An End-To-End LwM2M-Based Communication Architecture for Multimodal NB-IoT/BLE Devices

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Apr 15;20(8):2239. doi: 10.3390/s20082239.


The wireless Internet of Things (IoT) landscape is quite diverse. For instance, Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) technologies offer low data rate communication over long distance, whereas Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) technologies can reach higher data rates, but with a reduced range. For simple IoT applications, communication requirements can be fulfilled by a single technology. However, the requirements of more demanding IoT use cases can vary over time and with the type of data being exchanged. This is pushing the design towards multimodal approaches, where different wireless IoT technologies are combined and the most appropriate one is used as per the need. This paper considers the combination of Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as communication options for an IoT device that is running a Lightweight Machine to Machine/Constrained Application Protocol (LwM2M/CoAP) protocol stack. It analyses the challenges incurred by different protocol stack options, such as different transfer modes (IP versus non-IP), the use of Static Context Header Compression (SCHC) techniques, and Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) security modes, and discusses the impact of handover between both communication technologies. A suitable end-to-end architecture for the targeted multimodal communication is presented. Using a prototype implementation of this architecture, an in-depth assessment of handover and its resulting latency is performed.

Keywords: bluetooth low energy (BLE); handover; light-weight machine to machine (LwM2M); multi-modal architecture; narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT).