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Julia SamaraSeptember 19, 20237 min read

Navigating IoT Roaming: Your Essential Guide

With IoT Roaming, devices can stay connected to essential services no matter where they are located. Even when moving across different countries or mobile networks, the devices can switch between providers without losing essential data or experiencing downtime. This is especially helpful for global businesses and supply chains that require real-time tracking of assets and data.


What is IoT Roaming?

This is a specialized connectivity solution designed for Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as sensors, trackers, and machines, allowing them to function globally. IoT roaming enables these devices to easily communicate with different mobile networks, ensuring the continuous and efficient operation of the entire IoT ecosystem.


This solution plays a vital role in keeping IoT devices connected to the networks they use, facilitating the exchange of information. With IoT Roaming, devices can transmit and receive data using Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) such as Long-Term Evolution for Machines (LTE-M) and Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT). These LPWAN technologies offer wider coverage, longer battery life, and more cost-effective options for IoT devices than traditional cellular networks.


How IoT Roaming Works?

IoT Roaming works similarly to mobile phone roaming, but it is intended for IoT devices. It functions through pre-defined partnerships and roaming agreements among Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) worldwide. This arrangement enables IoT devices to connect to foreign networks when they move beyond the coverage area of their home network.


The Multi-International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) SIM card is a crucial component of IoT Roaming. It allows users to access multiple networks in different geographic locations. Unlike traditional SIM cards, multi-IMSI SIM cards host several IMSIs, each corresponding to a specific mobile network operator's data plan and network connection. This feature allows devices to switch between networks effortlessly without requiring manual reconfiguration.


Benefits of IoT Roaming

  • Streamlined Global Deployment: IoT Roaming significantly enhances and simplifies the deployment of IoT devices across international borders. By providing automatic connections to the nearest available network, organizations can reduce the complexities associated with worldwide IoT implementation and management.
  • Extensive Global Coverage: IoT Roaming allows devices to maintain communication and data transfer capabilities, regardless of geographical location. This worldwide coverage ensures that devices and applications can function without connectivity gaps, enhancing the effectiveness of their operation.
  • Cost and Complexity Reduction: Utilizing a single SIM card for multiple network connections can significantly consolidate costs, especially regarding data plans. IoT Roaming also removes the need for manual network configuration, promoting ease of use and streamlined deployment.
  • Enhanced Reliability and Redundancy: IoT devices connected through IoT Roaming have better reliability and redundancy. They use multi-IMSI SIM cards to provide backup connectivity options. These options are used when a network is not available or when the device is outside its home network coverage.


Mitigating Roaming Issues in IoT Devices Using eSIM Technology

eSIM technology is revolutionizing how the Internet of Things (IoT) devices connect globally. Embedded SIM (eSIM) cards provide a pivotal advancement for IoT devices, combating the traditional challenges of roaming. The technology is designed to avoid the complications and costs associated with physical SIM cards and international roaming agreements.

  • Over-the-Air (OTA) Provisioning: With eSIM, IoT devices can be configured and re-configured remotely, which means they can switch between different network carriers without needing a physical change of SIM. This is particularly beneficial for IoT devices that are mobile or deployed in multiple countries.
  • Unified Hardware Sku: eSIM allows the use of a single SKU for devices worldwide. This uniformity simplifies logistics and reduces the costs associated with managing multiple SKUs for different regions.
  • Long-Term Connectivity Solutions: A distinct advantage of eSIM technology is its capacity to enable devices to stay connected over their entire lifecycle. For organizations, this means less concern about device obsolescence because network carrier changes, ensuring longevity and stability in connectivity.

eSIM technology solves roaming problems, cuts costs, and improves efficiency for IoT deployments worldwide by overcoming technical and operational challenges.


Challenges of IoT Roaming

IoT Roaming can introduce latency concerns, primarily because of the need to backhaul data to the home network. Organizations must consider this potential increase in latency when planning global IoT deployments, especially for latency-sensitive applications. Additionally, the data transmission fees incurred in IoT Roaming, or roaming charges, can be challenging to predict and potentially more expensive compared to localized IoT deployments.

