Hints & Tips, IoT, Partners

Preparing for 2G & 3G Sunsets

In the mobile industry, a sunset is when a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) phases out one of its networks so that all devices or services that still solely rely on that service will no longer be connected. In the case of the 2G & 3G sunsets, this will affect connections relying on 2G/3G for devices & services across the globe. This blog will explore when & why the 2G & 3G sunsets are occurring, how they will affect end users & businesses and how best to prepare for the sunset.

What are the 2G & 3G Sunsets?

This may be the first time you’re hearing of sunsetting, but it is not unusual, it happens to make room for better technology services. 2G & 3G networks are much slower and less efficient and are being shut down to free up more space on the cellular spectrum for MNOs to expand their 4G and 5G capability on a wider basis. The operational complexity of running multiple networks on a spectrum is then reduced and makes room for modern technologies which offer better cost and energy efficiency, enhanced functionality, and an improved customer experience.

When will 2G & 3G sunset?

The 3G sunset does not have one final date, its timeline is scattered across the globe. The variation is down to the individual mobile networks’ intention to stop supporting 3G connections. In the US, most of the largest wireless carriers will shut down their 3G networks by the end of 2022. In Europe, networks such as Vodafone announced they were to stop supporting 3G in 2020 and in the UK, 3G is expected to start shutting down at the beginning of 2023 but is expected to phase out all of its public 3G mobile networks by 2033 to facilitate the mass rollout of 5G.

Some carriers will continue supporting 2G connections for years, others may make an immediate transition to sunset on a specific date, in the US, most of the largest carriers have already shut down their 2G service back in 2020. In Europe, 2G services are expected to last until 2025, but MNO’s will likely start re-farming spectrum before then. However, dates and announcements are constantly changing and so it’s important to be aware of how the sunset may affect you by checking with your MNO provider.

What does this mean for me?

If you’re now beginning to worry about how the 2G & 3G sunsets will affect you, do not panic as most consumer devices, like phones for example, support multiple generations of cellular technology. Even if your device still relies on 2G or 3G from time to time, most likely it will still run as usual after the sunsetting, as 4G and 5G are expected to be more widely available, however it is worth checking that a device that supports 2G/3G fallback has the latest device OS & firmware running. If your home or office has security and alarm systems that use a mobile network, most likely these will still be relying on a 2G/3G connection, fortunately most home security companies have been attempting to migrate customers from 2G/3G to 4G networks, ensuring that their services remain operational. Example technology in the home or business that may also be affected is:

  • Medical alert devices (fall detectors, communicators, etc.)
  • Fire alarms
  • Inventory trackers
  • Smartwatches
  • E-readers (Kindles etc.)
  • GPS trackers

The 2G & 3G sunsets most likely will have the biggest effect on businesses using IoT solutions that rely on 2G/3G networks, like cars with tracking and response systems installed, for example. As many as 40% of Mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS) devices that cover critical medical use cases still rely on 2G/3G networks, which will result in a wave of poor customer service if not switched over to a secure 4G/5G connection.

How do I prepare for the 2G & 3G sunsets?

While most end users and business owners may not need to worry about the 2G & 3G sunsets, it is useful to enquire about your devices to ensure all systems are up to date and support 4G/5G connectivity, as some technology may still rely on 2G/3G networks without you realising. Depending on how old the product is, you may be eligible for a hardware or software upgrade. Despite the 2G & 3G sunsets, low bandwidth solutions are still cost-effective and relevant for businesses and so MNOs are looking at next-generation LTE technologies such as LTE-M and NB-IoT to replace 2G/3G connectivity in these circumstances. Such technologies can help futureproof to avoid obsolescence for the years to come. It’s recommended to start enquiring about your devices now to see what connections might need replacing.

Although the 2G & 3G sunsets are likely to cause complications, it does also bring many benefits for both the end user and businesses. MNOs can transition to more high-capacity and energy-efficient networks, like 5G, so customers can benefit from faster connectivity speeds and lower latency. 5G is also said to be much better suited for machine-to-machine applications as it is designed to handle very large number of devices. The next generation of LTE technologies is said to offer improved battery life and low power consumption as well as overall lower costs. Overall, the 2G & 3G sunsets will make room for improved connectivity that is required today.

