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Do We Need Special Networks For "Smart" Home Appliances?
by Karl Bode 10:28AM Wednesday May 21 2014
Though I generally find the phrase "Internet of things" immensely obnoxious for some reason, a French company is building a network in Silicon Valley that's specifically made for...things. According to MIT Technology Review, French company SigFox is building a 900 MHz unlicensed spectrum (historically used by cordless phones) network to power low-bandwidth, low-power devices around the home that need connectivity.

Well, a little connectivity. Devices connected to the network will pull down just 100 bits per second, but SigFox claims that's all your Internet-powered smoke detectors, dog collars, bicycle locks, water pipes and smart underpants will need:
quote:
Regular mobile networks are jammed with traffic from phone calls and people downloading videos. But for the Internet of things to become a reality, similar capabilities will need to be extended to billions of objects, many of them embedded in the environment and powered by small batteries. “If you want to get to billions of connections like that, you require a completely new type of network,” says Luke D’Arcy, director of SigFox’s operations in the U.S.
Arguing that modern cellular networks are "jammed" seems like a stretch, and most larger wireless carriers would love it if every device in your home was pulling from your shared data allotment every time it required a firmware update or wanted to send your energy usage to the cloud. What do you think? Is there really a market for this or do existing networks suffice?

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n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

IP Addresses

I wonder what they are going to use for IP addresses. IPv6 or the IPv4 10.x.x.x block? Seems with any every device needing an address, they are going to fill up pretty quickly.
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Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
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Re: IP Addresses

the few having hundreds of devices could probably afford to host another local network segment - it's what companies do on their own private networks.
also if IP's are not static, but dynamically assigned locally, then it would only be the devices that are actually ON that would need a local IP.
78036364

join:2014-05-06
USA
said by n2jtx:

I wonder what they are going to use for IP addresses. IPv6 or the IPv4 10.x.x.x block? Seems with any every device needing an address, they are going to fill up pretty quickly.

With IPv6 every human on earth today could have a trillion IP adresses.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Maybe they need the low power portion.

I'm sure that the capacity exists on traditional cellular networks, but traditional networks also use a lot more power, maybe connected devices could benefit from the low power aspect of this networks nature.
existenz

join:2014-02-12
kudos:2

Re: Maybe they need the low power portion.

good point

PhoenixDown
FIOS is Awesome
Premium
join:2003-06-08
Fresh Meadows, NY
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Why not use WIFI

If its in the home I dont see why it can't connect to my WIFI network.
--
Add a signature here

F100

join:2013-01-15
Durham, NC

1 recommendation

Compeating with existing 900MHz devices

One problem with these low power devices transmitting on 900MHz is that other devices are already using 900MHz for proprietary data transmission that will compete or crowd out the spectrum. I'm not talking about older cordless phone or P2P family radios(Walkie talkies), it's stuff like water meters.

Our city is in the process of installing water meters that transmit on 900MHz for the reader truck as it drives by. The meters though, just spew out a ping like signal all day long at certain intervals. Found this quote from a guy who is trying to tap in to the signal to read his meter for home automation. "From the product information on the R900, while it sends a 900 MHz spread-spectrum RF burst with the “latest” usage data every 14 seconds".

There is also this thread here on DSLR. »Utility Smart Meters Screwing Up WISPs, Home Routers

I don't see how a low power device( and low power signal I assume) is going to over come all that RF noise in an unlicensed band. If WISPs are having trouble with it, how does Silicon Valley think they will solve it?

I'd love to get your thoughts from you RF guys.
lijacobs

join:2010-07-30
Lawrence, NY
kudos:1

We already have this technology

It's called Z-Wave, Insteon, WeMo, mesh network. It uses 900 MHz, works well, no need to develop anything new.

Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
kudos:1
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3 recommendations

Why

Why does every dishwasher, dryer, and toaster need to be internet connected. I am a Computer Science major and I cant see the useful purpose other than to create another consumeristic hyper-cycle of obsolescence.

Sorry, your toaster cannot run Toastdroid 4.5.1.2 HD edition, please upgrade to the Samsung Toastxy 5 HD.

Attn. Verizon Wireless Customer - Your Dishwasher 4G LTE plan has used up its 10mb data cap - you owe an overage of $300 dollars. Consider upgrading to Dishwasher+ for more Dishwasher Social Network access.

tshirt
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join:2004-07-11
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Re: Why

said by Zenit:

Why does every...

That's the first question, do we NEED "Smart Connected" everything?
Obviously not really for most.
second question is the large/major appliances rarely move so an Ethernet jack next to the refrigerator plug and water/ice hook up
OR having them communicate over the powerline back to some centeral point (fuse box) would keep the info local to the house unless you CHOOSE to post it to your secure "My Home" web page (could be info only or info and control)

camper
Premium
join:2010-03-21
Bethel, CT
kudos:1
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Re: Why

said by tshirt:

That's the first question, do we NEED "Smart Connected" everything?...

