How to Determine Which Types of IoT Modules You Need

Table of Contents
How to choose the right IoT types of modules for a specific need.

Picture a world where every device, from your smart home to your car, is seamlessly connected, exchanging information to enhance your daily life. This is the essence of the Internet of Things, a realm where industries thrive, efficiency soars, and innovation knows no bounds. At the heart of this digital revolution, we find smart modules that play a crucial role in facilitating the connectivity and functionality of IoT devices. They serve as the invisible threads connecting the fabric of IoT, empowering industries to optimize processes, improve decision-making, and redefine the way we live and work. In this article, we delve into IoT modules, their definition, and the various types available. Additionally, we explore their use cases, and key considerations for types of IoT modules selection, and discuss the advancements in IoT modules.

Whats an IoT Module?

An IoT module is a compact electronic component that integrates the necessary hardware, firmware, and software functionalities to enable wireless connectivity and communication in IoT devices. It incorporates technologies such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, or cellular (LTE, 5G) to transmit and receive data over networks. Overall, IoT modules provide the connectivity backbone for IoT devices, enabling seamless data exchange and transformative applications.

8 Types of Modules with Different Wireless Technology

The realm of IoT is rapidly progressing, with technology advancing swiftly across the globe. The key to achieving success in your project lies in grasping the core principles of various wireless communication technologies.

Wi-Fi module

A WiFi module, also referred to as a WLAN module, is an electronic component utilized in numerous products for establishing a wireless internet connection. The IEEE802.11 standard was used to design this wireless LAN technology. This technology transforms wired network signals into radio wave signals, enabling other devices to connect to the internet wirelessly via WiFi through the use of wireless communication modules.

Bluetooth module

A Bluetooth module is a fundamental circuit set containing a chip that incorporates Bluetooth functionality. It serves as a short-range 2.4G wireless communication module. The Bluetooth module is viewed as a partially finished product by the end user. By redeveloping and encapsulating the function of the shell based on the module, the product that can use Bluetooth communication is finally realized.

Zigbee module

A Zigbee module is a hardware component designed to facilitate wireless communication between devices utilizing the Zigbee protocol. Zigbee is a low-power wireless protocol specifically developed for IoT applications. It employs a mesh network topology, enabling devices to communicate directly with each other or via intermediary nodes known as routers or coordinators.

LoRa module

A LoRa module is a device designed to offer wireless connectivity using the LoRaWAN protocol. It serves as a crucial element in creating a successful LoRa IoT solution. The widespread adoption of LoRa technology in diverse industries is fueling the increasing demand for LoRa modules.

NB-IoT module

An NB-IoT module is a wireless communication module designed specifically for IoT applications. It utilizes an LPWAN technology standardized by the 3rd 3GPP and integrates hardware, firmware, and software components to connect IoT devices to the cellular network and transmit data.

Sigfox module

The Sigfox module enables devices to connect to the Sigfox network and transmit data. It provides remote, low-power communication capabilities that allow IoT devices to send small bursts of data over long distances while consuming minimal energy.

Z-Wave module

The Z-Wave module is a wireless communication module specially designed for smart homes. It leverages the Z-Wave wireless protocol, which operates on the sub-GHz band, to enable seamless communication between smart devices within a home network.

Cellular modules encompass a range of technologies, including GSM/GPRS, 5G, and 4G modules. These modules are designed to enable wireless connectivity using cellular networks.

4G module

4G modules, also known as LTE modules, provide high-speed cellular connectivity for IoT applications. They offer reliable and stable data transmission, making them suitable for a wide range of IoT use cases, including fleet management, healthcare monitoring, and smart metering.

5G module

5G modules are the next generation of cellular modules, designed specifically for 5G networks. 5G technology offers ultra-fast data speeds, low latency, and massive device connectivity, enabling advanced IoT applications that require real-time communication and high-bandwidth capabilities.

GSM/GPRS module

GSM modules utilize cellular networks to offer worldwide connectivity for IoT devices. They enable voice and data transmission over cellular networks, making them suitable for applications where mobility and broad network coverage are essential.

