Where Things Roam: Uncovering Cellular IoT/M2M Connectivity

Andra Lutu, Byungjin Jun, Alessandro Finamore, Fabián E. Bustamante, Diego Perino

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Support for "things"roaming internationally has become critical for Internet of Things (IoT) verticals, from connected cars to smart meters and wearables, and explains the commercial success of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) platforms. We analyze IoT verticals operating with connectivity via IoT SIMs, and present the first large-scale study of commercially deployed IoT SIMs for energy meters. We also present the first characterization of an operational M2M platform and the first analysis of the rather opaque associated ecosystem. For operators, the exponential growth of IoT has meant increased stress on the infrastructure shared with traditional roaming traffic. Our analysis quantifies the adoption of roaming by M2M platforms and the impact they have on the underlying visited Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). To manage the impact of massive deployments of device operating with an IoT SIM, operators must be able to distinguish between the latter and traditional inbound roamers. We build a comprehensive dataset capturing the device population of a large European MNO over three weeks. With this, we propose and validate a classification approach that can allow operators to distinguish inbound roaming IoT devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIMC 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Internet Measurement Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781450381383
StatePublished - Oct 27 2020
Event20th ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Oct 27 2020Oct 29 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC


Conference20th ACM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • Cellular M2M services
  • IoT Roaming
  • Traffic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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