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Your location: Home > Related Articles > ESIM technology: overcoming the challenges of IoT connectivity

ESIM technology: overcoming the challenges of IoT connectivity

Author:QINSUN Released in:2023-12 Click:36

How can companies around the world overcome these connectivity challenges with the help of eSIM technology?

According to IDC data, there will be approximately 75 billion IoT devices connected by 2025, and the total data volume of IoT connected devices worldwide is expected to reach 79.4 Zebytes (ZB). With the exponential growth of connected IoT devices and intelligent IoT solutions in various industries such as agriculture, healthcare, transportation, oil, manufacturing, drones, and robotics, connectivity challenges have become increasingly common. What are the current connectivity challenges that the company is facing? How can companies around the world overcome these connectivity challenges with the help of eSIM technology?

Daily connection issues

IoT customers from various industries have similar connectivity issues, such as spending extra time and money managing multiple connectivity partners, being locked in expensive contracts, poor availability, and no network redundancy.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) are single point of failure, and companies looking for multiple suppliers typically need to manage multiple suppliers and contracts. For a single MNO, the wireless coverage range and signal strength may vary in different regions. When end users lose connection to their "home" operator network, they are forced to roam on another MNO network.

On the other hand, mobile virtual network operators, also known as MVNO, may help maintain network connectivity when you cross borders, but they may roam onto the network, leading to cost changes, reduced services, and even being kicked out of the network they are roaming. To better understand these challenges, it is important to understand why MVNO often fails to address customer pain points.

The Roaming Challenge of the Real World

In short, the term "roaming" refers to allowing IoT devices to connect outside the coverage area of their primary network provider. With the help of roaming, the device's data is transferred to another MNO's network so that it can access a continuous wireless connection.

For those unfamiliar with the term, "permanent roaming" refers to IoT devices connecting to a network or location other than their "home" network for a long period of time. Previously, extensive networks supported permanent roaming, but due to operators and regulatory agencies zeroing out unwanted permanent roaming traffic, devices entering unfriendly networks now face high latency and even higher risks of being discarded from "leaving" networks

For example, has your phone ever stopped working or experienced a service decline while roaming in another country/region? When your IoT device uses MVNO roaming, the same thing happens. In order to comply with security regulations for IoT devices, many regulatory agencies require SIM identities and data from IoT devices to terminate within network boundaries. As a result, IoT devices in various regions suddenly started from the network, which had a negative impact on enterprises deploying critical IoT devices. Due to the unsatisfactory data routing topology for almost all IoT applications, roaming is also an expensive alternative for IoT devices with poor application performance.

Why did MVNO fail?

MVNO provides wireless communication services to customers, but does not actually own the wireless network tower they use. On the contrary, MVNO jumps onto towers belonging to MNO, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, often transmitting traffic through their own core networks and/or data centers during this process.

Usually, an MVNO purchases/rents wholesale meeting minutes, data, and text from MNO, and then resells the conversation, text, and data to you under their own brand. MVNO typically operates its own core network and data center, so the user's identity is not commensurate with the performance of the true connection provider (MNO). Therefore, compared to MNO, MNVO will experience higher latency and lower than standard performance. Simply put, latency is the time it takes for a packet to be transmitted from one point to another. In the telecommunications industry, the term high latency refers to slow network speeds, which can lead to poor user experience and often limit technologies that require ultra fast connections (such as artificial intelligence, mobility, and robotics).

In addition to providing high latency solutions to customers, MVNO has not yet provided redundancy as all traffic flows through their data centers, making them a single point of failure. MVNO only operates data centers and provides a rough copy of the original MNO network data architecture. Mobile network operators have spent billions of dollars building their networks, and their data centers will never be on par with leading operator networks. If a company connects its IoT devices to MNOs like AT&T, and the MVNO data center encounters an interruption, the connection to AT&T will be lost because the MVNO data center is a single point of failure.

Although many MVNO claims today that they offer eSIM technology, this is not the case. Ultimately, despite marketing, you are still using MVNO roaming.

Given these limitations, many businesses realize that MVNO is a more expensive solution that cannot meet the ultimate needs of customers. They need a better and more reliable network.

SIM (UICC) and eSIM (eUICC) and iSIM

Fortunately, the network localization provided by eSIM or embedded UICC (eUICC) technology may alleviate these concerns. Certificate as a Service (CaaS) or downloading local network credentials to devices over the air (OTA) can provide network localization, thereby eliminating the risk of permanent roaming and providing optimal performance. For example, when deploying devices using ready-made SIM technology in non home networks, the device will roam to the network and suffer from lower than standard network performance and expensive roaming costs.

On the contrary, using eSIM technology, the same device can dynamically switch between networks wirelessly. This avoids the risks associated with continuous roaming, solves network performance issues, and reduces costs by replacing existing SIM with eSIM/eUICC technology. Let's take a look at the differences between the three terms SIM, eSIM, and iSIM.

#1: SIM card

Firstly, a classic Java based UICC card is manufactured to be physically inserted and removed from the device, known as "SIM". A single International Mobile Identity (IMSI) number and its associated keys will be securely stored on the first SIM card, which was created in 1991. A SIM card is an integrated circuit that runs the card operating system (COS).

Use these keys to identify and verify subscribers on a single network. Although these cards have been around for over 30 years and remain the default options for many consumer electronics products, they do not possess the technical capabilities required for most IoT use cases. Fortunately, eSIM has developed to address many limitations and limitations of traditional SIM technology.

#2: ESIM

The term "eSIM" can refer to electronic network access credentials or embedded SIM cards downloaded to the device. True eSIM technology enables device operators to remotely change network OTAs and dynamically change subscriber identities (i.e. IMSI). In addition, this technology can also transmit operation configuration files in OTA mode when the device wakes up, allowing the IMSI stored on the card to change over time and dynamically allocate/reassign.

ESIM has multiple external dimensions, and compared to regular SIM, they can be physical, chip inserted devices (2FF/3FF/4FF). But unlike traditional SIM, eSIM can also be soldered into the device's motherboard (MFF2). Mobile network operators (MNOs) have an obligation to pre install network operator credentials onto SIM cards when using classic SIM/UICC technology. On the other hand, with the help of eSIM/eUICC technology, network credentials can be downloaded after distribution.

#3: ISIM

"Integrated SIM", commonly known as iSIM, is a relatively new phrase. With the help of iSIM, all the functions and advantages of eSIM have been transferred to the operating system and permanent hardware of the device. ISIM does not rely on separate memory chips or controllers like eSIM.

On the contrary, it enables processor design companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to flexibly create system on chip (SOC) designs that combine SIM functionality with installed onboard processors and cellular modems. This changes the way compatible device providers access and distribute cellular functionality. As mentioned earlier, this technology is still in its early stages of development; Therefore, many moving parts must run together.

The connection of the real world

As we have learned from our experience using eSIM technology, not all eSIMs are the same. The differences in availability between card operating systems, platforms, and operators can affect the overall connectivity experience and control of end-users. ISIM may also encounter the same problem, but if the manufacturing channels of the Internet of Things do not like the default connection options, they cannot change the default connection options at will now. Many people hope that when iSIM truly takes off, processor OEMs will provide more customization options, such as allowing you to choose your own iSIM operating system environment and network platform. There will be more content in this area soon!