Global Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) providers offer Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity as a service over widespread geographical areas. In this report, we’ll be assessing vendors who operate in the unlicensed spectrum, which is a set of frequency bands in the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) range, and do not require the vendors to apply for or purchase at auction licenses from national telecommunications regulators.

This ability to operate without a license lowers a significant entry barrier and enables startups to disrupt the wider IoT technology space with innovative approaches. Within the unlicensed LPWAN network providers space, we’ve identified four types of IoT connectivity providers:

  1. Network operators: This model resembles the one used by mobile network operators (3G/4G/5G), in which the operator deploys and manages the core infrastructure and the radio access networks (RANs). The operator is solely responsible for deploying new gateways to provide coverage in other areas. Typically, network operators offer IoT connectivity in a network-as-a-service model, for which the customer only needs to subscribe their devices to the network. In this report, we classify as network operators the following vendors: Everynet, Netmore, Sigfox, and Senet.
  2. Satellite-based connectivity: An increasing number of vendors are entering the market offering ubiquitous connectivity via satellites. Devices can communicate with satellites either directly or indirectly through lightweight and portable gateways. To connect to a satellite network, network providers can use protocols such as LoRa on Very High Frequency (VHF) to either connect directly to devices, or to transceiver gateways. The only satellite-based vendor featured in this report is Swarm Technologies. However, other vendors such as Lacuna Space and Echostar Mobile will launch commercial offerings in the near future.
  3. Open, community-based network: A central provider operates the core infrastructure, namely the network servers, while the gateways (which provide the coverage) are run by third parties, which can be either enterprises or consumers. The advantages of building IoT solutions on community-based networks are low costs (even free) and high flexibility. The Things Network is the only community-based network featured in this report.
  4. Decentralized, blockchain-based network: Central providers deploy and maintain the core infrastructure, while gateways are operated by independent third parties. Gateway operators are incentivized to run gateways by using them to mine cryptocurrencies and are rewarded based on the gateway’s health and proof of connectivity. Operating on a blockchain network creates tamper-resistant records of shared transactions, which allows enterprises to share and access IoT data without a central authority. We feature the following vendors in this category: Helium, MXC Foundation, and Nesten.

Throughout these four categories of LPWAN network providers, enterprises have many options available for their use cases. Each type of provider has advantages and disadvantages. For example, network operators follow a tried-and-tested model that can offer better carrier-grade SLAs. Satellite providers can provide connectivity in areas where other communications are not available, and decentralized networks have the highest scalability potential and can have lower subscription costs…

Chris is objective, strategically insightful, sharp and on top of his game. He’s a great collaborator who is willing to change his approach mid stream or whenever, to accommodate others. He’s a very dedicated professional with strong personal leadership qualities as well as being open and willing to inspire and empower others.

Duangthip Chomprang, Internet Society

Chris is an engineer and leader of the highest caliber as demonstrated by his ongoing volunteer responsibilities within the Internet technical community and his unwavering drive.

Connie Kendig, Internet Society

I have worked with Chris on several projects over the years. His leadership, cooperation, and execution skills are first class. Chris looks at the big picture, identifies necessary actions, builds a plan, and gets the project done

Richard Jimmerson, ARIN

Chris has the talent to completely embrace and encompass a technology and from that drive results. It is obvious that Chris enjoys sharing his knowledge base and ideas with others. It was a pleasure working with Chris.

John McQueen, Broadcom

Working with Chris has been a real pleasure. He is open, friendly, intelligent, discreet, skilled, productive, driven, resourceful and trustworthy! Our organisation has really benefitted from Chris’s skills and knowledge.

Howard Baggott, Internet Society

Ben Book, GigaOm

Enrico Signoretti, Juku consulting

One thing everyone should know about Chris, he always provides nothing less then quality customer service and technical support. His professionalism and skill far exceeds all expectations because he always goes the extra mile.

David Corbett, tw telecom

Through the several tasks that we spent together in a professional environment, I have seen Chris accomplish things that many would consider impossible – both as a professional and technically – and neither has been a disappointment. Chris is a calculated risk-taker. He has an uncanny way of determining what the target market needs and has the capability of tweaking his designs and implementations accordingly. As a pragmatic leader and a realist, he can grasp ideas in a holistic manner and still pay attention to minor details. Chris has a well-deserved reputation as someone who is diligent and personable – two qualities that define him completely. As someone who is a creative thinker and possesses a can-do attitude, Chris is a pleasure to work with.

