Communication technology

Header General Basics

This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.

Communication technology

Besides the well-known static Internet, there are other ways to transfer the IOTA protocol. The future IoE will use different technologies for data exchange. I would like to present the different possibilities in this section.

Communication technology


The 5G network is for IoE what broadband Internet was for the world wide web.

Even though billions of devices are already connected today, we are still in the early stages of IoE. This is not least due to the fact that the coming 5G network will be able to supply Internet to a large number of devices simultaneously in one radio cell. While 3G and 4G were primarily designed for smartphones, 5G will see the emergence of huge amounts of new types of connected devices, such as connected and autonomous vehicles, applications for virtual and augmented reality, telemedicine/surgery or IoT and its many possibilities.

The new 5G network not only promises 100 times faster downloads or high-resolution video streams, it will also revolutionize our mobility. Autonomous driving with connected vehicles will be possible on a large scale for the first time. This is particularly due to the fact that latency times (response times) will be much shorter with the upcoming generation of mobile phones. Vehicles will be able to exchange data with each other, receive commands via smartphone app and inform each other about their intentions or dangerous situations early on. Huge amounts of data will be generated and the 5G network will make this possible.

The German industry already relies on many future technologies, such as the control and interconnection of robots, machines and other devices. Only with the new mobile phone standard it would be possible to really take off, since some innovative solutions in many fields of application depend on a fast and always available data exchange. For all these new applications, billions of sensors in machines, cars and devices must be able to communicate with each other – mobile and in real time. Currently, several German industrial heavyweights such as VW, Audi and BMW are trying to get local 5G licenses for their factories in order to be able to record and log production processes in real time, because 5G could become a key technology in digital transmission and the backbone of our future industry.

What are the biggest advantages?

  • Up to 90% less power consumption of mobile devices (depending on the provider)
  • 1/1000 Energy consumption per transmitted bit
  • Extremely low latency enables real-time responses
  • Pings of less than 1 millisecond
  • 100 billion mobile devices simultaneously addressable worldwide
  • Around 1000 times higher capacity
  • Up to 100 times higher data rates than today’s LTE network (i.e. up to 10,000 MBit/s)

What are the biggest disadvantages?

  • Due to the smaller range, a transmitter unit would have to be placed every 200-300 meters.
  • The effects of radio radiation on humans and animals are not conclusively clarified. There are several studies with different results. I do not want to anticipate here, please do your own research.


LiFi stands for “Light Fidelity” and was developed for usage in LED lights. This works roughly as follows: In these LED lights a microchip is integrated which modulates the light for data transmission. This allows a very fast switching on and off of the light source. The human being notices no changes in his environment, he sees only a normal light, because the human eye cannot perceive this very fast change. In the binary system, the switch-on signal is 1 and the switch-off signal is 0. A series of switch-on and switch-off signals can then be processed into usable data records via a photosensor on an end device. The speeds of current WLAN signals are surpassed several times over; under experimental conditions speeds of several gigabits per second have already been achieved. A complete HD film (2-5 gigabytes) can be downloaded from the Internet in one second via LiFi. If all light sources in and around a building were to be equipped with LiFi technology, a greater range and more stable data transmission could be achieved than with a single WiFi router.

LiFi technology offers several advantages for many areas:

  • Higher speeds than Wi-Fi, HD streaming would no longer be a problem.
  • Greater bandwidth, allowing a higher number of data channels in the same space.
  • More secure, an attacker would have to have physical access to the light source to intercept or manipulate data packets.
  • Prevents piggyback transmissions (unauthorized access to the network).
  • Easy to implement for existing LED lights
  • Eliminates neighboring network interference (e.g. WiFi channel overlap with the neighbor).
  • No radio interferences (radio, radios, microwave etc.).
  • Causes no interference in sensitive electronics and is therefore well suited for use in sensitive environments such as hospitals and airplanes.

Disadvantages are also obvious:

  • Optical data transmission only works when the devices are in direct visual contact, transmission through walls is not possible.
  • Lacking mobility, due to the required visual contact, stationary transmitting stations are still required at present.
  • The light sources must always remain switched on for operation.

