Table Comparing Wireless Protocols for IoT Devices

We compiled this table to help our team select the best wireless communication protocol for the products we make. We hope it helps you as much as it has helped us.

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Our Thoughts:

There are a ton of options for getting your IoT device connected wirelessly, and there is no clear winner for every case. We put together a few simple guidelines, please reach out to us for more detailed advice.


Frequency plays a huge role in determining characteristics of a wireless protocol. Most IoT wireless protocols operate on unlicensed spectrum bands. This means that they don’t have to pay the FCC or similar governing body to broadcast on that band, but the risk of interference from other networks is high. In general, higher frequencies will have a higher data rate, lower range, higher power draw, and lower wall penetration. 2.4GHz is the only frequency that is unlicensed globally which is why it’s the de facto frequency for most IoT protocols.


If your device is going to be installed in a home or building, looking for a lower frequency can help with wall penetration. If your device is going to be installed city-wide or state-wide, you want to find a device with WAN in the “Intended Use” column.

Power Draw

If your device is battery operated, you’re going to want to select a low-power protocol. Generally, higher frequencies draw more power. Some protocols can get around this with sleep modes (BLE) and altered MCUs to fit your use case, but frequency does play a role in power draw.

Data Requirements

As a frame of reference, most MP3 files stream at 256 kbps. Depending on your application, meeting the minimum data rate requirements is very important. Frequency once again plays a role here, higher frequency generally allows for a higher data rate.


Mesh networks are cheaper to install because they don’t require a powerful and centrally placed hub. But they do require a number of devices to function well, so they aren’t a good choice for standalone products. Star networks require some sort of reasonably powerful hub in a central location. But they make up for this cost with improved latency, data rates, and reliability (in some cases).

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