Discover how Cellhire can help transition your connectivity away from 2G & 3G. Whether it be updating your cellular service to a newer technology or upgrading your devices to continue operating after the switch off, get in touch with a Cellhire connectivity expert to find out more about Cellhire products and services.

Email: resellers@cellhire.com
Call: +44 (0)1904 610610
Visit: https://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners

IoT, Partners

Is Cellular IoT Connectivity Really a Better Data Solution for your Customers?

Cellular IoT connectivity is the technology that connects physical objects to the internet using cellular mobile networks like Vodafone, O2 or EE, just as a regular SIM card does. An IoT SIM however is not a mobile broadband SIM, a regular mobile broadband SIM card only provides connectivity and does not include the additional functionality offered by IoT connectivity providers. IoT SIM cards can help improve and make it easier to scale your business by attracting more customers, reducing costs, and beating the competition. This blog will highlight some of the core benefits an IoT SIM card can offer and why this is a better data solution for your customers.

What Does an IoT SIM Card Offer?

Flexibility of Contracts, Costs and Coverage:

Regular Mobile Broadband SIMs have often proven difficult to manage at scale and deploy over many regions at a reasonable cost, IoT SIMs however provide much more flexibility and open possibilities such as:

  • Flexible Commercial Structures – Contract terms that accommodate your specific business needs and let you stay in control over your usage volume and billing date for example.
  • Local Multi-Network Access – A single IoT SIM can prioritise the strongest signal available by automatically switching between networks seamlessly on a global scale. No more switching SIMs for international roaming.
  • Flexibility Over Managing Your SIM Estate – Pause, resume and cancel a SIM or edit its associated terms remotely.

A New Level of Management & Control

Many IoT devices don’t provide screens that offer user interface settings, data usage or their network status and so most operators offer a type of SIM Management Portal instead. This can offer your business and customers real-time insights into the data volume used, connected networks, costs associated with devices and the ability to control and manage these options anywhere and at any time.

Access & Security:

Regular Mobile Broadband SIM cards assign dynamic IP addresses to a device, and this changes each time it may establish a connection making it very difficult to gain remote access to the SIM. IoT SIMs on the other hand can use private static IP addresses in combination with a VPN, public static IP addresses, and private APNs meaning a device can be accessed remotely wherever the location, once deployed. Log into your device to manage, change and execute commands while it’s out in the field. The majority of IoT SIMs are ruggedised, preventing the risk of failure in critical IoT solutions and with every device being kept separate, the data being transmitted is protected, with private APNs controlling network access and secure VPNs in place, your IoT devices will be safe against unauthorised access.

How Does This Benefit a Business?

IoT solutions can help businesses become more successful by:

Advancing Equipment Maintenance

  • IoT sensors in the manufacturing industry can help determine which equipment requires maintenance and what type of care it needs.
  • Machinery with built-in sensors can notify staff about breakdowns and delivery schedules, working to reduce risks and predict future issues.
  • The IoT SIMs implemented in such equipment could help save thousands of pounds in maintenance costs.

Making Employees More Productive

  • IoT smart sensors implemented in offices and manufacturing areas can collect employee data regarding performance, employee engagement and other activities.
  • This data can used by managers to effectively manage staff and distribute their time and effort more successfully to aid the working environment and efficiently use the working hours available.

Enhancing Security

  • IoT SIMs integrated into equipment means machinery can respond much quicker to any security risk as its reaction time is much faster than that of a human operator.
  • In addition to this, security systems learn from previous risks and become even more efficient in predicting and spotting a threat to the system.

Expanding Your Global Capability

  • With a new level of seamless coverage, use a single SIM for global IoT connectivity and gain access to new connectivity partnerships on a global scale.
  • Create or expand projects internationally to open new opportunities and maximise revenue, all while keeping your costs down through a single IoT solution.

Improving The Customer Experience

  • Implementing IoT data analytics can allow you to analyse data usage to gain a better understanding of customers’ behaviour, helping you to predict their future needs or actions.
  • This can aid marketing in terms of effective targeted advertising or promotional campaigns using the data gathered.

