smart technology:isim

Cellular Technology: Know everything about iSIM and eSIM technology

Cellular technology is one of the most common methods connecting the Internet of Things devices to the network. According to a study by Ericsson, 70% of the IoT devices will use cellular technology by 2022. SIM (Subscriber Identity Modules) and UICC(Universal Integrated Circuit Cards) play an important role in connecting the devices to the network. According to a report from IoT Analytics, the number of IoT-enabled devices is expected to reach 22 billion by 2025. But, the traditional SIM technology will fail to deliver on such large scale deployments. Above all, both eSIM and iSIM are the innovations in this area to address the concern of the physical SIM cards.

The constraints of physical SIM cards

Cellular Technology:physical SIM cards.
Pictur source:Pxfuel


Traditional  SIM cards are omnipresent. Network providers use them to store profile that authenticates a device and also to provide secure identification and storage. But, it has many drawbacks. For example, it uses a large amount of space, can be easily damaged and there is a chance of theft. From an enterprise angle, the growing number of SIM-enabled devices presents maintenance and management issues. Simply put, they need to change SIM cards on millions of devices which seems implausible. This can happen in case they need to change the network provider. Furthermore, to change network operators, users need to swap out SIM cards—easy for a mobile phone, but more challenging for an IoT device.

A programmable solution

Cellular Technology:solution
Picture source:Pixabay

eSIM and the iSIM are a necessary evolution. They offer a robust, scalable solution to the SIM card issues. Moreover, It is based on the open, vendor-neutral standard developed by the GSMA. Both eSIM and iSIM provide a similar role as that of a SIM card. But, they offer an advantage in terms of small form factor as well as it is remotely programmable. Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were the first phones to support eSIM. There some smartwatches like the Apple Watch 3 and ZTE Quart that use it. In early 2018, ARM announced iSIM technology for embedded devices.

Improved physical security of new cellular technology

Cellular Technology: improved physical security.
Picture source: Pixabay

Both eSIM and iSIM have similar philosophies by being present on the PCB of the device. eSIM is soldered to PCB while iSIM moves one stage further by present on the SOC or MCU. Hence, this makes both innovations tamper-proof. As a result, with these two technologies, there is a considerable saving in space due to the low form factor.

More options for users under new cellular technology

Options
Picture source: Pixabay

eSIM and iSIM are still as configurable as regular SIM or actually more. They allow customers to select carriers, data plans, and to change their number at will. Here, SIM information is updated over the cellular network rather than by changing a card. Hence, this proves as a valuable option for tracking containers and automatic configuration of consumer devices.

The cost-effective iSIM cellular technology

cost effective
Picture source: Pixabay

iSIM is not a standard yet but it builds upon improvements offered by eSIM technology. However, the major change is that the whole SIM hardware is integrated into SOC ( System-On-Chip ). Since it is integrated into the chip at the design stage itself, the cost of manufacturing reduces. As a result, this makes the IoT devices low cost which makes the solution based on IoT cost-effective to the enterprise.

Below is the list of difference between SIM and iSIM technologies in table format.

S.NoToday’s SIM implementationTomorrow iSIM
1.Locked solutionOpen system
2Complex systemIntegrated, pre-verified solution
3Minimizing power and areaSmaller, power-efficient devices
4Expensive bill of material Reduced cost
5No/ limited control once deployedRemote provisioning and managment

Summary

In nutshell, the world is adopting IoT-based solutions for myriad purposes ranging from smart city to industry 4.0. This change is driving technology innovation at cellular technology levels. The whole purpose of this innovation is to secure the transactions, easy device management, and make devices smaller to cater to enterprise levels. There is still some time before iSIM makes headway into the consumer space. But, when that happens it will provide a boon to the consumer industry with a new set of mobile technology and consumer experience.


Would you like to know about IoT platforms? Read our blog here.

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