IDTechEx Research finds that there will be 2,7-billion LPWAN IoT connections in 2029, according to its latest report “IoT Low Power Wireless Networks and 5G 2019-2029”.

There are many choices of low power wide area networks (LPWAN) which will be a key connectivity element of the Internet of Things. Some use licensed spectrum, others unlicensed spectrum, the latter being lower power and cheaper in the medium term.

To determine the number of IoT connections based on these protocols, now and forecast, IDTechEx Research believes it’s necessary to look beyond the ‘smoke and mirror’ marketing of all these choices, with inconsistent and often inflated numbers of connections loosely given by proponents. This is due to each of the proponents being acutely aware that they need to be seen as the communication protocol of choice before potential adopters sniff loss of confidence and momentum, leading to an inevitable shake-out of some of these options.

It is against the background of this hype that IDTechEx Research conducted an impartial study of LPWAN and related technologies – including wireless local area networks and 5G as comparisons. Based on primary research consisting of interviews with key players, the report IoT Low Power Wireless Networks and 5G 2019-2029 provides a current and forecast data set of LPWAN protocols over 2018-2029 and forecasts of adoption by application for the same period.

By volume, licensed communication technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE will have more connections than unlicensed versions (such as LoRa and Sigfox) by 2021, despite entering the sector later.