An IoT network uses a wireless connection and the internet to connect different physical “things”, such as GPS trackers in vehicles or sensors in machines, to a cloud platform.
These platforms are located at a cloud provider, such as Deutsche Telekom, or at a local data centre and contain data storage, control applications and potentially applications for machine learning and data analytics. “If x, then y” business logic is also defined in these platforms with the goal of triggering downstream actions. Here is an example of such a rule for a connected building: “If the CO2 content increases, start the ventilation.”
Mobile networks are ideal for connecting IoT devices with this platform as the technology is available around the world and does not require the installation of cables or transmitters. At the same time, they ensure that IoT devices can be moved freely without any network interruptions. Like in smartphones, the devices use SIM cards to connect to a mobile network. As IoT devices have different requirements to smartphones when it comes to data volume, we offer special IoT tariffs. These can be used for mobile networks developed specifically for IoT, such as LTE-M (Long Term Evolution for Machines) and NB IoT (NarrowBand IoT), and provide additional functions that are decisive when using the Internet of Things.
For example, managing the large number of SIM cards required for using IoT networks is a challenge for companies. We therefore provide access to a user-friendly IoT customer portal with our IoT tariffs, where you can easily monitor and manage the connection status, usage and costs of your IoT SIM cards. The security of IoT networks also plays an important role for companies, which is why we provide you with cutting-edge encryption concepts to secure the data connections of your sensitive IoT projects.
An IoT network requires multiple components:
- Connectivity: Deutsche Telekom offers mobile networks based on 2G, 4G, 5G, LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT to connect your IoT devices. Therefore, you can connect your devices with SIM cards wherever you are in the world, without the need to install transmitters or lay cables. Mobile networks also provide a level of mobility that technologies such as WLAN or Bluetooth simply do not offer.
- Hardware: Additional hardware may be required to connect your devices: whether you need a wireless module, a router or a gateway, Deutsche Telekom offers certified hardware that works perfectly with our mobile network solutions.
- IoT platform: You need a cloud platform to analyse data, define a business logic and connect further software solutions via programming interfaces. With the Cloud of Things, Deutsche Telekom has an intuitive solution that you can test for 60 days, free of charge.
Deutsche Telekom provides all components for an IoT network – perfectly attuned to each other and from a single source, thereby ensuring seamless functionality.
IoT SIM cards are the key component of every connection to a mobile network. Just like the SIM cards in our smartphones, they provide an encrypted connection to a mobile network.
They generally access specific mobile networks that are suitable for the respective use case. Alongside 2G, 4G and 5G, these also include special networks for IoT devices, such as LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT.
IoT SIM cards do not necessarily differ in appearance from SIM cards for smartphones: they are often plastic cards with a chip printed on them and are available in different formats, including Mini SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM. As IoT devices have to work in various environmental conditions and often need to work for many years, we also offer these plug-in SIM cards in particularly robust industry or high-end variants. These cards can withstand extreme temperature differences and have a lifespan two to three times that of conventional SIM cards.
In addition to these plug-in SIM cards, we also offer eSIM cards for IoT applications, which solely consist of a chip that can be soldered directly in the IoT device. This makes them more resistant to extreme environmental conditions, provides greater security against the SIM card losing contact with the module and offers additional protection against theft and misuse. We have also collaborated with renowned partners to develop the nuSIM, a card which does not possess its own hardware, but is integrated directly into the modem chip.
The requirements for mobile networks in the IoT sector are significantly more complex than for consumer use. Therefore, we have created a tariff portfolio comprising both standard tariffs with preconfigured SIM cards and individual offers that require very specific solutions and high levels of service and consultation.
For more complex projects that require a greater degree of flexibility, more costs can be incurred for hardware, additional services and custom solutions alongside the SIM cards. Our IoT Business family is available for these purposes. We will gladly provide you with a quotation following a free consultation.
nuSIM is a SIM card developed by Deutsche Telekom and renowned partners that is optimised specifically for IoT applications. IoT projects such as smart electricity, water and gas meters, intelligent street lights, smart parking or sensors for environmental data require particularly small, robust and energy-saving end devices that must also be affordable.