In addressing the question 'What are some key considerations and factors impacting cellular IoT deployment related to roaming restrictions?' it is crucial to highlight several integral aspects. First and foremost, permanent roaming restrictions present a significant challenge. Regulatory complexity in some countries may prohibit permanent roaming. This necessitates the use of alternative connectivity solutions to ensure consistent IoT device deployments.

When delving deeper into this issue, it becomes evident that IoT devices face certain constraints when operating beyond their home network's coverage. They are typically governed by a roaming time limit.

This limit is usually set between 30 and 90 days. This time constraint is markedly restrictive for IoT applications. Many devices are intended to function seamlessly across borders for extended periods, often up to a decade. Once this allowable time elapses, devices face disconnection and potential network exclusion, critically disrupting their operational continuity.

The strategy initially employed to mitigate these constraints was the introduction of permanent roaming solutions. These were developed to allow IoT devices to roam indefinitely outside of their native networks.

However, this solution is encountering increasing obstacles. Some global carriers do not uniformly accept permanent roaming, and sudden policy changes can threaten the connectivity of devices that depend on this model. Additionally, some nations have started blocking permanent roaming to protect their local networks. This measure helps prevent potential security threats and congestion caused by high volumes of roaming devices.

Moreover, the increased costs of roaming cannot be ignored. Roaming outside of predetermined data allowances can lead to exorbitant charges, necessitating meticulous monitoring and management of device data usage.

Furthermore, the technical support for low power wide area (LPWA) networks is often lacking in roaming scenarios. These networks are emerging as viable alternatives to traditional cellular networks like LTE and 5G. These networks are particularly designed for IoT applications because of their low power consumption and extended coverage capabilities.

In conclusion, permanent roaming once seemed like a viable long-term solution. However, the evolving regulatory, technical, and economic landscape now shows a need for more robust and adaptable connectivity strategies. These strategies are essential for IoT deployments across the globe.


Optimizing IoT Roaming Management

Cost Control

Roaming costs can add up, especially for data-intensive IoT applications. Choose plans that align with your usage patterns to prevent unexpected expenses.

Network Compatibility

Ensure IoT devices are compatible with different network technologies and frequencies used across the host region. This is essential to maintaining connectivity, minimizing disruptions, and optimizing device performance.

Providing Local Support

Swift and effective customer support is crucial to the successful management of an IoT Roaming deployment. Local support teams can quickly address problems, reducing device downtime and helping to fix outages or connectivity issues efficiently.

Data Security

Protecting sensitive information during IoT Roaming is critical to maintaining data integrity and organizational security. Using strong encryption, trustworthy authentication, and adapting security to local rules are vital for a solid IoT Roaming data security plan.


IoT Roaming in the North American Landscape 

North America, encompassing the United States, Canada, and Mexico, offers a unique playground for IoT innovation. IoT Roaming in North America ensures that your devices can maintain connectivity, no matter where they roam within this region. Here's what makes it remarkable:

  1. Multi-National Coverage: IoT Roaming in North America extends across borders. Devices can stay connected and provide important information no matter where they are. This includes locations such as Texas, Toronto, or Mexico City.
  2. Extensive Carrier Network: North America boasts a plethora of network operators, each with its strengths. This diversity ensures IoT devices can tap into the best available network at any given location, optimizing connectivity and reliability.
  3. Seamless Transition: As IoT devices move between countries or regions, they smoothly switch between networks, providing uninterrupted service. No more worrying about coverage gaps or service disruptions.
  4. 5G Integration: North America is at the forefront of 5G technology adoption. IoT Roaming here means access to high-speed, low-latency networks, unleashing the full potential of IoT applications.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: North American countries have well-defined regulations governing IoT communications. Providers ensure compliance, so your data transmission meets all legal requirements.


IoT Roaming with POND

Our SMART IoT SIM cards support 5G technology and provide seamless connectivity not only in the US. They give access to 800+ partner networks across the globe. Auto-switching capabilities allow our IoT SIM to switch between these networks automatically or manually for optimal performance.

By using our SMART SIMs, IoT deployments benefit from enhanced data privacy, authentication mechanisms, and secure network connections, mitigating potential security risks and ensuring the integrity of transmitted information.

In addition, our multi-language live support is available 24/7 through email, chat, and phone, and can promptly settle any roaming issues.

Contact us to learn more.