Future outlook

LiFi offers a completely new way to connect end devices for data transfer. In the future it is conceivable that every streetlight could be an access point to fast internet. In sensitive areas, such as in a hospital or an airplane, where radio transmissions disturb the functions of other electronic devices, LiFi could be a safe alternative. Even communication between road signs and cars or between cars themselves would be conceivable. For example, in the event of a heavy braking maneuver, the following car could be warned in real time by the taillights of the car in front. The private environment could also benefit: LiFi enables much faster transmission of streaming content in HD quality or playing data-intensive virtual reality games live.

Data transmission via light can be used wherever a light source is available, which opens up a large number of possible application areas in the future. Whether the LiFi technology has a chance to establish itself further in the future depends on the technical progress in the next years.

Whoever wants to can already use this technology. There are already LiFi lights and LiFi USB dongles available for purchase. Furthermore there is also the possibility to make commercially available LED lights usable for Li-Fi. For this a small controller with a special microchip is needed, which controls the data transfer. The device is connected to the internet via a conventional network cable and from this converter the light is supplied with power and data.

IOTA and LiFi

IOTA / JINN Labs in person of Sergey Ivancheglo (cfb) could provide a technical advance. On May 9, 2018, cfb reported on his experiments with LiFi technology. According to his own statements, JINN Labs has already developed a ternary-based LiFi technology and also has ready to use hardware. Cfb has merged the LiFi technology with the ternary JINN / IOTA technology. To what extent the third additional state (-1) brings an advantage remains to be seen until the technology is presented to the public. This will probably coincide with the release of the ternary microcontroller JINN (see Hardware).

With this technology, the IF has a wider range of transmission possibilities of the IOTA protocol and is no longer limited to radio transmissions. Now a light flux is sufficient to transmit the protocol at a very high speed. With this technology, the industry would no longer need expensive WiFi networks in their large halls. Instead LED light sources will be able to be used as new network access points. All machines can be connected to each other and to the Internet via light. As described above, street lamps could also be used in Smart Cities, providing fast Internet access but also collecting data from passing cars and sending it to the tangle.

LiFi video by the leading expert Dr. Harald Haas

LiFi video from an alleged employee of cfb (I cannot confirm since I do not know the sources).


LoRaWAN is a communication architecture optimized for IoT that transmits data over license-free radio frequencies. It is a so-called low-power wide-area network and is used to connect low-energy devices such as battery-powered sensors to a server. The LoRaWAN specification is defined by the LoRa Alliance Foundation. It is freely available and uses a patented transmission method.

LoRaWAN is a radio technology (similar to Wi-Fi, WLAN, Bluetooth or LTE) that aims to generate as little logging effort as possible while achieving a long range with low energy consumption and low operating costs. The protocol is designed for mobile and secure bi-directional communication, ensuring reliable message transmission (confirmation), thus not only allowing data collection but also active control of devices. The standard also ensures compatibility with other LoRaWAN networks around the world.

Advantages of LoRaWAN

  • Use of license-free frequency bands from the ISM bands. In Europe these are the bands in the 868 and 433 MHz range. By using frequency spreading, the technology is almost immune to interference radiation.
  • High ranges between transmitter and receiver, from 2 km in urban areas up to 15 km in rural areas. Depending on the environment and buildings, whole cities could be covered.
  • Battery-powered sensors can be operated for more than five years with one battery charge. With this technology, large sensor networks can be maintained with low maintenance costs.
  • Considerable cost savings of the required infrastructure compared to existing systems.
  • The system has a high sensitivity of -137 dBm. This allows higher penetration deep into buildings and basements, which increases the availability of the network.
  • Adaptive data rates (ADR): the server manages the data rates (0.3 to 50 kbit/s) individually for each terminal device. The signal strength is also controlled depending on the distance to the base station. This ensures optimal conditions regarding the fastest possible data rate, best possible network capacity and low energy consumption.
  • Many operators already use LoRaWAN and offer the technology as part of their service offerings in numerous countries worldwide. This makes the technology even more interesting as it is compatible with the networks of different operators.
  • Large networks with millions of devices can be supported
  • Support for redundant operation
  • Plug and Play, the standardized interfaces (API) allow sensors and applications to be connected quickly and flexibly.
  • High security through end-to-end encryption
  • LoRa-enabled sensors are already available on the market or the existing sensor technology can be easily converted for LoRa by the sensor manufacturers by exchanging the radio module.

