What Cloud QoS and Latency Mean for IoT Applications
January 2, 2018

Will the Internet of Things (IoT) live up to its promise? A lot depends on how network latency issues are resolved in the cloud. Virtual networking itself is often encumbered by complex coordination across switches as well as various incompatibilities between domains. In the IoT, there are further complications stemming from the heterogeneous mix of applications and devices as well as the overall vast scale of the infrastructure.

IoT sensors and appliances are also constrained in terms of their network bandwidth, power consumption and security against numerous threats such as the KRACK exploit in WPA2-secured Wi-Fi. Accordingly, traditional approaches to mitigating latency – and by extension, improving user experience – aren't always sufficient, requiring additional measures including the implementation of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs).

Ghosts of Latency Mitigation Past, Present and Future

Reducing latency is an evergreen goal for any provider of interactive services, since its effects on bounce rates, e-commerce sales and user experience are well-documented. In the past, latency reduction techniques have included:

  • Using a content delivery network (aka a CDN)
  • Turning on data compression, e.g., for variable bit rate videos
  • Bypassing the TCP-IP stack with a TCP offload engine
  • Utilizing scalable DNS services optimized for geolocation or latency

These workarounds are still widely used and have become essential to present-day solutions such as the popular Route 53 on Amazon Web Services. However, even more work may be needed to unlock the full potential of IoT-based systems.

Protocols such as MQ Telemetry Transport Protocol and various standards for Low-Power Wide Area Networks demonstrate some of the possible paths forward. However, WANs themselves should also be overhauled, in order to benefit from SD-WAN features for packet-by-packet analysis and responsiveness to changes in both bandwidth and demand.

Key SD-WAN Features for Reduced Latency in the IoT

The flexibility and scalability of SD-WANs make them strong complements to other forms of latency mitigation in the IoT. Plus, its per-packet quality measurement of jitter, latency and packet loss supports the movement of application traffic between different links, regardless of the underlying transport.

Such SD-WAN features are pivotal given the centrality of commodity Internet links – and the congestion that comes with them – to the IoT. With SD-WAN, you don't have to sacrifice safety or performance for cost when it comes to supporting myriad IoT devices. Download our new eBook below and try a demo to learn more.

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