Michael Bosson Blog ProfileMichael Bosson
Content Manager, Onomondo

In the cellular IoT domain, device battery life is one of the main focal points for optimisation pre- and post-deployment. By reducing power consumption, you can extend the lifetime of your device, decrease production costs, and reduce battery sizes - all very handy attributes for IoT devices!

In cellular IoT connectivity, data consumption is directly linked to power consumption. Simply put, use less data and you’ll use less power. 

We recently made a white paper focusing on a very effective method for reducing power consumption - Cloud Connectors. Our Connectors reduce data consumption by moving the encryption to the network. 

We strip away unnecessary data wrapped around payloads and move SDKs from the device to the network. Our tests showed a 45% reduction in overall power consumption on 2G and LTE-M networks using the Connectors method!

"We nearly doubled the battery life of devices by reducing data consumption with Connectors."

How Connectors reduce data and power consumption

Thanks to Onomondo’s deeply integrated global cellular network, we can shift SDK logic into the network and dramatically simplify device connectivity. Nevertheless, data remains encrypted between the device and the core network according to cellular standards.

Here’s a quick example of how Connectors work using some basic header and payload data. To send a payload to the cloud, you need:

  • IP (header) around 20 bytes
  • TCP (header) normally 60 bytes
  • TLS (header) around 6,500 bytes
  • MQTT (header) normally 10 bytes
  • Payload 10 bytes for sending a temperature reading

If you send this information every 15 minutes with the SDK, you will use about 18 MB per month. Using the Onomondo method, it’s 0.3 MB per month for the same information.

We measured the effects of Connectors

We tested Connectors on our in-house development kits specifically designed to help customers debug connectivity and get started with the Onomondo App.

LTE Cat-M1 typical power consumptionAn extract from the white paper.

Factoring out the MCU power consumption and focusing on connectivity power draw, a 45% reduction is observed for LTE Cat-M1.

The white paper shows that it’s possible to almost halve the connectivity power consumption of a non-optimized IoT device with minimal effort.

Download the white paper: Improving energy efficiency in cellular IoT devices.

Overall, this saving will impact devices differently depending on the use case and power drain of non-connectivity components. But even if the total power saving amounts to 5-10% of the devices total power consumption, this represents a significant efficiency gain across device fleets.