Kyle Smith, Markley

Chris Grundemann was among the most energetic and competent members of our Council throughout his time as an elected member. I found(find) Chris a most thoughtful man who brought insight and experience to the role, but was also always a genuine and professional member exerting leadership with tact and good humor. I think highly of Chris both as a technical professional and community leader, but also as a trusted friend.

Bill Darte, ARIN Advisory Council

His intelligence and wit are only outshone by his friendly and helpful nature. Working with Chris is always a pleasure and a smashing success.

Susan Forsman, tw telecom

Chris consistently generates and delivers on new and creative ideas both within the guided bounds of a project or team goal as well as when left unbounded and allowed to explore. In addition Chris is a great team player willing to help whenever asked. Chris is also a competent and organized leader with great communication skills capable of managing projects from inception to completion.

Joey Padden, CableLabs

Together we conquered many challenges, won impossible battles in the vendor industry and created a unique security practice. He has an interesting set of talents of being an engineer, innovator, and a thought leader, but never mixes any of these roles. That is what makes him successful as a leader. “Never be comfortable” is what Chris would tell me, which is what pushed me to do my first tech talk. I now have dozens behind me within some of the largest conferences known in the security vendor industry. Chris is nothing short of supernatural.

Leo Cruz, Myriad360

I enjoy working with him on a professional and personal level.

Diane Turley, tw telecom

Chris is extremely knowledgeable and, more importantly, readily shares that knowledge with his peers to promote better overall understanding and improvement.

Dan Zumar, Virtela Technology Services Incorporated

Chris was an excellent coach, mentor and problem solver. Chris consistently possesses a “can do” attitude while taking on more and more responsibility and taking the time to fully understand, upskill and learn as required for success. Chris is very organized and patient. He is proactive in identifying and addressing risks and issues that could erstwhile derail hard-earned successes. Chris’ list of talents and intangibles is long, but never a surprise once you get the opportunity to work with him.

Scott Perricone, Myriad360

In a wireless organization the network your products operate on needs to be reliable, dependable and operating at top efficiency. Chris made sure that was a reality. Chris was a leader in the day to day operation of our network, on initiating improvement designs for the future and helping out the other departments to close performance gaps. There was never a problem to hard to solve, a solution he was not willing to seek out or a cutting edge idea he hadn’t already researched.

Wayne Gibson, WavMax

Chris was always on top of current technology and how this technology would fit into his current network environment. Chris was a pleasure to work with and will be an asset to any organization lucky enough to hire him.

Steve Braden, Streakwave Wireless

Chris is one of the most professional individuals I have ever worked with. His dedication to the success of our organization was paramount. I always relied on him to engage in intricate troubles knowing they would receive appropriate attention and follow through. Chris is an immediate asset to any organization and is most certainly.

Jim Meslovich, CenturyLink Business for Enterprise

He would always be available as a sounding board for complex issues and provided me with amazing insight on long term planning and ways to scale up teams and business processes.

Alex Tief, Myriad360

Chris is highly technical and has excellent organizational and follow up skills. I assigned Chris several initiatives while assigned to my team and his performance was exceptional. He is self motivated and has extensive technical knowledge.

Ray Whinery, Time Warner Telecom

Chris is a talented technologist with a keen eye for marketing. This combination of skills has been a powerful asset in his role. Over the course of the 4 years that I worked with Chris, he presented at numerous events & conferences, and was a thought leadership partner. He was pivotal in honing Myriad360’s mission and developing a cohesive strategy for the company. Chris earns my highest recommendation.

Kirsten Gonzalez, Myriad360

Chris is a superior problem-solver with great people skills and ability to ask the really hard questions. A team player who is engaged and approachable, I expect Chris will have significant impact in the tech industry.

Deb Gerring, CableLabs

Catina Ross, GigaOm

Chris is a consummate professional. Motivated, expressive, talented in everything he attempts. His skills in making things happen for the better are top notch.

Mark Woodworth, CableLabs

Chris is an excellent worker with a driving pulse for new technology and leading the industry. His work ethic is second-to-none and his teaming with others always ensures fantastic collaboration with positive outcomes. I am confident that Chris will continue to drive new technology evolution in our industry.

Mike McNamara, tw telecom

Chris is a focused individual, willing to go the extra mile to help customers, and do the job correctly. He is a great teacher, and a smart man.

Tyson Schaetzle, Tikkom Wire

Chris is a really hard working person. Very smart technically & could handle issues very promptly. Was very nice working w