 
So you can be monitored for targeted advertising.

LG Will Take The 'Smart' Out Of Your Smart TV If You Don't Agree To Share Your Viewing And Search Data With Third Parties

How long do you think it will be before those Nest thermostats start showing advertisements on their displays?
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Re: Why

said by camper:

How long do you think it will be before those Nest thermostats start showing advertisements on their displays?

Very soon. That very thing was reported this morning.
tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL
Reviews:
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Even that is huge waste... Couple of extra watts of energy in uP to run the e-net capable frig, another watt or two for Ethernet interface, another two watts extra energy consumption at E-net switch. It adds up, and you start looking at 5 to 8 extra watts of 24x7 energy consumption for what???

It doesn't make sense. I would rather see Maxim's 1-wire interface made into a house wiring standard, something which could also be used for an alarm system, other simple tasks(A/C, heating thermostat), frig/freezer monitoring, sprinkler control, door bell, etc, and and still consume less than a watt of energy for whole system. (A net energy savings over all systems it replaces.)

Thecomedian

join:2013-12-09
Nicely stated

AnonMe

@75.150.99.x

1 recommendation

said by Zenit:

Why does every dishwasher, dryer, and toaster need to be internet connected

I agree, there is no need! I'm an IT guy as well, and there comes a point where this crap becomes too much. Nice little "look how cool I am" as a one time thing, but that will wear off quickly when things start getting hacked, cost more to purchase and maintain, etc. More of something doesn't always mean better.

Since I'm ranting, I also am annoyed every time I hear an "Internet of Things" commercial. Maybe even more so than "The Cloud" commercials. Hey, I was using "The Cloud" back in 1989 when I had a CompuServ account!!

Maybe we should start a banned list of ridiculous main stream marketing terms that don't really have any meaning, but have caught on.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
Under certain circumstances, I could understand it. For instance, if I start a load of laundry, I don't want someone starting the dishwasher right away, since both need lots of hot water. So maybe I would want the two appliances to communicate so the dishwasher will know when the washer is done using hot water. During the day, this wouldn't really be necessary if someone is home, but it would be useful if you want these things to run at night.

Another feature could be that appliances could sense an emergency situation. For example, suppose the water meter senses that lots of water is being used. It could then ask the house appliances and faucets if any of them is turned on. If they all report back that no, they aren't using water, then the meter could assume there's a broken pipe somewhere and shut off the water so it doesn't flood the house.

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Re: Why

Or you could just get a tankless hot water heater.

xpbx
220, 221, Whatever It Takes.
Premium
join:2000-11-08

Re: Why

i just retired from a "tankless job"
thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1
said by chip89:

Or you could just get a tankless hot water heater.

and renters are just SOL huh? im not investing in my landlords property with out a discount on the rent, or a guarantied long term lease.

and no, "just move" isnt a valid option.

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

Re: Why

I guess they are...

Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

1 recommendation

said by chip89:

Or you could just get a tankless hot water heater.

Yeah, like that would do anything different when a pipe or washing machine hose breaks which is after the water heater (tank or tankless design) since the water will continue to flow until the cause of the leak is fixed.
--
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TelecomEng

@64.102.249.x
said by Zenit:

Why does every dishwasher, dryer, and toaster need to be internet connected.

Washing machine and dryer in our basement... It would be nice to know when loads are done.

Do I need that, no, but it would be nice not to leave wet clothes in the washing machine for hours, or has happened in the past, a day or two.
stridr69

join:2003-05-19
San Luis Obispo, CA

Re: Why

So.....you can't mentally figure out if you set the dryer to 45 minutes then look at a clock add 45 minutes to find out when the clothes are dry? Seriously?

Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
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Re: Why

Exactly! This is a part of the reason why the whole world is falling apart, nobody wants to think anymore, and this makes the people in power happy. A populace that is lazy/unaware is much easier to control than one that is not dependent on electronic drugs to function.
thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1
said by stridr69:

you can't mentally figure out if you set the dryer to 45 minutes

who sets it for a time any more? mine has a moisture sensor built in. when it gets to a set percentage its done. the time it takes to reach that percentage varies greatly depending on ambiant humidity levels.

and no, when you have two elderly parents losing their hearing "just use the buzzer" isnt an option.

granted i dont think every freaking device needs a connection, but there are times when it makes since. especially for those of us with disabilities.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

1 edit
It's so that we can have more attack vectors to be exploited by the NSA, the next door script-kiddy, robbers, Amazon, Google, Apple, Comcast... Well, you get the idea. Also, you can pay more money to have devices with these features.

xpbx
220, 221, Whatever It Takes.
Premium
join:2000-11-08
so we can stand in front of our refrigerators from halfway across the world. but i agree with you. why indeed?

dslwanter
It's coming
Premium
join:2002-12-16
Mineral Ridge, OH

1 recommendation

Protected networks

I agree we need a separate network for these devices, but not for the same purpose. Needs to be behind a pretty major firewall in my opinion. If you have a wifi connectable thermostat for example, soon a hacker will find a way to make sure your house is 100 degrees by the time you get home from work.