For further information please visit:

What does this mean for IOTA?

With this highly efficient and resource-saving technology, a cost-effective use of large-area sensor networks is possible for the first time. This is yet another important piece of the puzzle for future IoT. The areas of application in connection with IOTA are obvious, for example all sensor queries of a smart city could be handled via LoRaWAN, supply chains could be monitored, etc.

For more information check the section Use Cases.

LoRaWAN and IOTA: Proof of Concept for real-time data storage

Harm van den Brink (works for Enexis and ElaadNL) has already produced a proof of concept with IOTA using LoRaWAN. This PoC demonstrates the real-time storage of data in the tangle, which gives the user an unchangeable way to store data. The PoC is very simple. A message is sent via LoRaWAN and the IoT network is listened to using a specific application and using the *MQTT. The message is received and sent to the Tangle at high speed using the “Proof of work” service of

 *MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) is an open source message protocol for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication that enables the transmission of messages between devices.

If you want, you can download and use the code from Harm van den Brink’s blog, but please note that this PoC does not cover the complete integrity of the data. To do so, an additional digital signature must be added to the message using IOTA streams. This improves the original PoC and makes it more secure.

Andreas Baumgartner from TU Chemnitz has now successfully implemented IOTA streams in his code. You can read about it in his blog (with video).


In the linked article by Andreas Baumgartner there is a very important sentence: “Since an Iota package is much larger than the maximum package size of LoRaWAN (and unfortunately of all protocols of the LPWAN family), we have to fragment the Iota package into several LoRaWAN packages to make it fit”.

This procedure is not allowed in most LoRaWAN low power networks, such as thethingsnetwork, otherwise it takes too long. Each bit of a transmission costs energy and an IOTA transaction consumes more energy than if only raw data was sent. Therefore, further research on IOTA transaction size (as of Oct. ’19) is needed to meet the data packet size specifications of LoRaWAN networks.

Original sources

Machine-to-Machine (M2M)

Header General Basics

This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M)

Current central systems do not provide sufficient security for devices or sensors in IoT. Since data is currently stored in owner-managed databases, it is difficult to share this data with others without the possibility to modify it or lose it in other databases.  The goal of the IOTA Foundation is to create a level of trust for the Internet of Things (IoT) that allows the devices in IoT to exchange immutable data and values.

The growing popularity of IoT and the advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making a machine-to-machine (M2M) economy possible for the first time. Connected intelligent machines become self-determined market participants with their own bank accounts.

M2M-participants will be able to manage their own assets in order to request or assign services autonomously. For example, a machine could rent itself out or pay for service technicians, maintenance, spare parts, energy and its liability insurance or purchase goods or services at the lowest prices in digital marketplaces. The resulting opportunities are huge and for the first time in history a machine will be able to earn and spend money on its own.

Currently, the relatively high cost of micro-payment transactions is a barrier to the growth of an M2M economy. A technology that enables royalty-free transactions would be the starting point for various applications in the M2M economy. It would create a completely new ecosystem in which many new business fields would emerge.

IOTA offers this technology and we can assume that in the near future there will be far-reaching changes in all industrial sectors and our society, the roles of humans and machines will change. For example, digital marketplaces without middlemen will emerge, where different devices will be able to trade data and goods autonomously.

Source: Akita Medium Blog – M2M prototype with machine elements and architecture by AKITA

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Internet of Everything (IoE)

Header General Basics

This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.

Internet of Everything

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is formed by connecting people, processes, data and things. The advantage of IoE is that it connects people, devices, *appliances, processes, data and things together to form an intelligent process. With IoE almost everything is connected over the Internet and data is provided in real time.

In IoE, not only computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones are connected to each other, as in the traditional Internet. IoE also connects intelligent machines that can access a database and use advanced networking services. Therefore, the possible applications for IoE networks range from sensor networks and electronic devices, as well as consumer electronics and wellness industry equipment, to facilities in a smart city, to the integration of motor vehicles and traffic facilities, to industrial machines and distributed, intelligent hardware. Such constellations offer an unprecedentedly high degree of networking between people, processes and things.