What Can Cellhire IoT Connectivity Solutions Provide You?

  • IoT proposition that meets the demands of critical IoT solutions
  • Global Network Capability – Single Network, Multi-Network, International & Roaming.
  • SIM Management Portal – Network agnostic, reporting, automation & control white label capabilities.
  • Security – Secure and resilient networks with resilient DVPN providing private & public static IP
  • Flexible Commercials – Flexible commercial structure designed for IoT use cases including Pooled, Individual, Bundles & Cellhire Flex to deliver increased margin opportunities
  • IoT Grade SIM – Ruggedised IoT SIM, preventing the risk of failure in critical IoT solutions
  • Dedicated Support – Sales & Technical Support Teams

IoT Connectivity solutions can help your business become more efficient and scalable by attracting more customers, reducing your costs and winning further competition in the industry. The additional functionality and flexibility provided by an IoT SIM card can future-proof your business enabling it to flourish, while businesses that neglect to implement innovative connectivity face a risk of losing customers and profits. Don’t wait around, enquire about becoming an Cellhire IoT Connectivity Solutions Partner today.

Email: resellers@cellhire.com
Call: +44 (0)1904 610610
Visit: https://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners

IoT, Partners

What are the Advantages of Cellular IoT Connectivity?

IoT requires consistent connectivity to construct networks and share data. Cellular IoT is one connectivity option, which operates in the licensed spectrum. This means it can only be used when assigned exclusively to operators for independent usage, ensuring reliability through a relatively consistent infrastructure. Cellular connectivity solutions are generally provided by larger operators who have access to licensed spectrum, as this comes at a higher cost. However, the global cellular standards means that IoT hardware is more easily obtained, the devices operational lifetime is generally much longer, and it’s virtually guaranteed by the network operators to be more reliable than other connectivity options. So, what are the core advantages of cellular IoT connectivity?

Global Coverage

The most reliable and logical connection option is cellular connectivity, with cellular towers already in place across the world and network gateways supporting remote deployments, cellular IoT connectivity can provide nearly ubiquitous global coverage. The extensive coverage already in place allows the management of devices being deployed in different areas of the world, which is key for IoT projects where accessing the data is essential. In most cases, you’ll be able to deploy as many devices to wherever they are needed and start operating straight away. Cellular roaming poses another option if you’re moving between regions or providing a solution in an unknown area, your provider will be able to facilitate seamless connectivity through a multi-network SIM. As 5G becomes more accessible across the world, cellular becomes a great solution for larger scale IoT deployments and will improve the overall speed and responsiveness of cellular connectivity.

Usability

Cellular is a top favourite among IoT connectivity solutions down to the increasing demand for extensive network coverage areas and low power consuming devices. The simplicity of deployment is a core advantage of cellular connectivity, deploy your device, activate your SIM to connect to your chosen network and you are all set. This SIM based connectivity disregards the need to set up to time consuming and complicated hardwired networks. With multi IoT device support, you can support millions of IoT devices through one use case. Cellular IoT connections are made up of several subcategories, meaning you can select the one that matches your data transmission needs and avoid paying for the most expensive solution. If your device doesn’t require constant connectivity and immediate reaction time, then you can choose a more affordable and suitable option for you. Emerging low power networks will help deliver the connectivity for the proliferation of devices & sensors and other cellular technologies like eSIM are quickly gaining popularity in the market, providing a flexible way to remotely connect devices throughout their lifetime, cost effectively, without needing a physical SIM card.

Reliability

As cellular operates in the licensed spectrum, the performance and reliability of communication is guaranteed. Most IoT SIM cards provided for IoT devices can switch between network operators, unlike consumer SIMs, automatically connecting to the strongest signal available to ensure consistent connectivity and minimised downtime. Technicians can remotely track interlinked devices, they are able to connect, disconnect and troubleshoot wherever they may be located, rather than manually fixing the systems. This minimises operational inefficiencies and reduces field service costs significantly. Cellular IoT connectivity also has a much greater battery life, cellular sensors transmit great volumes of data on a global scale, without losing considerable battery power by switching off the receiving section of the cellular module for a fraction of a second. 5G IoT SIM cards even have the ability to remove fixed line through its QoS.

