Not all 2.4 GHz Networks are Created Equal
Oftentimes when discussing the frequency band which Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) operates in, depending upon who the audience is, they initially become confused, but then almost immediately confident about the utilization of the spectrum and what performance can be expected with RPMA. Add in the fact that we (Ingenu) and our global partners are currently deploying a publicly accessible Machine Network, and straightaway the audience believes we must need to deploy tens of thousands of access points to provide the coverage for the markets we are targeting. This is because the audience is associating our RPMA technology with other 2.4 GHz technology; your home, office of neighborhood coffee shop Wi-Fi. As the title of this blog post states, not all 2.4 GHz networks are created equal.
When thinking of range, the typical 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi network everyone uses daily and is familiar with, provides an average indoor range of 120’ to 240’ and an average outdoor range of 300’ to 600’ with a single access point depending upon which mode it is operating in. In comparison, a single Ingenu RPMA access point can provide coverage of 70 square miles in urban areas and 400 in rural flat areas. That’s quite a difference!
In terms of speed or how much information can be passed on the network, there are a couple of ways to think about it. You can think about the data rate of the network or the capacity of the network. Also keep in mind that in data communications, speed is measured in kilobits or megabits per second, designated as kbps or Mbps. In addition, there are many Wi-Fi standards in use today, and newer technologies can bond multiple channels/frequencies together to achieve higher throughput. However, a single channel on a Wi-Fi access point in a standard configuration can provide the following speeds; 802.11b – 2 to 3 Mbps, 802.11g – 18 to 20 Mbps and 802.11n – 40 to 50 Mbps; with a maximum of 50 devices connected. In comparison, a single channel on an Ingenu access point can provide 100kbps upstream per device with a maximum of 64,000 devices connected. Again, quite a difference.
The reason for such stark differences is because these two technologies where built for two different purposes and while these two technologies operate in the 2.4 GHz ISM band, they are completely different. It’s important to understand that point. The common place Wi-Fi technology was built for includes bandwidth-intensive applications like voice, video and music stream. As such, it has very short range and requires many access points. On the other hand, Ingenu’s RPMA wireless technology was built from the ground up to provide low-power, wide-area connectivity for device communications. Offering unparalleled capacity and extreme coverage per access point, RPMA is designed for connecting applications in difficult to reach locations, and as such, requires a ridiculously low number of access points.
Robust communications are essential for smooth operations, and RPMA offers the most robust wireless connectivity for machines.