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The Internet of Things: Connecting Objects

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    RFID, PLC and WSN

    The book describes 3 topics - RFID, power line communications [PLC] and wireless sensor networks [WSNs]. Low level engineering details are largely omitted. But there is enough technical material to perhaps require a background of 1 or 2 years of undergraduate study in engineering or science. It's a good read, without being bogged down in myriad equations.

    Of the topics, RFID and PLC are the most advanced in terms of actual mass deployment. When it comes to actual possible connections to the Internet, RFID is really not apropos. The contexts in which RFID has been deployed [and which are expected to be in the near future] are for companies that might want more inventory control. While in principle such data might then be made available on the Internet, it seems in practice that access will be restricted to within the company.

    PLC is certainly expected to include Internet access. Power companies are acutely interested in this. First for cheaper and easier remote monitoring of electricity usage. Second for selling Internet access to their customers, and this last mile access is very expensive for competing implementations.

    The WSN is the furthest from any large commercial usage. Mostly, it has been done in various research contexts. And as far as Internet access is concerned, this might be from the Internet to a base station that controls a WSN. But it does not extend to actually communicating with a sensor node inside that network, due to the limited power and bandwidth of such nodes.

    If you are interested in learning more about WSN, the publisher offers an entire recent text devoted to extensive discourse, Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks: Algorithms and Protocols for Scalable Coordination and Data Communication

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