Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWANs) are the new phenomenon in IoT. By providing long-range communication on small, inexpensive batteries that last for years, this family of technologies is purpose-built to support large-scale IoT networks sprawling over vast industrial and commercial campuses.
Well-established in the consumer mobile market, cellular networks offer reliable broadband communication supporting various voice calls and video streaming applications. On the downside, they impose very high operational costs and power requirements.
Zigbee and Other Mesh Protocols
Zigbee is a short-range, low-power, wireless standard (IEEE 802.15.4), commonly deployed in mesh topology to extend coverage by relaying sensor data over multiple sensor nodes. Compared to LPWAN, Zigbee provides higher data rates, but at the same time, much less power-efficiency due to mesh configuration.
Bluetooth and BLE
Defined in the category of Wireless Personal Area Networks, Bluetooth is a short-range communication technology well-positioned in the consumer marketplace.
There is virtually no need to explain Wi-Fi, given its critical role in providing high-throughput data transfer for both enterprise and home environments.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to transmit small amounts of data from an RFID tag to a reader within a very short distance.