Insights & Resources • PUBLISHED 9/8/2020

IoT connectivity

Learn about IoT devices, IoT connectivity, and how to get started with IoT.

By Pete Christianson

IoT connectivity graphic with SIM cards

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing the way we interact with the world around us. By connecting everyday objects to the internet, we can control and monitor them remotely, unlocking new possibilities to interact with our environment. IoT is used across industries as a cornerstone for data collection, sharing, and utilization. There are currently over 13 billion connected IoT devices in the world today, and TechRepublic predicts that that number will exceed 40 billion by 2025.

In this blog post, we'll explore the fundamentals of IoT connectivity, discuss the various types of IoT-connected devices, and show you how to get started with Telnyx Wireless.

What is IoT connectivity?

IoT connectivity is the connection between physical devices—such as sensors, computers, and other digital equipment—that are connected to the internet. IoT connectivity relies on the exchange of data between devices in order to achieve a desired outcome. This exchange of data is facilitated by a network of devices that are connected to each other and to the cloud.

IoT connectivity requires the use of a communications protocol such as WiFi or Bluetooth, and the device must be equipped with compatible hardware or software. Each device is responsible for sending and receiving data, and each data transfer is authenticated and encrypted to ensure the security of the data being exchanged. This data is then used to control the device or system, allowing for the automation of certain tasks, such as adjusting the temperature in a home or office or controlling lighting in a room.

IoT connectivity is essential for the advancement of smart technology and the development of connected devices. By utilizing IoT connectivity, organizations can create smarter, more efficient systems that can be controlled and monitored remotely.

Connecting to the Internet of Things

Connecting devices to the Internet of Things is a process that enables you to access, manage, and control various connected devices and systems in a secure and efficient manner. There are numerous ways to approach connectivity, including cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Below, we dive into the most popular methods of connection and highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each.


Cellular connectivity is one of the most popular choices for IoT applications due to their reliability. They’re also very secure and offer high-speed data transfer, which makes them a popular choice for IoT devices. Cellular networks are also widely available, and there are a variety of different network technologies to choose from.

The two most popular cellular technologies for IoT applications are LTE-M and NB-IoT. LTE-M offers higher speeds than NB-IoT. However, LTE-M requires more power to operate, so it’s a better choice for applications that require more data transfer. NB-IoT is great for applications that require fewer data transfers, such as those that monitor temperatures or the location of devices.


  • Scale—You can easily scale cellular networks up or down depending on the size and complexity of the IoT application.
  • Security—Cellular networks are heavily encrypted and use authentication protocols to ensure only authorized devices can access the network, making them ideal for applications where data security is a priority.


  • Cost—If you’re using IoT on a small scale (think using your Amazon Alexa to turn lights on and off in your office), connecting to a cellular network might not be necessary. Instead, you could choose a simpler, less expensive option like Bluetooth.

Overall, cellular connectivity is reliable, secure, and scalable, making it the logical choice for connecting most devices to the Internet of Things.


WiFi is frequently used for connecting to the Internet of Things due to its wide accessibility and familiarity to most users.

WiFi is a local area network (LAN) technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless internet connectivity to devices within a certain range. WiFi-enabled devices can be connected to a modem or router to access a local network or the internet. It’s based on the IEEE 802.11 standards, which specify how data is transmitted over the network.


  • Availability—Almost all homes and businesses now have WiFi networks—which makes sense, considering that 93% of adults use the internet on a regular basis—making it easy for users to connect their IoT devices to the internet. In addition, WiFi networks are secure and reliable. With the right security measures in place, you can use WiFi to securely connect IoT devices to the internet.
  • Speed—WiFi also offers relatively fast speeds, allowing users to quickly and easily access data from their IoT devices.


  • Range—WiFi networks are limited in terms of their range and can be unreliable in certain environments. Additionally, they can be vulnerable to interference from other devices, resulting in slower speeds or even connection drops.

With the right security measures in place, however, WiFi can provide a secure and fast connection for IoT devices.


Bluetooth is a popular wireless technology used for connecting multiple devices over short distances. It’s a low-power, low-cost solution for IoT connectivity and is often used for connecting smart home devices such as speakers, lights, and thermostats. Bluetooth is a mature technology that’s widely available and well-supported.

Bluetooth uses a radio technology called frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) to send data over the air. The radio signal hops from one frequency to another, which makes it difficult to intercept the data. The frequency hopping also allows Bluetooth to coexist with other wireless technologies, such as WiFi, in the same environment.


  • Security—Bluetooth supports advanced security features, including encryption and authentication, making it a secure option for IoT connectivity.


  • Range—Bluetooth can transmit data up to 100 meters (328 feet). This makes it suitable for connecting multiple devices in a home or building, but it may not be sufficient for connecting two devices that are far apart.
  • Data—The main drawback of Bluetooth is that it has a lower data rate than other wireless technologies, such as WiFi. This could be a problem if the data being transmitted needs to be sent quickly.


Ethernet connectivity is well-suited for applications that require fast and reliable data transfer, such as video streaming, Voice over IP (VoIP) and remote monitoring.

Ethernet connections are typically established over cables—either copper or fiber—and require a router or switch to manage the connection. Ethernet connections are faster than wireless connections, and can provide higher bandwidth and more reliable connections. Additionally, Ethernet connections are typically more secure than wireless connections such as WiFi or Bluetooth.


  • Range—Ethernet connections can be established over long distances, and are often used in large-scale networks.
  • Data—Ethernet is well-suited for applications that require frequent data transfer, such as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.


