Dec, 1 2016

Machine-to-Machine SIM Explained

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What is a Machine-to-Machine SIM?

Machine-to-Machine SIM (or M2M SIM) refers to technologies that enable devices and sensors or “things” (within the IoT) to communicate with one other, along with other Internet-enabled devices and systems.  

Even though M2M refers to ‘non-human’ communication, devices should still have an interchangeable protocol that is used for receiving and sending data. Connectivity is achieved by either inserting or embedding a Machine-to-Machine SIM in the device that is later configured with the home server, where usage data can be collected and analyzed to the company's benefit. 


SIM qualities depend on their operating environment

Classic SIMs versus M2M SIMs

Classic consumer SIMs, commonly seen at wireless shops are marketed for cell phones, smartphones, and other handheld devices, differ from M2M SIMs that come in more durable flavors. Although classic SIMs will work in M2M or IoT devices, they are designed for normal, everyday use and may not hold up in harsher operating environments.

Both classic consumer and M2M SIMs (including industrial M2M SIMs which we'll discuss) come in several form factors, including 2FF, 3FF, and 4FF, as well as MFF2 (also known as embedded SIMs). Automotive M2M SIMs come only in the MFF2 “embedded” form factor.

Industrial and Automotive M2M SIMs

M2M SIMs are available in several variants for use across various industries. They typically have greater storage capacity and longer lifetimes (with higher read-write cycles of up to 8 million and data retention up to 17 years) than classic SIMs. In addition, M2M SIMs are made of materials that enable them to operate in harsh environments with extreme temperatures and vibrations, such as desert or arctic climates. The typical operating temperature range of M2M SIMs is -25°C to 85°C, while more durable variants designed for industrial and automotive use can withstand temperatures ranging from -40°C to 105°C.

Such durable SIMs can be used for automotive vehicles, remote sensors and other devices that need to remain operational and long-lasting in harsh environments. Use cases that require SIM durability beyond that of standard M2M SIMs may have operational needs such as:

  • Extended temperature range from -40°C to 105°C (extreme heat or cold scenarios)
  • High resistance against corrosion, vibration, and shock thanks to embedded SIMs
  • Longer life expectancy and data retention (10+ years)   

The ability to survive in harsh environmental conditions, maintain data for a longer period of time and extended life expectancy makes industrial and automotive M2M SIMs a perfect match for their respective IoT use cases. On top of that, the longer lifespan compared to standard SIMs means you can save on cost of replacement over the long term.

You can find a more detailed explanation on SIM form factors and which SIM works best for your business needs in this blog post.


What is a SIM application toolkit?

Developed as a way for running applications on the SIM, the SIM application toolkit (STK) consists of a set of commands that are programmed into the SIM. This defines how the SIM interacts with the outside world and initiates commands independently of the device and the network operator. It enables the control of device’s interface and creates an interaction between the network application and end user.

Why is STK important?

An M2M SIM is only as useful as the STK that it is programmed with. EMnify SIM has a specially installed applet that enables you to enjoy the best selection of available mobile networks at the most economic rates through the SIM’s lifespan. EMnify’s STK will constantly update the SIM over-the-air to assign the best mobile network operator.


Different form factors

M2M SIMs come in all form factors and can be provisioned and managed in real-time over-the-air. You have the ability to choose from different SIM form factors that have the right features specifically designed for your use case. SIMs come in three standard sizes or forms: from 2FF through to 4FF with an embedded SIM option – the MFF2. The type and size you select depend on the size and location of your device. In order to ensure you are making the best decisions for your business, it's important to be informed about all the options available to you.


machine-to-machine SIM


 machine-to-machine SIM


Benefits of the EMnify SIM

  • Flexibility after deployment – provision SIMs and switch between different mobile network operators 
  • Reliable connectivity for IoT & M2M – utilize data, SMS, and USSD.
  • Simple pricing – competitively priced SIMs with straight-forward costs only for the services you use
  • Control and visibility of SIMs at all times – available through the connectivity management platform
  • Instant scalability – order SIMs on-demand, or change your coverage anytime

To help you identify the benefits and differences of each SIM option request a consultation from one of our specialists at EMnify.


Questions? Don't hesitate to contact us.

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