When your Mobile Network Operator (MNO) upgrades the network, a new security patch becomes available, or you want to introduce a new feature, how will you update your IoT devices in the field? You could send out a technician to update or replace every device, or you could enable your IoT deployment with Firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updates.
FOTA is a mobile software-management technology that lets you wirelessly upgrade the operating firmware of a mobile device. You’ve probably used FOTA yourself, if you have a smartphone or tablet, because that’s often the format used to deliver periodic updates, via cellular or Wi-Fi, to keep the phone’s operating system current.
FOTA updates also help maintain the health of your IoT deployment by enhancing functionality, letting devices stay in the field longer and making it easier to introduce new features. In the IoT, FOTA updates are used to refresh devices once they’re in the field and can be used to respond to changes in the infrastructure, add the latest security protocols and reduce time-to-market for new deployments and added features.
MNOs have a way of changing things, and that means infrastructure upgrades have become a fact of life. Whether it’s moving from 2G to 3G or transitioning from 4G to 5G and beyond, FOTA updates let your devices change along with the infrastructure. They save you from sending technicians into the field, and can be timed to coincide with the MNO’s implementation. FOTA updates make it easier to accommodate other changes, too. For example, the arrival of embedded UICCs, as a replacement for SIMs, may require firmware upgrades to meet new standards for network certification, and these upgrades can be made using FOTA.
Security is an ongoing issue with any mobile device. Many of the same threats that target smartphones, tablets and other connected device put IoT deployments at risk too. New threats can appear at any time – tomorrow or years from now – so it’s important to be prepared and ready to react. FOTA updates make it easier to maintain a robust deployment and ensure transmissions are protected and safe. Whenever new threats appear, FOTA updates let you take immediate action.
FOTA updates can make new deployments more flexible. You can install an IoT device whenever it’s convenient and then update it with a firmware patch once it’s ready to be put in service. This two-step approach can, depending on the application and development cycle, save weeks or even months when delivering new products with services. Also, using FOTA updates means you don’t have to wait for everything to be perfect before you deploy. Rollouts can be done in phases, with devices taking on additional functionality in stages. You can deliver the tested, ready-to-deploy services now, and deliver the rest once you’ve worked out the bugs.
AirVantage FOTA Edition offers unlimited FOTA updates for select modules making it fast, secure, and easy to respond to software updates in the field. Check out our whitepaper, FOTA Updates Add Interoperability, Security and Versatility, to learn more.
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