Chapter 1. Are Your Networks Ready for the IoT?

Imagine if you live in a country that has cars and roads, but no highways. Your car would be useful, but it would be much more useful if there were highways.

Imagine the Internet of Things as systems of highways. What should we expect from those systems?

Naturally, we would want them to be safe, secure, and resilient at every level. In addition to providing seamless and reliable connectivity, they would be scalable and cost-effective.

It’s important for us to discuss and delineate our expectations of IoT systems, because the universe of connected smart devices and sensors is expanding rapidly. Four years from now, according to several estimates, there will be 20 billion to 50 billion connected devices and the IoT will add between $7 trillion and $19 trillion to the global GDP.1

Growth at that scale will create challenges and opportunities for businesses, organizations, and individuals in every sector of the economy. William Ruh, chief digital officer at GE, describes the IoT as a vast network of “chatty machines,” generating data at speeds and volumes that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. 

The looming transformation raises a critical question: are existing networks ready for the data traffic that will be created by a vibrant and growing IoT economy?

A Symphony of Networks

Because practically all of us carry mobile phones, we tend to perceive our communications network as exclusively wireless. But moving signals ...

Get Are Your Networks Ready for the IoT? now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.