IoT Gateway- The Bridge Between Devices and Internet
IoT Gateway is a way to connect various devices and protocols either to other devices or an external network. IoT Gateway solves the issue of interoperability safely and securely between the multiple devices and systems in use.
We sit currently at a pivotal moment in the evolution IoT technology, where the age of interconnected smart networks that automate manufacturing, industry and much of our daily lives, are almost upon us. Because the concept is at point of writing, still one that is in its infancy, there are still many machines in existence that are not yet equipped to join in with what is a burgeoning digital age.
In order to be able to be connected up to the digital network, it’s necessary for non-Internet of Things (IoT) hardware to be modified to allow them to work within the digital network. By retrofitting machines with the required equipment and installing what’s known as IoT gateway software, they are then able to benefit from all types of IoT and IIoT (Industrial IoT) features. This software is also being installed in new machines, so that they can be classed as IoT ready.
Aside from making the machine that IoT gateway software is used with, compatible for use in an IoT capacity, it also allows for a range of real time monitoring features, able to keep track of metrics like pressure, vibration and temperature. This means that production processes in industry in particular, can be efficiently managed to produce a consistently high level of quality. IoT gateway technology can also be used to manage the machine’s maintenance, accurately predicting when servicing and part replacement is required.
The Nuts and Bolts
So, to the way IoT gateway software works, or the nuts and bolts of it, if you will. Essentially an IoT gateway can either be a software program or a physical device that acts as the point of connection between intelligent devices (anything device that’s IoT ready), sensors, controllers and the cloud. Every piece of data travels through the gateway, whether it is moving to or from the cloud and in common parlance, both software and hardware based gateways can also be referred to as a control tier or an intelligent gateway.
Within a smart network, there are often hundreds, if not thousands of sensors that generate huge amounts of data each and every second they operate. The gateway also doubles as a location in which to pre-process this data before it’s sent to the cloud. This has the welcome effect of reducing the quantity of data that needs to be forwarded to the cloud, which can significantly minimise the costs involved in network transmission and in reducing overall response times.
An additional benefit that’s provided by an IoT gateway, is the provision of an extra layer of security for the data that travels over the network and for the network itself. As a result of the gateway managing data that’s moving to and from the cloud, it can be used to prevent leaks and malicious attacks from hackers with features like encryption, tamper detection and crypto engines.
Whilst it might be somewhat sexier to talk about the vast array of smart devices that are coming on to the market, you should spare a thought for the gateway. The fact is that IoT technology relies on the gateway to facilitate a large number of features and without it, most, if not all just wouldn’t be possible.
It’s fair to say that it’s something of an unsung hero of the IoT network.