As telecommunication engineers know, packet gateways (PGW) provide the last node for mobile devices before they reach the Internet. Packet gateways are designed and sized to handle network traffic coming from phones based on plans, profiles, devices, etc.
With the introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT), the profile of these devices is changing dramatically. Millions of new Internet ready technologies bring a different use profile than the smart phone, but have the same need to connect through PGW’s to access the Internet. This could be a network connected refrigerator, camera, security system or other device.
As Daniel Conrad of TechCrunch recently wrote in his article, “Three reasons carriers are building new cell networks for the Internet of Things”, “New networks are necessary because cell phone networks fall short for IoT in three ways: battery life, cost and wireless coverage….Solving just one of those factors would be enough to justify new networks. Solving all three is a game-changer for IoT — and that’s what these new networks plan to do.”
Companies must now account for large increases in connected devices that may not have the bandwidth requirements of traditional technologies. Can the existing PGW handle the extra load? Do new PGWs need to be added? Should they be located closer to the consumer? Should different types of PGWs be employed to handle the variety in traffic?
In addition, some of these new connected devices can be mission critical, such as an online heart monitor or other wired medical device, but other technologies can temporarily lose connection without major disruption. The provider must account for these different requirements. As pointed out by Conrad, “IoT devices have a nasty tendency to be deployed in precisely the places that today’s cell networks don’t reach: like flood detectors in basements, parking sensors in underground lots and soil sensors in rural corn fields.”
Simulations of network traffic can be valuable to determine the capabilities of your PGW versus the IoT. Technologies exist that can mimic the various devices that would access the PGW, allowing for the testing of bandwidth and latency, among other capabilities. Conformance and load testing tools, like those offered by Valid8.com, allow providers to analyze their current PGW and create thoughtful plans for expansion to meet the growing needs of the Internet of Things.
Network traffic simulations will be critical to assess your PGW capabilities. visit Valid8.com to learn more about their IoT Load tester.