A Detailed Comparison Table of Types of IoT Modules

Wi-Fi module Local area High Moderate Low Internet-connected devices,
smart home automation
Bluetooth module Short-range Moderate Low Low Personal devices,
smart home devices
Zigbee module Short-range Low Low Low Smart home automation,
industrial control systems
LoRa module Long-range Low Low Moderate Smart cities,
asset tracking
NB-IoT module Wide-area Low Low High Smart metering,
remote monitoring
Sigfox module Long-range Low Low High Asset tracking,
environmental monitoring
Z-Wave module Short-range Moderate Low High Smart home automation
4G module Wide-area High Moderate to high Moderate Video surveillance,
industrial automation
5G module Wide-area Very high Moderate to high High Augmented reality,
autonomous vehicles,
smart cities
GSM module Global Moderate to high Moderate High Tracking devices,
remote monitoring systems

Compare short-range IoT modules: Bluetooth vs Wi-Fi  vs Zigbee vs Z-Wave

Range of IoT Modules

Wi-Fi modules have the longest range, offering a range of several hundred feet to several hundred meters, covering a greater distance than ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth modules. ZigBee and Z-Wave are designed for home automation and have a range of up to 30 meters, whereas Bluetooth has a range of up to 10 meters, but newer versions like Bluetooth 5.0 can offer extended ranges of up to 100 meters.

Data Transfer Rate of IoT Modules

The Bluetooth 5.0 transport protocol is still ahead of WiFi modules in areas such as smart homes and wearable devices, but WiFi modules also have very fast wireless transmission speeds and wide coverage. The Wi-Fi module has a top speed of several gigabits per second, which makes it ideal for big data transfers. ZigBee and Z-Wave are designed for low-data applications and they have lower data transfer rates compared to Wi-Fi.

Power Consumption of IoT Modules

Both ZigBee and Z-Wave are designed to prioritize low power consumption, making them well-suited for battery-powered devices like smart sensors and smart thermostats. The Bluetooth module also has a low-power mode, but it consumes more power in its high data transfer mode. Wi-Fi modules require more power than these technologies due to their higher data transfer rates.

Cost of IoT Modules

Among these four modules, Bluetooth modules are the most affordable, while Z-Wave modules are the most expensive. Wi-Fi and Zigbee modules fall in between, with Wi-Fi being slightly cheaper than Zigbee modules.

Application of IoT Modules

Bluetooth is commonly employed for short-range communication purposes, facilitating wireless connectivity between devices like smartphones and tablets. Wi-Fi is utilized to transmit data at high speeds and is commonly employed in residential and office settings for networking purposes and IoT applications. ZigBee and Z-Wave, on the other hand, are specifically developed for home automation, finding applications in devices like lighting control, and wireless sensor networks.

Compare Long-range IoT Modules: LoRa vs Sigfox vs NB-IoT vs 4G vs 5G vs GSM

Range of IoT Modules 

In general, Sigfox modules are designed to provide global coverage by working with local operators and deploying their network infrastructure. LoRa modules generally have a range of 5-15 km. Depending on the network infrastructure, 4G modules offer a range ranging from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers. The connection range between 5G modules and NB-IoT modules is relatively short, usually from a few hundred meters to a few kilometers.

Data Transfer Rate of IoT Modules

5G module supports very high data rates (up to several Gbps), making it ideal for mission-critical IoT applications and those requiring real-time data processing. LoRa module supports data rates up to 50 kbps and is suitable for applications with low to moderate data transmission requirements. NB-IoT modules also support low to moderate data rates, typically ranging from tens of Kbps to a few hundred Kbps. Sigfox has lower data rates (up to 100 bps) and is best suited for applications that require minimal data transmission. The 4G module offers higher data rates compared to LoRa, NB-IoT, and Sigfox. They can support anything from a few Mbps to tens of Mbps.

Power Consumption of IoT Modules

The 5G module is the most power-hungry compared to the other four, mainly because of the higher data rates and advanced technology involved. The 4G module typically consumes more power than the remaining three modules due to higher data rates and more complex network protocols. LoRa, NB-IoT, and Sigfox are specifically engineered for low-power operation, making them highly suitable for battery-powered devices that require to last several years.

