securely without it reaching the open internet at all.

  • Ease of installation
    With cellular connectivity you can provision everything straight out of the factory and have your devices installed wherever you like without thinking about connecting it to a local network or any other integrations or limitations.

  • Freedom to move and roam
    With cellular connectivity you have the freedom to move around and even roam to other countries. For use-cases such as tracking this is essential. The possibility to move around also give you the opportunity to re-use devices at different locations without doing any new provisioning between places.

What kind of SIM card and subscription should I use?

The SIM card size and form-factor are irrelevant to the connectivity you receive. It is however very important that SIM cards fit with your hardware devices. Some devices have solderable, integrated SIMs or eSIMs (read more), but some also have the traditional SIM card slot that you are used to from your mobile phone. It is important for you to choose the right SIM for your use case

  • 1FF – Full size SIM (Not much used any longer)
  • 2FF – Mini-SIM
  • 3FF – Micro-SIM
  • 4FF – Nano-SIM

The above are all removable SIMs, just as you would use for your phone. In some cases it is possible to order an "MFF" (Multi Form Factor) which includes all formats in a single card which you break out.

For situations where reliability in harsh environments is important, or you are concerned with tampering, consider the MFF2 format which is a solderable SIM.

Although they look simillar and use the same technologies, IoT SIMs differ greatly from the mobile versions you are familliar with. They offer features and functions tailored for IoT solutions in addition to network access and data consumption limits. The features will vary from operator to operator, from country to country and even differ when roaming.

At a basic level, some things to consider:

  • The coverage you require
  • Data consumption needs
  • Functionality (data, sms, voice etc)
  • Radio Access Type (balancing speed/badwidth, cost and power consumption)
    • 2G (GSM - now sunsetting)
    • 3G (UMTS - also sunsetting)
    • 4G (LTE)
    • LPWAN (LTEm/NB-IoT)
    • 5G

For more information and help, consult the following links for your local Telenor operator and contact them to discuss your needs.

What Cellular networks are used for IoT?

Traditionally, many legacy machine to machine (M2M) communication have utilized the 2G (GSM) or 3G (UMTS) networks alongside regular mobile phones. On 4G (LTE) and 5G however, a part of the standards are the specialised cellular IoT networks NB-IoT and LTE-M.

NB-IoT and LTE-M are cellular low-power wide area (LPWA) networks specialised for IoT use cases that don’t require the bandwidth many consumer products do. They are built on LTE (4G) technology and will be continued onto the fifth generation (5G) cellular network.

NB-IoT is specially tailored for use cases where battery life and wide area coverage is crucial. It is designed for devices that send small amounts of data and can enter deep sleep cycles between communication windows. A combination of features between the device communication modules and functionality in the network makes for very advanced battery saving that enable battery-powered devices to live for as long as 10-15 years.

LTE-M allows for higher throughput than NB-IoT, while still enabling power saving functionality and enhanced coverage. The LTE-M network also allows for voice over LTE (VoLTE), which makes it ideal for use cases where you need to send audio payloads.

When talking about 5G for IoT, we are often highlighting functionality such as edge computing and private cellular networks through network slicing. This will enable high-throughput and low-latency use cases such as self-driving cars and real-time remote controlling without compromising on security.

What are the requirements of my IoT device to use these networks?

To be able to connect to the cellular IoT networks, your device has to have a communication module that supports the networks and radio frequencies they are deployed on. Cellular communication modules are separated into categories according to their supported standards. The categories for LTE networks are as follows:

  • NB-IoT network: Cat-NB1 and Cat-NB2
  • LTE-M network: Cat-M1 and Cat-M2
  • LTE network: Cat-1,2,3,…

When sourcing or building a cellular IoT device you also have to make sure it supports the right frequency bands. It is common that the LPWA networks are deployed on the 700-900 MHz frequencies, but we are also starting to see utilization of the 1200 and 1600 MHz bands as countries are sunsetting the 3G network and reutilizing the spectrum.

Telenor IoT Cloud

What is Telenor IoT Cloud?

