In a prior article we showed how a basic lack of technical ability to serve enough devices per base station leads to business failure for IoT network providers. In today’s post we’ll begin to discuss how a lack of scalability leads to inevitable network failure.

When Success Leads to Inevitable Failure

For the second scenario, let’s suppose that the wireless provider is able to obtain infrastructure for free. Success in this scenario is the same, fill each tower to capacity with paying customers. As most LPWA technologies have low capacity per tower, it won’t take long to fill these assets to capacity.

Once the network towers are filled to capacity the astute business would want to increase gross revenue. Moreover, some large and influential customers may demand more capacity as their growth plans have relied on being able to deploy more endpoints. So far this is all reasonable. So, as any good business would do, the LPWA wireless provider puts up more towers to add more capacity to the network. The ability to add more capacity by adding more access points is called “capacity scalability.” In the cellular world this is called “cell densification” and is well known as a crucial public network capability. And having this capability is the only way to grow the IoT to the numbers that we hear so often in the press. To be truly scalable, a network should be able to add an AP and that AP should be able to serve the same number of endpoints that the prior APs were able to serve.
network filled to capacity
rpma AP
However, most LPWA technologies are completely incapable of adding more capacity once the network is filled. This inability is also ultimately grounded in technical limitations.

Network scalability requires not only capable APs but also intelligent endpoints. Intelligent endpoints are capable of obtaining channel conditions, adjusting transmit power, and many other functions that must be baked into the technology from the chip to the firmware to the network structure and management. If a network can’t scale, then as it grows, it will begin to interfere with itself, destroying its own performance.

RPMA was designed with perfect scalability in mind, download How RPMA Works to learn how.