IoT: Wi-Fi, Ethernet and cellular protocols dominate in Libelium survey
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

Wi-Fi, Ethernet and cellular protocols are currently the most popular means of connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) projects, followed by LoRaWAN, according to a survey conducted by Libelium, which focused on the main challenges, concerns and barriers faced while developing technological projects related with the IoT.

The full breakdown was as follows:

  • Wi-Fi – 20.60 per cent
  • Cellular – 13.70 per cent
  • Ethernet – 12.40 per cent
  • LoRaWAN– 11.10 per cent
  • Bluetooth – 9.80 per cent
  • Zigbee – 8 per cent
  • LTE-M/NB-IoT – 4.30 per cent
  • Sigfox – 4.10 per cent
  • Satellite – 2.30 per cent
  • Others – 13.80 per cent

A large majority of respondents (78.70 per cent) indicated that choosing the connectivity between data capture devices (e.g. sensors) and the IoT project’s data storage cloud platform is one of the most difficult decisions that has to be made when planning and implementing an IoT project. However, 76.8 per cent of respondents said that they knew the different connectivity options in sufficient detail to be able to choose the option(s) that are most suitable for each project.

In addition, 86 per cent said that they required more accurate sensors to obtain reliable data, but somewhat confusingly, 82 per cent said that durability is more important than accuracy when it comes to devices.

Respondents’ top five concerns were connectivity, integration of hardware devices, interoperability between platforms, security and total cost. While 91.4 per cent said that their projects use sensors, only 3.6 per cent reported the use of gateways. 73 per cent said that they prefer sensors to be pre-programmed or to be easy to configure, compared with the 27 per cent who said that they preferred them to be unprogrammed because their project has one or more programmers.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (98 per cent) said that the industry needs professionals with a higher level of knowledge in the design and architecture of IoT solutions. The immaturity of the market was also highlighted, with less than 12 per cent of respondents stating that they are developing large projects, compared with the more than 23 per cent that are working on proof of concepts and research projects. Three quarters of those surveyed have developed less than five IoT projects.

As far as data storage and analysis is concerned, 46.80 per cent of respondents said that they prefer a cloud development platform, while 38.60 per cent prefer a proprietary software solution running on a cloud application. Only 14.60 per cent expressed a preference for on the edge storage.

The survey was conducted for 12 weeks and is based on responses from 637 experts from more than 250 companies and five continents, including Acciona, Amazon, BSH, Capgemini, Dell, Ericsson, HP, NEC and Dell.

A report that contains the full results of the survey can be downloaded via

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