What NBN plan is best for the Internet of Things?

  • The Internet of Things means all sorts of appliances are getting hooked up online.
  • The figure of online capable devices increased 31% from 2016 to 8.4 billion in 2017.
  • Experts estimate that the the Internet of Things will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.

The world is a crazy place, the internet's even crazier, and the two are becoming exponantially entwined as technology moves in leaps and bounds. Broadband is ubiquitous, connecting to it has become super easy to do, and as such there is an exciting zeitgeist that's seeing more and more devices hooking up online. Known as the "Internet of Things" (or "IoT"), it means that all sorts of vehicles and home appliances will soon have software connectivity. Typically those appliances include fridges and air-conditioners, though some houses may already have their WiFi hooked up to egg-trays and hula hoops - and certain others are also hooking up their feet and their skulls

The figure of online capable devices increased 31% from 2016 to 8.4 billion in 2017, with experts predicted that the the Internet of Things will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2021. It's estimated that your average Australian household will have at least 30 (!) devices hooked up in their homes (and possibly their minds) by then, so we're obviously going to need internet service that can keep up with that much data consumption. How will the NBN keep up with the pace? 

One thing you need to take into account (both now and in the future) is that even on an unlimited NBN plan, the more devices you have hooked up, the more likely they will all slow down and congest, like several people trying to enter the same doorway and all getting stuck in it together. According to the NBN Co, you may be able to log in and use your mobile or tablet to interact with IoT devices while on a phone network like 3G or 4G, where data allowances remain limited, but you will need to know how much data your devices will need and what kind of data is being transported to and from the device through your internet. As the the NBN Co says on their website...

"It’s estimated that 400 zettabytes of data will be sent from IoT devices across the internet in 2018. A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes or 1021 – that means 21 zeroes! However, it’s likely that most of your common home IoT devices will not be massive consumers of bandwidth. Here are a couple of rules of thumb that can help you understand what data pressure an IoT device may put on your service over the nbn™ access network."

In the dizzying, panoramic and phantasmagoric world of tomorrow, some things will hopefully remain grounded and reasonable for devices (or indeed people) that participate in low internet usage. NBN Co maintains that there will be a low bandwidth cost for devices that require minimal interaction and operate with minimal data...

"Devices that require little interaction, and produce minimal data, are going to have very low bandwidth cost. For example, devices you log on to with an app to turn on and off – such as light bulbs or an oven – are very simplistic. Other than, perhaps, small amounts of diagnostics data that’s available on request, like the current oven temperature, these kinds of devices are nearly invisible on your data cap. Even current-era AI assistants like Siri use minimal data."

The NBN cites that those who categorise themselves in the "medium" niche of internet usage will also be well catered for, particularly those who wear vital sign monitoring health watches that are required to be left on at all times...

"Smart clothes or shoes that track your movements through GPS technology. Renewable energy solutions that provide minute-to-minute updates on your acquired and used energy, and manage that with the overall grid."

The constant net users amongst you will obviously be put into into the "high usage" end of the spectrum, especially if you're an ample streamer of videos. Whether you're setting up security cameras that automatically upload and save footage to the cloud, or simply binge-watching Netflix, NBN Co have said that as soon as an IoT device starts receiving data that isn't simply text, a higher bandwidth is often needed. This will include phones, but also "baby monitors that give you a window into your little one’s crib from anywhere in the world are another. . . and, in the future, smart glass that can embed streaming media content."

And then we have the extreme users! If you plan to be high-tech device wieldin', consant cloud accessin', smart car travellin' hustler, you're probably gonna need the kind of extreme amound of bandwidth that isn't really even available to your Average Joe & Jolene yet. But when the time is right, the NBN will provide... 

"With more than 60 microprocessors and sensors acquiring and sending back data to the cloud, it's estimated that up to 25GB of information will be sent to and from a connected vehicle in an hour-long trip. If you drive an hour or more to work in the morning, well, you can do the maths. Mooted Virtual Reality social hangouts - such as a virtual pub to visit with friends from overseas - would also be heavy users, requiring sophisticated software, video and audio connectivity in real-time."

And there you have it! Get ready for the future, gang! 

To see how you can connect to the NBN in 3 easy steps, click here

To learn what the best NBN plan is for you and your present situation, click here

To check out the NBN's website, click here.

And to learn 12 things you didn't know about the internet, you can click here