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Why 2G is Best for Embedded M2M

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July 23, 2014

Why 2G is Best for Embedded M2M

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

When discussing next generation communications, most people may think of 3G and 4G LTE (News - Alert) capabilities, but as embedded M2M technology continues to gain more momentum, there is still a need—and a demand—for 2G technology.

In fact, a number of embedded M2M technologies are still completely supported by 2G. This includes a variety of connected smart meters used by utilities and telematics applications in use by transportation companies. The majority of M2M connections are supported with 2G as they do not require a constant data transfer in real-time.

Plus, the information being exchanged between M2M devices is not as dynamic as the information traversing 3G and 4G connections, and therefore less demanding. The latter options are certainly more expensive and the cost model doesn’t support the value proposition presented by embedded M2M. As a provider, Sprint (News - Alert) still makes 2G support a priority so that all M2M customers can select the platform that best suits their business model.

For the foreseeable future, 2G still offers longevity and greater affordability for mass distribution. As such, M2M application developers can leverage the “pay what they need” strategy for the short and long term. The better coverage and larger install base makes the platform easier to access and ensures users have the tools they need to get the information necessary.

In some industries, the technology longevity is evident in 2G to support M2M. For instance, there is a seven year anticipated hold in asset management, 10 years in automotive, seven years in digital signage, five years in healthcare, 10 years in security and seven years in retail and payments.

From Sprint’s perspective, too many companies are making the unnecessary migration to 3G when a 2G network will readily support what is needed in M2M. There shouldn’t be a fear of service degradation and making the move prematurely can lead to disruption and unnecessary costs. The carrier is committed to network choice so that companies relying heavily on embedded M2M can leverage the network best suited to their needs and not the other way around.

It doesn’t hurt that, as users switch to 3G and 4G LTE networks in mass quantities, 2G networks can reduce the amount of traffic fighting for dominance and M2M use takes the front seat. That option alone makes a powerful value proposition for any organization managing a large number of devices as part of their business model. If the change isn’t necessary, why take on the headache and the cost?

Edited by Alisen Downey

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