Security

Security is another great advantage cellular connectivity holds over other solutions. As cellular networks use SIM cards for authentication, it proves difficult to hoax the identify of a device. With every device being kept separate, the data being transmitted is protected, with private APNs controlling network access and secure VPNs in place, your IoT devices will be safe against unauthorised access. Combining this level of security with a properly managed connectivity service will give you visibility and control that other connectivity options cannot give.

If you want to find out more about how cellular IoT connectivity could support your projects, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us on our details below:

Visit: https://www.cellhire.co.uk/iot
Email: resellers@cellhire.com
Call: +44 (0)1904 610610

IoT, Partners, UK News

Cellhire wins Best IoT Application Award at the Mobile News Awards 2022

British mobile telecoms specialist Cellhire plc won the Best IoT Application Award for its NHS Covid-19 project at the prestigious Mobile News Awards 2022, held on 19th May at InterContinental London Park Lane.

In addition, Cellhire received commendations for the Best Airtime Partner Portal and the Best Covid Response Initiative categories.

Matt Bennett, Cellhire UK Managing Director, right, with UK team

The Best IoT Application Award recognises the company for its IoT data connectivity solution for the ongoing nationwide NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme. The programme has seen Cellhire provide UK and multi-network mobile data connections to over 2500 Covid-19 NHS England vaccination sites, enabling them to update patient records in real-time.

The Best Airtime Partner Portal Commendation recognises the company for its inhouse “Atlas SIM Management Portal”, which provides a single, secure website for partners to access their entire SIM base from 40 global mobile networks supplied by Cellhire. Partners are not limited to only UK MNOs O2, Vodafone and EE, like many competitor portals. Partners can manage International MNOs, UK and Global IoT Airtimes, and provision SIMs and eSIMs that have multi-IMSI functionality.

Running since 1995, the Mobile News Awards is the UK mobile channel’s biggest awards event judged by impartial, independent experts.

Cellhire UK Managing Director, Matt Bennett says “I am extremely proud of the Cellhire team, particularly for its at times round-the-clock dedication to the rollout and ongoing support of the mobile data connectivity part of the vaccine programme – and the success Cellhire has achieved at the Mobile News Awards.

“Covid-19 has been the single greatest public health emergency in the history of the NHS and it’s a great honour for Cellhire to be part of the backbone of the vaccine programme. The solutions that we are providing are still helping to manage the vaccination of millions of people as quickly as possible.

“The ability Cellhire has to deliver multi-network secure mobile data, quickly and at scale, is thanks to its strong global network partnerships and its robust and resilient team.

“As a direct partner of Vodafone, O2 and EE, Cellhire is keen to expand its partnerships in the channel and to that end we are actively seeking additional resellers for our partner programme,” says Bennett. “These resellers would typically want a comms partner with a track record in providing voice, data and IoT via multiple direct network solutions that are competitive, flexible and innovative and all supported by our market-leading portal.”

If you would like to partner with an award-winning company to further boost your revenue opportunities through mobile sales, including Voice & Data, M2M and IoT, then Cellhire is the perfect partner for you. Please contact our channel-focused team at resellers@cellhire.com or visit www.cellhire.co.uk/partners

About Cellhire

Cellhire (www.cellhire.info) is a leading global telecoms provider of mobile communications, M2M and IoT services and data connectivity to enterprise clients and indirect partners worldwide.

Established in 1987, the group serves EMEA, Americas and APAC with offices in the UK, USA, France, Germany and Japan. Partnering with mobile network operators globally, Cellhire provides access to mobile connectivity at market-leading commercials to companies worldwide.

The company is committed to delivering the highest standards of customer service which is underlined by its continued attainment of ISO 9001:2015, the internationally recognised quality standard. Cellhire is Investors in People (IIP) certified and won the highly coveted Queen’s Award for International Enterprise, as a result of its success as a specialist in the delivery of mobile communication solutions for events around the world.