Cost of IoT Modules

LoRa modules are generally less costly than 4G and 5G modules because of their lower complexity and focus on remote communications with low data rates. The cost of Sigfox and NB-IoT modules can vary, but they tend to be relatively affordable due to their focus on simplicity and low power requirements. 4G modules typically involve more advanced technology and infrastructure, which can lead to higher costs compared to LoRa and Sigfox modules. The 5G module represents the latest generation of cellular network technology, offering superfast speeds, low latency, and a large number of device connections, resulting in it being more expensive to manufacture than other options.

Application of IoT Modules

LoRa modules are highly suitable for scenarios that require long-range communication and low power consumption, making them ideal for applications like smart city solutions. Sigfox modules, on the other hand, are well-suited for applications that prioritize low data rates, extended battery life, and worldwide network coverage, making them a popular choice for applications like environmental monitoring. The NB-IoT module allows for remote connectivity, making it well-suited for applications like remote monitoring that require efficient and sustainable communication. 4G modules are extensively utilized for high-speed internet connections, mobile communications, and applications that involve the transfer of large amounts of data. 5G modules are mainly aimed at applications that require ultra-fast speed, low latency, and large-scale device connectivity, such as autonomous vehicles. GSM modules enable communication over the GSM network, they are widely used in telematics and security systems.

Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi vs. LoraWAN vs. ZigBee vs. GSM vs. NB-IoT vs. Z-Wave vs. Sigfox vs. 5G vs. 4G: Which IoT module is better

Determining the “better” IoT module depends on the specific requirements of your IoT application. Each module has its own advantages and characteristics that make them suitable for different use cases. Below we list some of the advantages of types of IoT modules:

Bluetooth Modules

  • Low power consumption
  • Simple pairing and connectivity

WiFi Modules

  • High data transfer rates
  • Compatibility with existing infrastructure 

LoraWAN Modules

  • Low power consumption for extended battery life
  • Excellent penetration through obstacles

ZigBee Modules

  • Mesh network support for extended coverage
  • Scalability for large networks

GSM Modules

  • Global coverage in most regions
  • Established infrastructure for reliable communication

NB-IoT Modules

  • Support for massive IoT deployments
  • Cost-effective connectivity

Z-wave Modules

  • Low power consumption
  • Interoperability with a wide range of devices

Sigfox Modules

  • Low power consumption
  • Cost-effective connectivity
  • Optimized for simple and small data transmissions.

4g Modules

  • High-speed data transfer rates.
  • Wide network coverage

5g Modules

  • Ultra-fast data transfer rates.
  • Low latency for real-time applications

Consider the advantages of these modules as well as your specific needs to determine which IoT module is better for your application. It is also worth noting that hybrid solutions that combine multiple modules may be beneficial in some scenarios to exploit the advantages of different technologies.

Applications of Types of IoT Modules

From the current development situation, the typical applications of types of modules in the field of IoT are as follows:

Smart Home Automation: IoT modules are used to create smart homes where devices such as lights, thermostats, security systems, and appliances can be controlled and automated remotely.

Industrial Automation: IoT modules enable the automation and monitoring of industrial processes, optimizing efficiency and reducing human intervention. They are used in areas such as manufacturing, supply chain management, and predictive maintenance.

Environmental Monitoring: IoT modules are employed to monitor environmental factors like air quality, temperature, humidity, and pollution levels. They help in tracking and analyzing data for better environmental management.

Healthcare and Wearables: IoT modules are used in healthcare applications like remote patient monitoring, wearable health trackers, and smart medical devices. They collect vital health data and enable real-time monitoring and analysis.

Smart Agriculture: IoT modules enable precision agriculture by monitoring soil moisture, weather conditions, crop health, and livestock. This data helps optimize irrigation, fertilization, and livestock management practices.

Smart Cities: IoT modules are utilized to build smart city infrastructures for efficient traffic management, waste management, parking systems, energy monitoring, and public safety.

Asset Tracking and Logistics: IoT modules are employed to track and manage assets and shipments in real-time, optimizing logistics operations, reducing losses, and improving supply chain visibility.

Energy Management: IoT modules help in monitoring and controlling energy consumption in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. They enable smart metering, demand response, and efficient energy usage.

Smart Retail: IoT modules facilitate inventory management, shelf monitoring, and personalized customer experiences in retail environments. They enhance the overall shopping experience and enable targeted marketing campaigns.

