From Snowflake to Avalanche: Understanding the Impact of the IoT Network Traffic

Will IoT network traffic take over the InternetMaybe it is easy to forget, in this age of near-ubiquitous Internet access (in many parts of the world, anyway), that we’re still in the nascent stages of the development of the Internet. As the network continues to grow in terms of both scale and functionality, new applications continue to be uncovered and realized, and it stands to reason that many more are yet to come.

It wasn’t too long ago that the concept of a massive number of devices, all connected to a networkand sending massive amounts of data about virtually any metric that could be tracked to a central location was unimaginable. Having all that data correlated in real-time to inform us about everything from the habits of consumers in a mall to climate change, or from traffic patterns to the activities of cows, was something out of science fiction.

And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening now. Welcome to the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept whereby small sensors and devices, that track relatively limited amounts of data, send that data to central platforms which assimilate and correlate all of that data into a larger picture of a place, a thing, a process or a flow of events. The value of IoT doesn’t come from any one device or sensor, but rather from the small data points gathered from hundreds to millions of devices, using Big Data platforms to analyze the massive amounts of data generated by those IoT networks.

The initial concept of IoT network dates back to the early 1980’s, when a group of Carnegie Mellon researchers connected a Coke machine in their department to an early version of the Internet, and used that connection to track the inventory of Coke bottles within the machine. From there, the concept grew in scope until it was given the name ‘Internet of Things’  (IoT) in the late 1990’s, finally reaching a critical mass in recent years.

Today, IoT network is used for everything from home appliances communicating their status to the manufacturer, to agricultural firms tracking the movement and status of their cows. That’s right – some of the ‘things’ that comprise the Internet of Things are cows. Small sensors attached to their ears track their moo-vements (sorry), and factors like body temperature and pulse determine if any of the herd are sick or otherwise in trouble.

But all of this begs the question – how will today’s networks handle the traffic that’s generated by these sensors, and what other challenges will the Internet of Things bring to an environment, namely the Internet, that was originally designed for a few humans to use?

By some estimates, IoT spending will surpass $1 trillion in 2023. Other researchers point to the multitude of potential security issues raised by the implementation of IoT applications.

The real impact of IoT is yet to be determined, because the full scale and scope of IoT projects is far from understood as yet. But even at this early stage, we can be sure of two things:

  • The Internet of Things concept is not only here to stay, but it will most certainly grow exponentially in size and scope, especially over the next few years.
  • The need for extremely efficient methods of optimizing networks, and the need to secure a massive number of endpoints, will be required if the Internet itself is to continue functioning. The challenge really is that big, and that fundamental.

Make no mistake – we’ve just scratched the surface of the IoT phenomenon, and things are about to get really interesting.

Cahit Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, Inc. 

Mushroom Networks is the provider of SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) and NFV solutions capable of Broadband Bonding that enables self-healing WAN networks that route around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss.


8 thoughts on “From Snowflake to Avalanche: Understanding the Impact of the Internet of Things (IoT)

  1. Understanding the internet of things is complex and it is hard to identify where it played the biggest role in the growth and development of the current digital world. In the present time everything we do is surrounded by digital and technical gadgets and related stuffs.

  2. Internet of Things is the best gift of the technology so far. It makes our life total digital. The devices which are adopted on the Internet of things are able to send and receive the data wirelessly. So it is really helpful to connect with the technological world.

    1. Thank you for the comment. Indeed IoT is expected to change our lives more than we comprehend today. It will be an interesting decade to experience…

  3. Indeed IoT is going to bring a revolutionary change in the world that will help mankind in many ways. On the other side the question you asked in the article i.e “what other challenges will the Internet of Things bring to an environment” is of much concern.

    1. Thank you for your comment Harshali. Indeed IoT is one of those transformative technologies that will effect many industries. It is not to say there are no challenges remaining for wide IoT adoption. However, with intelligent connectivity management and costs of IoT end points going lower every year, we are approaching the escape velocity point.

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