What 2G/3G cellular shutdowns mean for your IoT connectivity and IoT device

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The rapid advancement of technology and communication networks has brought about the impending 2G/3G network shutdown. As 2G/3G networks are being phased out globally, it has become imperative for companies to reassess their IoT connectivity strategies and make the necessary upgrades. With the transition from 2G/3G to more advanced 4G and 5G networks, companies, particularly those with global operations, are facing the challenge of replacing their legacy gateway devices.

The timeline for the 2G/3G shutdown varies by region, with some regions such as Europe and Asia already making the switch to 4G and 5G networks. This transition presents both difficulties and opportunities for companies, who must find the best solution that suits their specific needs and requirements. 

What alternatives do you have with a gateway device? 

The looming shutdown of 2G and 3G networks means that it’s time to upgrade old IoT gateway devices to those with 4G or 5G modems. This can be achieved by purchasing off-the-shelf gateways or developing custom-made ones. Either way, it’s important to take action to ensure continued connectivity and avoid being left behind in the rapidly evolving world of IoT.  

Off-the-shelf gateway 

One option for companies is to purchase ready-made IoT gateway devices from various manufacturers. While the advantages of off-the-shelf devices include quick availability, lower upfront cost, and reduced time-to-market, there are also other factors to consider. These devices may lack customization and may not provide the necessary level of security or technical support required for a company’s specific application or industry.

Additionally, off-the-shelf devices may not integrate seamlessly with a company’s existing systems, networks, and devices, leading to poor performance and inefficiencies. Upgrading software and supporting new technologies may also be difficult, as off-the-shelf devices may not be designed with scalability in mind. 

Another factor to consider when choosing an off-the-shelf IoT gateway device is regulatory approvals. These devices are typically designed to meet the regulatory requirements of specific regions or countries, and may not be suitable for use in other areas. This can limit a company’s ability to expand its operations globally, as it may need to obtain additional certifications or approvals before deploying the device in new locations. Furthermore, some gateway providers may be unwilling or unable to make the necessary changes to their devices to comply with new regulatory requirements, which could further limit a company’s options.

Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider the regulatory implications of using an off-the-shelf IoT gateway device before making a purchase.  

Custom-engineered IoT gateway 

Companies can choose to develop their own custom-engineered IoT gateway devices as an alternative to purchasing ready-made, off-the-shelf devices. By doing so, they can create a tailored device that meets their specific needs, offering a higher level of functionality, performance, and customization.  

computer screen with IoT product 3D design
With custom-engineering, the gateway device will meet your specific needs, offering and have a high-level of functionality and performance.

There are multiple reasons why a company might choose to design their own industrial-grade IoT gateway instead of opting for a third-party device, including tailored features such as customized interfaces, software, and protocols that can provide a competitive advantage.  

A company can also engineer a device with scalability, integration with existing systems, and interoperability in mind, ensuring that the device can connect seamlessly with other devices and systems, regardless of their vendor or protocol.  

A custom-engineered device can be designed with a company’s branding and image in mind, as well as being compliant with industry and regulatory standards.  

Additionally, by engineering their own device, companies have control over their intellectual property, can incorporate edge computing capabilities, and ensure the device has the necessary connectivity for different types of networks and devices, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, cellular, serial, and USB.  

Furthermore, a custom-engineered device can offer a high level of cybersecurity protection and be supported by the company’s own technical support team, providing more efficient and effective troubleshooting and maintenance services. 

If you want to learn more, have a chat with Jarno Leskelä from Haltian.

Device management system 

Another aspect to consider when replacing 2G/3G gateway devices is the device management system and the firmware over the air (FOTA) requirements. A device management system allows for remote management and monitoring of the gateway devices, which can be useful for troubleshooting and maintenance. The system should be secure and scalable, able to handle a large number of devices and support over-the-air software updates to ensure that the devices are always up to date with the latest security patches and software features. 

FOTA, on the other hand, enables software updates to be delivered to the devices over the air, without the need for physical access to the device. This allows for more efficient and cost-effective updates, as well as reducing the risk of device downtime during updates. It is important to consider the FOTA requirements when choosing a replacement gateway device, as this can have a significant impact on the overall maintenance and operational costs of the devices. 

Mesh network 

Local mesh networks can bring new opportunities and value for companies when replacing 2G and 3G gateway devices. While there is still a need for a gateway device for cellular connection, mesh networks offer the possibility of data harvesting around the gateway. This data can provide valuable insights and opportunities for analysis, allowing companies to make informed decisions and improve their operations. Overall, the emergence of local mesh networks provides an exciting new technology for companies seeking to replace their outdated 2G and 3G gateway devices. 


In conclusion, the 2G/3G sunset presents both challenges and opportunities for companies. Choosing the right replacement gateway device is crucial, as it can impact the overall performance and efficiency of the IoT network. When evaluating options, companies should consider factors such as connectivity, durability and reliability, security, remote management, and FOTA requirements, among others. With careful planning and consideration of these factors, companies can ensure a smooth transition and continue to reap the benefits of IoT technology for their operations. 

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