Fleet Management: IoT modules are used in vehicle tracking and fleet management systems to monitor vehicle location, performance, and maintenance needs. They improve operational efficiency and safety.

Types of modules find diverse applications across numerous industries and fields.

Advancements in IoT Module Technology Market

The system on the module market is expected to reach a value of US$ 1.15 billion in 2023 and is predicted to grow to US$ 4.65 billion by 2033. The market is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period.

In the past, IoT module technology has advanced in areas such as miniaturization, power efficiency, connectivity options, data processing and storage, and security. These advancements have made IoT modules smaller, more power-efficient, and capable of diverse wireless connectivity. Additionally, improvements in data processing and security features have enhanced the functionality and reliability of IoT solutions.

Looking ahead, IoT module technology is expected to continue evolving. Anticipated advancements include edge computing capabilities, leveraging 5G connectivity for faster and more reliable connections, integration of AI for on-device processing and decision-making, enhanced sensor capabilities for more precise data collection, blockchain integration for improved security and data integrity, and efforts towards standardization and interoperability. These future advances will drive the growth and adoption of IoT solutions, enabling innovative applications across industries and fostering a more connected and efficient IoT ecosystem.

Different Types of IoT Modules of MOKOSmart

Never forget that your IoT deployment also depends on the network services provided by your carrier, so choose a trusted provider. MOKOSmart is a company engaged in types of modules for more than seventeen years. It has been committed to developing the latest technology in line with scientific and social development, which is well received by many customers. The following are some popular types of modules of MOKOSmart with good sales:

Bluetooth Module: MOKOSmart is a pro manufacturer of BLE modules. Our module portfolio is designed to provide robust performance, easy global certification, and simple implementation. Bluetooth 5.2 not only extends the range of communication, enabling devices to communicate over longer distances but also integrates energy-saving features that allow devices to operate efficiently while minimizing energy consumption. The frequency range from 2360 MHz to 2500 MHz provides a relatively interference-free spectrum for Bluetooth communications. AES-128 ensures secure communication by encrypting data transmitted between devices. These characteristics make them highly suitable for a broad spectrum of applications, encompassing IoT devices, wearables, audio devices, smart home automation systems, healthcare devices, and numerous other domains.

LoRa Module: MOKOSmart is recognized as one of the leading manufacturers of LoRa modules, providing seamless integration across various major sectors of IoT. Our LoRa modules offer a range of features that make them highly desirable for IoT applications. With their small size and ease of development and integration, they provide flexibility and convenience. Additionally, LoRa modules boast a communication distance of up to 10km, making them suitable for long-range connectivity. They excel in power efficiency, consume minimal energy, and exhibit high receive sensitivity, enabling reliable data reception even in challenging environments. Moreover, LoRa modules provide high Tx power of up to 21dBm, ensuring robust signal transmission for extended coverage.


In a word, selecting a reliable IoT wireless module is vital for the success of IoT projects. MOKOSmart’s types of modules offer robust performance, seamless connectivity, and extensive compatibility, making us a trusted choice for diverse IoT applications. By understanding wireless technologies, assessing application requirements, and considering key factors, businesses can make well-informed decisions and ensure the seamless operation of their IoT deployments. The selection of a reliable IoT module paves the way for unlocking the full potential of the Internet of Things and drives innovation across industries.

Continue Reading About the IoT MODULES

Written by ——
Nick He
Nick He
Nick, a seasoned project manager in our R&D department, brings a wealth of experience to MOKOSMART, having previously served as a project engineer at BYD. His expertise in R&D brings a well-rounded skill to his IoT project management. With a solid background spanning 6 years in project management and get certifications like PMP and CSPM-2, Nick excels in coordinating efforts across sales, engineering, testing, and marketing teams. The IoT device projects he has participated in include Beacons, LoRa devices, gateways, and smart plugs.
Nick He
Nick He
Nick, a seasoned project manager in our R&D department, brings a wealth of experience to MOKOSMART, having previously served as a project engineer at BYD. His expertise in R&D brings a well-rounded skill to his IoT project management. With a solid background spanning 6 years in project management and get certifications like PMP and CSPM-2, Nick excels in coordinating efforts across sales, engineering, testing, and marketing teams. The IoT device projects he has participated in include Beacons, LoRa devices, gateways, and smart plugs.
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