  • Cost—The main drawback of Ethernet is that these connections are typically more expensive than other types of connections, such as WiFi.
  • Installation—Ethernet connections require hardware such as routers and switches, and may require additional hardware such as cables and repeaters to extend the range of the connection. Additionally, Ethernet connections may require additional setup and configuration, which can be time-consuming and costly.

Ethernet is a reliable and secure method of connecting devices to the Internet of Things, and is well-suited for applications that require fast and reliable data transfer. However, Ethernet connections can be expensive and require additional setup and configuration. As such, it is important to consider the cost and complexity of Ethernet connections when deciding on a suitable connection type for your IoT applications.

Power Line Communication

Power Line Communication (PLC) uses existing electrical wiring to send and receive data. PLC is commonly used for home automation and control systems, as well as for smart meters and real-time monitoring.

PLC typically runs on the low-frequency power lines between 50 and 500 kHz. It works by modulating digital information onto the power line, which can be transmitted over distances of up to 1,000 meters. The technology is relatively inexpensive and easy to deploy in existing electrical networks.


  • Infrastructure—PLC is an attractive option for IoT applications because it doesn’t require any additional hardware.
  • Devices—This type of communication can be used to connect a wide range of devices.


  • Reliability—PLC technology is sensitive to electromagnetic interference and can be affected by power outages.
  • Speed—PLC is limited by the speed of the power line, which can be as low as a few kilobits per second.

Meter Bus

Meter Bus (M-Bus) is a type of serial communication protocol originally developed for treading electricity meters remotely. It’s now used for a wide range of applications including water, gas, heat, and cooling meters.

Typically used in industrial and commercial settings, M-Bus is a two-wire half-duplex serial communication protocol that can be used to connect up to 250 devices in a single network. It’s designed to be robust and reliable.


  • Cost—M-Bus is a low-cost, low-power technology, making it a financially-feasible option for IoT applications.
  • Installation—It also supports several different communication speeds and is relatively easy to install and configure.


  • Range—M-Bus is limited in range and can only support short-distance transmissions.

Controlling IoT connected devices

We’ve looked at different ways to connect IoT devices, but how do we control these devices? In this section, we’ll look at some of the common ways users can control IoT connected devices.

Mobile apps

A mobile app is one of the most common methods of controlling IoT connected devices. Mobile apps allow users to control their IoT devices from anywhere, whether they’re at home, in the office, or on the go. For example, a user could use an app to adjust the temperature in their home or turn their warehouse lights on or off. Mobile apps provide convenience and flexibility to users and can help save energy.

Voice commands

Voice commands leverage voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Users can control their IoT devices with simple spoken directives. For example, a user could ask their voice assistant to pause a machine or adjust speaker volume. Using voice commands to control IoT devices can feel more natural and intuitive than an app.

Physical buttons or switches

Physical buttons or switches are a more traditional approach to controlling IoT devices. They’re often used for devices such as light switches or thermostats. Physical controls provide a direct and tactile way of controlling devices. They’re an easy way to make changes without having to rely on a mobile app or voice commands.

Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Types of IoT-connected devices

More devices are becoming IoT-enabled, allowing them to communicate with each other and with users around the world. In fact, the number of IoT devices is projected to increase to 43 billion by the end of this year, an almost threefold increase from 2018. Here, we’ll explore the different types of IoT connected devices that are making an impact in our lives.


Wearables—devices designed to be worn on the body—are some of the most common types of IoT-connected devices. Common wearables include smartwatches and fitness trackers. These devices are capable of tracking an individual’s fitness levels, heart rate, and sleep patterns, and can even send real-time alerts to a user’s smartphone or other device.

Home automation system

These systems allow users to control various aspects of their home, such as the temperature, lighting, and security systems, from their smartphones. They can also integrate with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, allowing users to control their homes with voice commands.

Industrial-grade devices

Industrial-grade devices are designed for commercial and industrial applications. They’re used in factories, warehouses, and other industrial settings to monitor and control processes. These devices can be programmed to take specific actions, such as shutting down a machine if a problem occurs or alerting a supervisor when a certain threshold is reached.

Connected vehicles

Connected vehicles are becoming increasingly popular. They’re equipped with sensors and other technology that allow them to communicate with each other, as well as other devices, such as traffic lights and traffic signs. This technology can be used to improve the safety and efficiency of traffic flow and reduce the risk of collisions.

Getting started with Telnyx Wireless (IoT)

It’s never been easier to build and scale IoT products globally, all with a single SIM. Telnyx Wireless offers:

  • Out-of-the-box global connectivity.
  • The ability to provision, manage, and monitor usage in real time via an easy-to-use self-service platform or programmatically via API.
  • Unmatched network redundancy and control.
  • Affordable, easy-to-understand pricing.

Built on top of the Telnyx global IP network, Telnyx Wireless can also provide enterprise-level network security via private LTE networks. Telnyx Wireless gives developers everything they need to get their IoT products to market faster with greater control over the network. Telnyx offers best-in-class quality and enterprise-grade security for mission-critical use cases.

To get started, simply place an order for your Telnyx Wireless SIM Cards. Once you’ve received your SIMs, follow the six easy steps in this quickstart guide to start using your data.

You’ll find tutorials and product information in our Developer Center, plus complete API reference documentation. If you have any questions along the way, get in touch with our technical experts via our dedicated developer Slack channel.

Talk to our team of experts today to learn how you can leverage Telnyx Wireless for your IoT connectivity needs.

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