Resolving Network Optimization Issues Arising from Inactive unsubscribed IoT Devices


Spotlight on IoT |

In this hyperconnected world, where IoT devices are still proliferating, it is more important to securely manage the whole connectivity life cycle. This involves handling the end-of-life for millions of devices as well as updating SIM parameters. For MNOs, the latter poses a significant new challenge in terms of securing connection and optimising networks. Effective end-of-life management can also have a favourable influence on energy usage from the viewpoint of their enterprise clients. The over-the-air (OTA) platform is useful in this situation.

Minimizing Unwarranted Network Congestion

A fleet of devices, such as smart metres, devices dispersed throughout a smart city, or entire factories, must be deactivated when an OEM or a company using IoT devices stops a service. Given the size of these projects, there may be thousands or even millions of devices, many of which are dispersed and challenging to reach. Physically turning off each device’s connectivity would be a time-consuming, expensive, and frequently impossible task.

Other crucial services may suffer if bandwidth is overloaded by these connection requests. Low bandwidth, for instance, can prevent updates from being transmitted to lamps in a smart city or hamper emergency calls. It can also disrupt a manufacturing production line. Due to the potential severity of these issues, the global market demand for network optimisation is anticipated to reach $1.5 billion by 2032.

Enhancing Network Efficiency through Over-the-Air (OTA) Platform

However, it is very delicate to remove the IMSI, which is specific to each device and enables MNOs to recognise and communicate with particular devices. First off, destroying the IMSI is definitive, making it impossible to remotely reattach the device even while it relieves network congestion. Additionally, due to the strength of over-the-air updates, an MNO may easily initiate a campaign to wipe out a fleet of devices with a single click. When used as intended, it results in significant time savings and several advantages for both the MNO and the users of their IoT devices. However, when unintended—whether via mistake or deliberate action—it can be costly and damaging to the MNO’s reputation as well as that of their IoT clients.

Leveraging the Potential of Over-the-Air Updates

Over-the-air updates efficiently assist MNOs and their enterprise customers in reducing network congestion and conserving energy by deactivating unsubscribed devices due to the finality of this operation. A key element in retaining clients is MNOs’ ability to maintain the level of bandwidth required to uphold their service level agreements with their present IoT customers. At the same time, MNOs can assist their clients in becoming more sustainable by turning off fleets of devices. After all, even low-power gadgets can use a large amount of energy when multiplied by hundreds or thousands over time. Once congestion has been reduced, MNOs can efficiently reallocate resources and minimise their own energy usage.

Although erasing the IMSI is the “ultimate” over-the-air update for a SIM, other operations also require protections against human error or malicious tampering. The reputation and brand of an MNO may suffer from poorly managed other operations. If a typo or poor joke is published, for instance, updating the MNO brand that SIMs display on screen-equipped devices might be quite important. The proper safeguards must be in place when significant or long-lasting changes like these are made possible. One or two essential personnel at most should have the authority to approve sensitive operations, even though multiple members of the MNO team may be involved in administering an OTA platform campaign for maintenance or updates.

IoT devices, as opposed to consumer devices, which stop attempting to connect once unsubscribed, clearly represent a paradigm shift for MNOs since they now have to manage a sizable number of unsupervised devices and the network optimisation difficulties that come with that. The over-the-air updates will help MNOs manage IoT device end-of-life swiftly and properly when devices need to be deactivated, eliminating network congestion costs, as IoT keeps expanding. They will also help MNOs keep device connectivity parameters up-to-date to ensure security and quality of service. The OTA platform is one of a number of strong tools available today for network optimisation, along with AI, predictive analytics, and automation technologies.

This article is published inside the January 2024 edition of Disruptive Telecoms