Securing cloud connectivity for IoT

Matthew Jones Arelion

We first became aware of cellular IoT connectivity by accident. After blocking illegitimate 3G signalling data traffic to our network in 2015, we got a call from a mobile operator (not a customer) complaining that we had taken down their connected car programme.

Additional issues arose and soon it was clear that the hype around IoT was centred around the use cases, showing little interest in how underlying connectivity is managed. An example would be where and how the IoT device data gets resolved and more importantly, who to turn to in case of failure.

Thus far, SIM cards are sold and placed into the enterprise-owned device by mobile operators or resellers. Devices can be located in multiple countries; data is then tunnelled back to the “home vendor’s” mobile network.

Data tunnelling relies on legacy commercial models between the mobile operators (roaming agreements), mostly manually handled and committed for long terms. This is forcing the enterprise to lock-in their business to the SIM vendors.

Data tunnelling to home networks is sub-optimal when measuring network performance and can impact applications, especially those that require low latency. As with most business there is always disruption and IoT is no different. A raft of new providers is emerging, laser focused on the enterprise IoT network performance and SIM management requirements, with some enterprises also coming to the fore.

These disruptors are taking advantage of the hyperscaler clouds. By replacing home network tunnelling and resolving the data locally or regionally, significantly improving network performance can be achieved, thus allowing more data to be collected.

In our view there are three stages to IoT development, which are described in the diagram below. The industry currently sits between ‘fragmented’ and ‘coming together’.

The wanted position in my view is a long way off. Operators would like to win this business, but it needs a federated approach which will have significant challenges.

So, from a connectivity perspective, how can we come together? IoT requires a highly secure connection from multiple mobile networks to clouds wherever they may be. There is no question that the number of devices will increase massively, even more so now that some of the networking challenges are taken care of. Just look at the figures in Ericsson Mobility Report, November 2021 (numbers in billions):

This is where Arelion’s IPX to Cloud can help IoT Companies not get caught up in poor performance and application problems, but take more control of the applications they run, using a dedicated connection to the cloud.

Read more on Arelion’s IPX & IoT site, where you will also find infographics, FAQ, and a use case.

Matthew Jones
Sales Director, Mobile Data Products