Wednesday, February 1, 2012

JANET's innovative M2M 3G wireless service with Eduroam global roaming

[Many people may have read the excellent OECD report on machine to machine (M2M) communications which is expected to be the next big thing in terms of the Internet of Things.
As noted in the Gigaom repot “Machine to machine networks, sometimes called the Internet of things, are the logical extension of today’s connected society, but creating such a network will require multiple technologies; telcos to open up their networks; governments to figure out a way to assign unique numbers for each device on the network; and new rules to protect security and privacy. In short, while the idea is fairly mature, the tools to make it a reality are lagging. To outline what still needs to be done, and give governments a framework for understanding how 50 billion devices could be connected in the next 8 years, the OECD has released a report laying out the needs of an M2M network and the tradeoffs associated with different technologies. “

One of the big regulatory and technical challenges is for highly mobile devices like medical sensors attached to your body. If you are dependent on these devices for your research or more critically your health, it is not very reassuring to realize that carrier roaming agreements may make these devices inoperable or too expensive to use, outside of your carrier’s serving region.

This is where R&E networks with their global Eduroam service can play a critical role. It will be decades before regulators assert rationale global roaming and data interchange agreements on the carriers. Despite their best efforts they have been unable to do this domestically. The OECD is naive in thinking that telcos will open their networks any time in the near future.

Just as the R&E networks disrupted traditional old boy’s club of settlement based telecom with the introduction of the Internet, I believe the R&E networks have a critical role in doing an end run around the telcos to deliver a seamless, global wireless M2M service.

 A good example of such a strategy is the UK’s R&E wireless network service offering. Through JANET researchers and students can acquire 3G SIM cards for their cell phones or M2M devices with a variety of pricing plans and data rates. Right out of the box these devices support Eduroam authentication which means that these devices will work seamlessly with any other international 3G R&E wireless service that supports Eduroam.

What is more interesting is JANET is negotiating arrangements with various suppliers like Greyhound bus to offer Eduroam authentication while on the move through areas of spotty or non existent 3G service. Integrating with national and international WiFi/3G networks like Starbucks and Google’s rumored networks using Ericsson/Bel Air technology is also conceivable. Next generation solar/wind powered Wifi/3G nodes will also allow direct optical wavelength interconnection into national R&E networks.


Here is a good pointer on how R&E optical networks can integrate with LTE/WiFi towers located at schools and universities. Radio- optical network backhauling

M2M: one network will not rule them all
R&E Network and Green Internet Consultant.
twitter: BillStArnaud
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