IoT Cloud is a Managed IoT Platform that allows you to simply collect, sort, store and manage your data. Broadly it provides

  • Device Management from onboarding, through usage and offboarding
  • Data ingestion, storage and processing
  • Integrations to external systems
  • Data visualisation

IoT Cloud builds upon industry standards such as MQTT for data reporting as well as REST and GraphQL APIs for integrations. Taking an "API First" approach, IoT Cloud can be quickly integrated to existing platforms for both administration and management but also data processing. For speed IoT Cloud provides a comprehensive GUI to administer the instance as well as visualise your data in customizable dashboards and a powerful rules engine gives you the ability to automatically take action. You can read more on IoT Cloud at the following links

Telenor IoT Cloud is an application enablement platform that allows you to simply collect, sort, store and manage your data. It also takes care of device management and has functionality to run jobs and create rules of notification or action easily through the user interface. Telenor IoT Cloud is built according to the “API first” concept so it is easy to build tailored applications on top or integrate with other systems. Link to our extensive API docs are found here (link to docs). In addition, IoT Cloud provides a customizable user interface for you to get started and begin to collect, visualize and create rules on your data. Read more about IoT Cloud here (link to product sheet on connexion.com).

How is my data secured?

Security in an IoT Solution is critical and we take it very seriously.

At the cellular level your system is secured through mobile net, if you require extra private networks (APNs) and VPNs may be available. Consult your local operator for assistance to discuss these options (see What kind of SIM card and subscription should I use?).

For non-cellular implementations, security is managed by the local network operator ()

Within IoT Cloud all devices are secured using TLS encryption and X.509 certificates which are mandatory for all devices. IoT Cloud makes provisioning certitificates a one-click operation and integration via APIs allows manufacturing lines to ensure devices are secured from the moment they leave the factory. Certificate Life Cycle Management functionality built into IoT Cloud allows you to manage and maintain certificates throughout the life of the device. If you are concerned a device is compromised devices can be disabled or even removed quickly and simply.

Telenor IoT Cloud is deployed as completely separate instances for each of our customers. There is no way to move from one customer deployment to another, which creates the basic security of no sideways mobility. Within the instance, the data and users can also be divided into domains according to a tree structure that prevents users from accessing information they don’t have access to and further controlled using user roles and permissions.

Can I test IoT Cloud?

Yes! You can request a demo of IoT Cloud here. We will review your information and provide access as soon as possible.*

*You will have to verify your mail after signup, and then, after your request have been verified and the demo is ready you will get a second mail.

Where can I get help?

You can ask any question about IoT Cloud in our Start IoT forum. Here our technical experts and support team, as well as other users will be able to answer you and provide help.

Telenor IoT Gateway

What is Telenor IoT Gateway?

IoT Gateway is an extension to IoT Cloud to allow the use of CoAP in addition to MQTT specifically for resource constrained devices. It makes use of private cellular networks for security and as such requires specific network subscriptions limited to Telenor Norway. We plan to expand this offering in the future. Please contact us (startiot@telenor.com) to discuss this further.

IoT Cloud definitions

What is a Thing?

A thing is a virtual representation of a physical device that sends data packages to Managed IoT Cloud. Each thing has their own set of X.509 certificate keys. A large number of things can be created in batch if they share the same settings.

What is a Thing Type?

A thing type is a group of things that report the same sensor data packages. Rules can be applied for all things in a Thing Type group, and data from the things can be viewed in the same dashboard.

What is a resource?

A resource is a single data point reported by a sensor. This can for example be temperature, acceleration or any other sensor data. A data packet can be transformed into multiple resources and visualised in separate widgets in the Managed IoT Cloud dashboard.?

What are rules and how do they work?

Rules are used to issue HTTP requests to remote servers when a pre-defined condition is triggered. For example, this can be used to define alarms which generates HTTP requests to a remote SMS service when a temperature resource is above 20 degrees. This makes it possible to send an SMS indicating an alarm situation.

Rules are defined from the configuration menu in IoT Cloud. You will find rules under the settings -> rules menu.

Follow the on screen guide to create a rule.

An uplink transformation is a Javascript code snippet used to transform the payload from the LoRaWAN device into resources that can be used directly in the Managed IoT Cloud dashboard. Defining an uplink transformation is done by performing transformations on the payload.

An example of a complete (and simple) uplink transformation is

return {
temperature: payload.toString(‘ascii’)
}

In this example, a single resource, named temperature, is created from the payload.

You can add several resources to the return statement. For example, if the payload from the device is comma separated. (Example: “23.5, 29”).

The corresponding transformation would be

var data = payload.toString(‘ascii’).split(‘,’) 
return {
temperature: data[0], humidity: data[1]
}

A downlink transformation is a JavaScript code snippet used to transform the resources that are transmitted back to the device (downlink). For example, this can be used to transfer a timestamp variable into a UNIX timestamp.