Optimizing Machine-to-Machine (M2M) networks for premium performance and reliability in service delivery requires that your network services provider designs and implements a network infrastructure that is extremely flexible, scalable and redundant. Cellular and satellite networks have evolved over the years to a point where five 9's uptime and ubiquitous connectivity is taken for granted. However, not all M2M network service providers are the same – and without specific M2M optimization and infrastructure investment – M2M networks can fall short. Perhaps the biggest requirement, often overlooked, for an optimized, reliable M2M network is a deep set of integration services that will ensure the highest quality of service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. For those in search of a quality M2M network service provider, we have put together a handy checklist of requirements for consideration.
M2M Service Provider Checklist:
- Server cloud and data storage hosting environments reduce the capital and operational expenses of leasing data center space, purchasing servers, bandwidth and hiring system administrators to oversee operations and security of your M2M network. Look for a provider who can alleviate this costly burden.
- Dual, redundant VPNs with automatic fail-over enables both IPSec encrypted connections and the ability to initiate data transactions with devices directly from the server side. To absolutely ensure network reliability, fully managed VPN options ought to be implemented with at least an ISP redundant configuration, but preferably the best case scenario is a site redundant configuration with automatic fail-over.
- Custom access point names (APNs) ensure that only your data traffic will traverse this connection and bring the added dimension of increased security to device transmissions. Custom APNs are ideal for increased privacy or when GSM services require a contiguous static IP address space.
- Control of SMS delivery such as message platforms with custom short codes helps ensure that your M2M network is operating at its fullest capacity. Leveraging the SMPP (Short Message Peer to Peer) protocol can enable a closed network solution that provides highly reliable – and rapid – message origination and termination among customers' devices and their respective application server(s).
- Inter-Carrier SMS assigns your application server a virtual IC SMS number that helps applications access devices on multiple operator networks, from GSM to CDMA. M2M applications can send and receive SMS messages to devices on most wireless networks globally.
- Static and dynamic IP address options (private and public) for devices ensure that M2M applications can operate seamlessly between global borders and cellular M2M networks.
- Private Circuit Connections must be supported along with public Internet connections for customer application servers. Private circuit connections such as MPLS should also be available for added security.
- API web services libraries allow customers to manage M2M network services and devices from within their own business systems and logic, regardless of network technology or service requirements.
- Network visibility services enable M2M application providers to determine, at-a-glance, if a device is connected to the network, as well as the recent history of data sessions related to the device in question, which aids tremendously in customer service and troubleshooting.
- Location-based Services (LBS) allows customers to determine the geographic location of their devices in the field, allowing customers to determine lat-lon, nearest street address and degree of accuracy so that devices can be found and administered to, as needed.
While your company's M2M services needs may prioritize some of these over others, M2M network services providers who can meet the majority of these requirements are going to be a safer bet than those who cannot because they have clearly taken the time and made the design and infrastructure investments necessary to optimize their networks for M2M service delivery excellence. Integration services will help ensure network performance, and ultimately keep devices connected and end users and customers happy.
By Danny Thomas, VP Operations
Danny has over 23 years of experience in the wireless and telecommunications industry working in Asia, North America, and the U.K. He joined KORE in 2009 and was instrumental in driving the implementation of our state-of-the-art, fully redundant network architecture. Danny joined KORE after 14 years with AT&T Mobility as the Sr. Director of National Wireless Data Operations, where he worked on several state-of-the-art wireless projects including the launch of the first 2G, 2.5G, and 3G networks and the launch of the Apple I-Phone.