*(Appliances = combined system of computer hardware and software specifically optimized for this hardware, e.g. household appliances)

Difference between IoT and IoE

IoT (Internet of Things) makes objects intelligent, i.e. logic and network functionality enable them to exchange information with other devices.

With IoE (Internet of Everything), intelligent things are linked to processes, data and people, which leads to an increased automation of the economy and has an increasing impact on society (buzzword: “Big Data”).

While IoT forms a unified technological transition, IoE comprises various technologies, including IoT technology and various communication links. The classic approach of host-based communication is being replaced by content-based communication in IoE. This network architecture is about the qualified information content, its identification, forwarding and storage.

Original source

Internet of Things (IoT)

Header General Basics

This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the use of intelligent networked devices, systems and everyday objects. In the future, things will be networked with each other and exchange data via the Internet, even vehicles and buildings will be included. The future IoT will create a large digital ecosystem with far-reaching possibilities.

Experts predict that technological progress will lead to an exponential growth rate and that IoT will spread rapidly in the coming years. According to forecasts, more than 50 billion devices will be connected in just a few years.

The future IoT will unleash a new dimension of services that have the potential to improve the quality of life of consumers in the long term. It will deliver more efficient solutions for many areas of daily life and will influence energy supply, banking, transport, administration, security, health, education and many other aspects of daily life.

Internet of Things
Internet of Things

For companies, the IoT can open up opportunities for completely new business fields. Through “machine to machine” payments (M2M) that will be possible in the future, many business processes will be completely automated and run without human intervention. The most frequently cited example is probably the car, which automatically charges for its parking time in the parking lot or automatically bills the electricity at the charging station from the wallet integrated in the car.

With the new technological possibilities arising, a gigantic growth market is emerging and the economic potential of the “Internet of Things” is huge, experts even speak of a trillion dollar market.

IoT applications in the industry

Automotive industry: Large-scale automation solutions, automated robot systems and monitoring of production plants could be realized.

Mechanical and systems engineering: A “pay per use” offer for production plants would be possible, with users acting both as operators and suppliers. Remote maintenance and remote monitoring systems in production can benefit from IoT. Remote maintenance and remote monitoring means having a compact overview of what is happening where, where there are problems and where they are imminent. In some cases, it is also possible to react to this automatically.

Electronics industry: The large variety of models and ever smaller batch sizes (also in prototype production) demand more flexible production facilities. This can be achieved, for example, by an IoT-controlled and fully automated conversion of the systems. A “pay per use” offer would also be conceivable.

Metal industry: In the metalworking industry, exact tolerances in the nanometer range are often required. Industrial IoT can help to make production more sustainable and precise in order to avoid errors or to document them if necessary. This includes, for example, the use of visual inspection systems with the possibility of storing the data.

Other manufacturing industries: Logistics generally represents a major cost factor in the manufacturing industry. Through digital tracking of production factors, efficiency can be increased considerably.

Utilities (electricity, water, gas): For utilities, remote maintenance and monitoring of wind turbines or similar energy producing facilities is important. The use of IoT leads to major efficiency improvements in the supply chain from production to the end user.

Agriculture, forestry, construction: In the agricultural sector, a lot of sensor technology is used to obtain real-time data on soil procurement and livestock. The construction industry works with digital monitoring of processes on large construction sites.

Original source

General Basics

Header General Basics

This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.

General Basics

Before we turn our attention to the great vision of the IOTA Foundation, everyone should read up on the important basics. I will explain them roughly in the following chapters. Without the basics some topics will be difficult to understand.

General principles
Source: IOTA Einsteiger Guide

More Details

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT refers to the connection of objects to the Internet so that these objects can communicate autonomously via the Internet and thus perform various tasks.

Internet of Everything (IoE)

IoE extends the IoT emphasis on M2M communications to describe a more complex system that also encompasses people and processes.

Machine-to-machine (M2M)

M2M communication refers to the automated exchange of information between end devices without manual, human intervention.

Communication Technology

Besides the well-known static Internet, there are other ways to transfer the IOTA protocol. The future IoE will use different technologies for data exchange, like 5G, LiFi or LoRaWAN.

Original source