Knowing the industry complexity, at Solidstudio, we thought it would be a good idea to launch a series of blog entries on e-mobility fundamentals. The articles are to shed light on some of the topics that may not necessarily be clear to everyone.
This time, we’ll aim to unfold the differences between peer-to-peer connection and eRoaming via hub. The cases are certainly known to e-Mobility Service Providers and Charge Point Operators, yet even for them might pose some sort of a hurdle.
However, clear or not, such connection and its vise choosing remains crucial for all operational matters and defines the future way of working and conducting a business.
What is a peer-to-peer connection?
A peer-to-peer (abbreviated P2P) computer network is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or work loads between peers (here: partners).
A peer-to-peer network is a form of service where users can interact directly with each other and share data peer-to-peer instead of getting the data from a centralized server like in client–server architecture. In such scenario, two partners, connected via a peer-to-peer network, transfer data between them without running it through a ‘core system’. This means that they have to rely on each other to transfer the data.
It allows the partners to define the settlement's matters without third party impositions, which may speed up the data exchange process.
What is eRoaming via hub?
On the other hand, eRoaming uses a centralized system in order to connect multiple partners. With such a solution, the user agrees to a certain type of service offer and then authenticates himself to the central server (hub). The hub also charges a fee for the connection.
In this scenario, all the partners operate in a unified, mutually-agreed manner, which allows for a negotiation-free, seamless charging experience. It also opens the way for EMPs and CPOs to a bigger audience.
With eRoaming, the secret lies in the unification and interoperability, as all partners must agree on common terms. With the centralized system it is also more likely that the data exchange may take slightly longer, than when just two partners communicate with each other.
Now let's analyze eRoaming through a scenario: a user is connected to a company's central server, trying to download a file from another peer in the hub. The central server will send this peer the IP of a corporation and they will connect to each other.
Peer-to-peer vs eRoaming - the comparison
Before we get into details, let’s first compare the two in a very simplified way:
A peer-to-peer connection is like having two people in the same room that are communicating with each other. They both must have first got in touch and agree with each other that they’re willing to have a conversation. The conversation is then entirely up to them. eRoaming is like having one person in an enormous room with multiple people where they can reach out to everyone who is located in the same room. The person must have paid a fee to enter the room and signed a document stating the terms on which they can communicate.
Now let’s break it down in a more detailed way.
To begin with, it must be mentioned that peer-to-peer connection would turn out less costly, as it does not require a fee, unlike with the hub authorization. It also leaves out the necessity to rely on a third party and obey their mandates. However, it requires some negotiations and debates on finding the common terms with a partner as they are not strictly regulated.
With eRoaming the user gets access to a much bigger platform with multiple partners. This leads to a broader client base and more growth opportunities. From a CPO perspective such a solution allows i.e. to display their charging stations in other providers’ apps. For EMPs it gives many more chargers available to their customers. However, it comes at a price and integration matters that need to be handled.
From the consumer perspective, eRoaming may be a lot more attractive as it does not require keeping up to date with numerous providers, due to high levels of interoperability and unification. Such a customer-centric approach to a great extent explains the popularity of Hubject - currently the biggest eRoaming platform that is used by many operators. Given the ever-growing demand for electric vehicles and upcoming legislatives advocating for mass adoption, hubs will eventually become obligatory in ensuring a seamless, customer-friendly communication.
To see more on Hubject's integration and the business perspective you can check out our training session here.