Since 2019, Cellhire has attained ISO 27001, the internationally recognised Information Security Management System Standard (ISMS), due to the implementation of information security management systems and best practices regarding information security.

IoT, Partners, UK News

Cellhire appoints Head of Sales – M2M & IoT Connectivity, Duncan Griffiths, to drive strategic growth

Global M2M and IoT mobile data specialist Cellhire has appointed Duncan Griffiths to the newly created position of Head of Sales – M2M & IoT Connectivity. His responsibilities include leading the strategic M2M and IoT sales focus for Cellhire in the UK, France and across Europe to drive additional growth in this space. He joins Cellhire from BT, where he was Head of Sales – M2M and IoT Connectivity.

Duncan Griffiths, Head of Sales – M2M & IoT Connectivity

Griffiths’ 35 years’ experience in mobile includes 10 years at BT in the Head of Sales position, where he worked with different MNOs and service providers and developed a deep understanding of the M2M and IoT connectivity market.

At Cellhire Griffiths will lead the Group’s strategic sales focus for M2M & IoT connectivity, helping to shape business identity and bring new products and solutions to market.

Griffiths comments, “It’s a significant and exciting time to join Cellhire. As a direct wholesale partner of the top three UK MNOs, and through the capabilities of its full MVNO eSIMsmart, Cellhire offers extremely competitive M2M and IoT commercials across a wide range of networks and tariffs. Additionally, Fixed IP, Custom APN, Multi-IMSI, as well as access to standard roaming networks and 40+ global local network agreements, mean Cellhire can offer roaming and in-country deployments, ensuring commercial and network flexibility.

“Additionally, Cellhire provides real-time SIM control across multiple networks, through its self-service Atlas SIM Management & Billing Portal, which employs network-level APIs.

“Cellhire’s capability aligns to what customers demand in deploying critical M2M and IoT solutions, including technology and network choices on a local and global basis. With my deep and extensive experience in the market, I’m looking forward to shaping Cellhire’s M2M and IoT sales strategy, and further advancing the company as a global M2M and IoT mobile data specialist.”

Martyn Stevens, Cellhire Group CEO, says, “Duncan joins Cellhire at an exciting time as we gear up our sales resource both in the UK and France to drive growth in the M2M & IoT and Indirect Channel.

“The M2M and IoT space in telecoms continues to grow rapidly. With 2G/3G sunsetting, PSTN switch off and continued 5G rollouts, the opportunities will open up even further as businesses look for a connectivity upgrade path. Duncan’s specialist knowledge will support the business globally, but his main focus and remit is to drive sales in the UK, France and across Europe.

“Duncan joins us from BT where he has been Head of Sales – IoT Connectivity Solutions for the past 10 years. Duncan is well known in the industry and his career background, working with different MNOs and service providers, ensures he is well placed to lead our strategic sales focus in this space.”

About Cellhire

Cellhire (www.cellhire.info) is a leading global telecoms provider of mobile communications, M2M and IoT services and data connectivity to enterprise clients and indirect partners worldwide.

Established in 1987, the group serves EMEA, Americas and APAC with offices in the UK, USA, France, Germany and Japan. Partnering with mobile network operators globally, Cellhire provides access to mobile connectivity at market-leading commercials to companies worldwide.

The company is committed to delivering the highest standards of customer service which is underlined by its continued attainment of ISO 9001:2015, the internationally recognised quality standard. Cellhire is Investors in People (IIP) certified and won the highly coveted Queen’s Award for International Enterprise, as a result of its success as a specialist in the delivery of mobile communication solutions for events around the world.

Since 2019, Cellhire has attained ISO 27001, the internationally recognised Information Security Management System Standard (ISMS), due to the implementation of information security management systems and best practices regarding information security.

Hints & Tips, IoT, Partners

A Guide to M2M & IoT Essential Terms & Definitions

M2M/IoT is the hot topic of the industry, but it involves many acronyms and abbreviations, making it difficult to stay in the loop. This guide explores some of the essential key terms and definitions around M2M & IoT.

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) involves data transferred over a network without human intervention or personal data usage.

The official definition describes IoT as the network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.

