Two-Way equal speed Internet service is holding back the IoT….

Intelligent IoT device seeking connection that is resilient.

Or possibly help wanted: director of network services for intelligent sensors. In this role you will provide resilient network services for a set of intelligent sensors.

All possible. All coming soon to a newspaper near you.

IoT represents a small shift in the reality of what the Internet is. It represents a much larger shift for companies and homes. Today frankly the largest limit for IoT is not the devices. They continue to arrive with more and more intelligence baked in. Frankly the primary limiter now for the home adsorption of IoT functionality is bandwidth.

What was will be again.

Overtime the bandwidth issue is going to expand beyond home and include business and government but for now the reality of bandwidth is we don’t have enough. The great explosion of the Internet came when the cable model, DSL and eventually Fiber came to your home. You suddenly had enough bandwidth to not only surf the web but to download its bounty.

In the business world the arrival of SaaS solutions made many companies start the process of evaluating where their software lived. They started (although there are few organizations that have achieved this change completely) evaluating the reality of their network. In the business world we have what is known as a tootsie pop network. Hard outer shell, soft gooey core. That model worked for many years. Of course the expectation of that model is that your gooey core isn’t sitting in a coffee shop downloading documents over free public wi-fi. The thing that most companies have considered however is the reality of uploads. Most businesses improved their ability to upload information 3-5 years ago.

Homes for the most part haven’t. That is going to be the initial hurdle of the IoT. You can have all the download speed you want, but you if you can’t push that data back up the pipe that download is in the end well not helpful. IoT is about taking data from sensors and sharing it outward.

For the most part your Internet provider has been providing less Internet than you think. The two way reality of IoT connectivity changes quickly when you can download 100mps but can’t upload more than 3. You see your router starts to cache data waiting to be uploaded. While certainly you can get the fastest in home wireless from a provider, they don’t include infinite cache. Overtime the memory of your router is full of pending uploads and well it becomes saturated. Intelligent sensors can help a bit in that they can work to only send information at night. But what good is a security video feed that only uploads at night?

Meanwhile you have four TV’s downloading internet content and you suddenly start having buffering issues. Once the cache is full one way its full both ways. The IoT revolution will continue to grow slowly until Cable and DSL providers match the offerings of Fiber providers (equal upload and download speed). That won’t happen until the first few two way IoT devices start reaching the mass market – they are coming in the next 12 months so you don’t have to wait long. But you do need to send a letter to your cable/DSL provider and ask them to enable two way Internet.

What will be was but will be again.

Two-way Internet. In effect you’ve been paying for that for a long time. You just haven’t gotten that service. Perhaps 10 years from now we will look back at the time IoT was born and create slides like people do for the explosion of cloud. Mainframes to client server, client server to internet, Internet to cloud. Then network to two way and IoT.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.