I believe certain appliances, like a dishwasher, shouldn't be network connected. But, a fridge might not be a bad idea. I envision a fridge that scans bar codes of products as you place them in and out.
--
Yeah, it's kind of like that.

ieolus
Support The Clecs

join:2001-06-19
Danbury, CT

No more wireless

Enough with the wireless. Why can't these "things" be hardwired instead?
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Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
kudos:1

Re: No more wireless

Wires are bad, dont you know? (Wireless Carrier Exec name here) cant get a huge bonus with wires.

WHT

join:2010-03-26
Rosston, TX
kudos:5

2 recommendations

Re: No more wireless

As DaDawgs »/profile/1750190 says in the Wireless Service Providers forum,

Once we IPv6 enable every device on the Internet we will have toasters, baby monitors, and security cameras joining the bot nets which today are populated only by idiots that can not refrain from clicking, "Yes I would like to see those titties..."
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL
Yep, they could build Ethernet jacks into AC outlets and then fuse an Ethernet cable onto the side of the appliance's power cord. Essentially one cord with two connectors on the end. Or, take the thing one step further and use the power lines to transmit the network data back to the gateway.

alchav

join:2002-05-17
Saint George, UT
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

said by ieolus:

Enough with the wireless. Why can't these "things" be hardwired instead?

Here is where I disagree, for these non essential Appliances and Devices Wireless is fine. They don't require a lot of Bandwidth, and they can easily connect to your Home Wireless Router. For things that require more Bandwidth like your Desktop or Big Screen HDTV use Home Structured Wiring.
DeLiver
Premium
join:2004-09-01
Cincinnatus, NY
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said by ieolus:

Enough with the wireless. Why can't these "things" be hardwired instead?

I couldn't agree more. Power line networking is the perfect tool for the job. If you are the sole customer off the transformer, no security needed. Plug it in, it gets an IP and phones home. Now we just have to get manufacturers to agree on a standard...
tbone2006

join:2006-07-22
Abilene, TX

»m.youtube.com/watch?v=eM2Mi8HJIf0

rit56

join:2000-12-01
New York, NY

Haha

So you will pay a monthly charge to unlock your bicycle? How about a key? a charge to monitor the temperature in your fridge? how about turning down the dial. This is stupid. Pay pay pay for everything. Hey developers how about an app reminding me to take my pill?

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
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the 100% connected house concept..

...always reminds me of

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRq_SAuQ···_SAuQDec
thedragonmas

join:2007-12-28
Albany, GA
kudos:1

Re: the 100% connected house concept..

lmao, i miss that show.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1

hmm

Home automation devices use 900mhz here in the US already. I use insteon which uses 900mhz or powerline . The newer devices use both . Why create a separate network ?
en103

join:2011-05-02
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

With all of these devices....

I'd be setting up a router with separate VLANs for most of this gear. I don't want/need devices 'chatting' between each other and running port scans/hacking into each other. One rogue/compromised device in your home LAN and your entire home is wide open, and spread across cyber space (probably already is).
cramer
Premium
join:2007-04-10
Raleigh, NC
kudos:9

Re: With all of these devices....

And just why the h*** would you give them internet access in the first place?

Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC

Dumb idea

It's just a marketing a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. It's like TV's, the tube TV's got wiped out quickly so huge sales, next was 3d then here comes Ultra. Never ending attempt to get people to throw there stuff out and buy new higher priced gadgets.

carpetshark3
Premium
join:2004-02-12
Idledale, CO

Re: Dumb idea

If stuff is connected, it can be made to fail so you will have to buy a new appliance or whatever. Planned obsolescence isn't working fast enough.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Life safety devices

Some devices do need there own spectrum like life safety devices. My burglar alarm is a wireless system that uses the 433 MHz band for the sensors. Not that I have them but there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for this system that cannot afford to have interference. If something interferes then it won't transmit back to the panel and it won't report to the central station.

I personally think the FCC should reserve some spectrum for life safety devices (such as fire alarms, medical monitoring systems, and burglar alarms) where a company cannot get FCC certification for such devices operating in that spectrum unless they're considered life safety devices or medical devices.
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Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
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Re: Life safety devices

To me, life safety critical systems on wireless is a massive mistake. Wireless, by its very nature, is difficult to secure as you have already lost the physical access battle. Wireless signals can be jammed by Governmental or Civil entities with relative ease, etc.

Then again, a phone line or cable line can be cut even easier than jamming a wireless signal. We cant depend on the Government or an Alarm Company to keep us safe, that is a matter that should be handled by the individual.

Medical Wireless should be -incredibly- short ranged, to the point that you would need to be in close (touching) contact of the body for an extended period of time for any communication to be possible + strong encryption and access control.