IoT connections typically use smaller volumes of data under 1GB. It often requires a more technical configuration such as Fixed IP and/or Private APNs & VPNs for secure device communications and control. Connectivity may be restricted to a private network or be granted open internet access.

Use-case devices include meters, kiosks, digital signage, taxi connectivity, airport kiosks, electricity meters, mobile CCTV, tracking devices, wind turbines and other loT connected devices.

What is M2M?

M2M – Machine to Machine is the direct communication between devices using any type of communications channel without manual intervention by humans.

M2M is made up of data connectivity solutions that often do not require a Fixed IP, instead it uses a generic APN for open-internet access. Typically, M2M uses large volumes of data, from 1GB per month to 10TB on a single SIM.

The range of applications would include use in Mobile Broadband Routers, MiFi Routers, Peplink SIM bonding devices and mobile broadcast cameras. Use cases include instant site connectivity, broadband contingency, mobile broadcast connectivity and wireless mobile broadband for marine/transport.

What is an IP Address?

IP Addresses are a device’s unique identity on a network, enabling a device to access network resources, and in turn allow other devices to access the device.
An IP address serves two main functions, network interface identification and location addressing.
IP stands for Internet Protocol, think of it like a device’s phone number. You need one both to make calls out, and to receive them, just like you need an IP to share files with another user, browse the Internet, or make a video call. An example of an IPv4 IP address is 192.0.1.1

What is a Dynamic IP Address?

Dynamic IP Addresses are assigned automatically based on preconfigured settings in the network and dedicated DHCP servers (dynamic host configuration protocols), which manage a pool of IP addresses available for use. Dynamic IP addresses are not fixed to a device and can change.

What is a Static IP Address?

Static IPs are fixed – They don’t change.

What is a Fixed IP Address?

Fixed IP Addresses remain static and don’t change over time. Their use allows for opening two-way communication between the IoT device and the customer organisation’s servers.

What is a Public Fixed IP Address?

Public Fixed IP provides a static and a public IP address. It is unique on a global scale and allows for connections to an IoT device from any other host connected to the Internet. In this case, a standard Public APN is used.

What is a Private Fixed IP Address? 

Private Fixed IP provides a static and a private IP address. Such an address is valid only within a particular customer organisation’s network (which is an example of a private network). In this case, a customer-defined Private APN must be used.

What is an APN?

APN – Access Point Name is the name of a gateway and point of entry onto the Internet (IP network) from a mobile network.

Public APN – (Default network APN)

Private APN – (Corporate APN) is used to access a specific network. The traffic flows securely and directly from the IoT device via the mobile network to the customer’s private network, where it terminates. This traffic does not travel across the open-Internet.

What is a VPN?

VPN – Virtual Private Network is a layer of security for Internet access from an IoT device. It allows for the data exchange to remain confidential via encryption and decryption mechanisms. It is crucial when a device remains connected to the Internet via a public network, including Public APN.

What is LAN?

LAN – Local Area Network is a network of computers or devices that share common communications lines or wireless links to a server in a limited area, for example a residence or university campus. Computers and mobile devices use a LAN connection to share resources such as a printer or network storage.

What is WAN?

WAN – Wide Area Network is a broadband network that provides communication over a large geographic area. It requires high bandwidth and low latency. A network of bank cash dispensers or a company network with several offices all geographically distant, would be an example of WAN.

What is API?

API – Application Programming Interface is the technical interface that allows different applications to work with one another. API’s enhance user experiences by fostering connections between technologies.

What is LPWAN?

LPWAN – Low-Power Wide-Area Networks enables low power consumption and long-range wireless connectivity. It connects low-bandwidth devices with low bit rates over long ranges, allowing IoT devices to operate reliably for up to 10 years on a single battery charge.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge Computing improves response times and saves bandwidth by the computational processing of sensor data, bringing it closer to the logical edge of the network and individual sources of data. Instead of sending data to data cloud centres, edge computing ensures real time processing without latency.

Join the Cellhire Partner Programme.
Visit: http://www.cellhire.co.uk/partners
Email: resellers@cellhire.com
Call: +44 (0)1904 610610