All SIM functions that are not needed for IoT communication, such as voice transmission, were therefore explicitly omitted from the nuSIM. It is integrated directly in the modem chip as an iSIM (integrated SIM), which means there is no longer any need for separate hardware that takes up space in the device and requires its own logistics processes. The nuSIM is preconfigured and shipped with the device.
The biggest difference is that the nuSIM is integrated completely into the IoT device without any separate hardware being required, while an eSIM comprises a chip (MFF) which must be added as a separate component. As such, the eSIM uses more electricity than the nuSIM, generates higher costs and requires its own logistics processes for procurement, installation and use.
There are also differences when it comes to the functions: the eSIM comprises all typical SIM card features, including those that are not absolutely necessary for IoT applications. In addition, their profiles can be replaced wirelessly, which enables users to switch mobile network providers, for example.
nuSIMs are integrated directly into the modem chip during the manufacturing of the IoT device and are preconfigured upon delivery. All functions that are not needed for IoT applications are omitted in order to reduce costs and save energy.
The first nuSIM chips and modules will be launched soon and can be booked then.
The various mobile networks (2G, 4G/LTE, 5G, LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT) vary greatly when it comes to data rates, latency, building penetration and battery life. The main question is which of these four properties is the most important factor for the success of your project.
In principle, the following applies: wireless technologies with high frequencies, such as 5G and 4G/LTE, enable high bandwidths and low latencies, but have very high energy consumption, low range and poor building penetration. Contrastingly, low-frequency technologies such as NarrowBand IoT and LTE-M have low energy consumption, a large range and good building penetration, but can only transfer small amounts of data. Which technology is right for you depends on your IoT product. We will gladly advise you here. Answering the following questions will provide an initial indication of what you need:
- What bandwidth do I need? 5G can be used for applications with very high data rates, such as video transmissions or augmented reality applications. A sensor that measures the water level in a tank only needs a data rate of a few Kbit, for which NarrowBand IoT is sufficient.
- How high can the latency be? Autonomous vehicles or remote-controlled drones, for example, need very quick reaction times that can only be provided by a 5G network, while even minute-long delays are not an issue for sensors that measure humidity.
- How long does the battery life need to be? In certain applications, such as connected street lights or environmental sensors, IoT devices may need to function for years on a single charge. NarrowBand IoT is the perfect solution here, as it can contribute to avoiding regular and costly battery replacements.
- How well must the signal penetrate buildings? IoT devices, such as smart meters, are often installed in cellars or shafts. High-frequency mobile networks like 5G are unsuitable here, with NarrowBand IoT being the better option.
Our IoT team will gladly advise you to find the right network for your application.
IoT networks are often part of critical processes in companies, or are deployed in products for end customers. If they fail, or if an attacker manages to penetrate them, the damage caused can be significant. When using mobile network transmission, you can secure your data connections using an IPsec tunnel via the internet, enabling you to securely transfer data to your IT systems.
To protect your networks, cloud solutions and IoT devices against hacker attacks and reduce the security workload in your IT department, Deutsche Telekom adheres to the most stringent security standards. Throughout the Group, we regularly conduct privacy and security assessments to ensure that data security and protection are integrated in our system and product development. As a result, we have gained international recognition as a leading provider of cyber security.
In addition, our tariffs provide access to our IoT platform via a leased line without internet connection for particularly high demands with regard to data security. We also provide fraud detection as a service as part of our security solutions. Here, we actively monitor the usage data of your IoT devices and warn you in the event of any irregularities, for example if a SIM card is being used in a country it should not be located in.
IoT projects can comprise hundreds or even thousands of devices connected via mobile networks. The sheer number of connections can make it challenging to keep an overview of the use and billing of the SIM cards, which is why we provide access to our IoT customer portal (M2M Service Portal 3.0). Here, you can manage SIM cards, contracts, invoices, reports and usage data via an online portal or simply integrate them into your business processes via an API. Read more about our IoT customer portal here.
We will gladly advise you and select the right components from the many possible combinations available at Deutsche Telekom. Furthermore, we do not simply support you during the technical implementation – we also help you develop a suitable business plan. To this end, we offer digital strategy workshops and accompany you in performing the proof of concept for your digital strategy. Please do not hesitate to call us!