Communication is an essential element in any smart public lighting installation, acting as a binder among devices and software. The right communication technology can make the difference between a fully functional deployment and a syncopated one. Even though the lamp itself does not have an influence on the communication technology, the controller and the control solution provider have to be compatible with the communication technology you decide to use for your smart street lighting project.
A closed system, for instance, will be compatible only with the provider’s patented communication technology, which will require an investment continuity over time with the same producer. Choosing open protocol communications, on the other hand, will be compatible with third-party solutions and will give you more options for future investments.
When it comes to communication, you should also consider whether a public or private network best suits your project’s needs.
Public networks (e.g. NB-IoT, LTE-M, GSM) are installed and maintained by telecom operators who make sure that the network is secured and functional at all times (carrier grade security and functionality). Even though the user usually needs to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription, public networks rarely require installation fees.
Private networks (e.g. LoRaWAN, Wi-SUN etc.) are operated directly by the municipality or the street lighting provider (nobody has access to street lighting data). While installation costs are higher and users have to ensure the network maintenance and security themselves, private networks eliminate the cost of having to pay for a subscription and can be used for other smart city applications.