Almost every IoT system must have a way to connect sensors or devices to the cloud so cat 16 speed that data can be pushed back and forth between them. IoT technology gateways are especially important for making such connections possible, but what does a gateway mean?
A gateway acts as a highway bridge between a sensor or device and the cloud. Many sensors or devices will "talk" to the gateway, and then the gateway will get all this information and "talk" to the cloud.
So what are the benefits of an application gateway? Why is this additional process deliberately adopted in the middle of the sensor/device and the cloud.
If the sensor is located in a remote area, it is likely that a remote desktop connection will be required in order to talk to the cloud. Longer standards typically represent a loss of functionality and an increase in cost. This can be an issue for small to medium sized sensors or devices with more limited battery life.
At the smart agriculture level, for example, expect sensors to be applied for two years rather than many months or weeks. Depending on the application installing an overhead road gateway around the top of an attached house building or grain store, the sensor can simply send a short route of data to the gateway, which can then send the data back to the cloud based on a separate, more bandwidth-tested connection.
The gateway allows the sensors to communicate at a shorter spacing, which in turn increases battery life.
A variety of protocols
A detailed IoT application process is likely to involve many different varieties of sensors and devices. Or in the case of smart agriculture, it is likely that devices such as ambient temperature, ambient humidity and sun sensors and their fully automated watering and fertilizer system software will be necessary.
But different sensors and devices are able to use different transmission protocols (for the most part, the standard and file format of the information to be transmitted). Protocols include LPWAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee.
Gateways can use a variety of protocols to communicate with sensors and then transform the data into an interface protocol (e.g. MQTT) to send to the cloud.
Sometimes, sensors can generate so much data that it is overwhelming, or the cost of transmission and storage is extremely high. Often, in such cases, only a small fraction of the data is actually of use. For example, security cameras do not have to push short video data from empty aisles.
The gateway can be prepared to process and consider the data generated by the sensors to reduce transmission, resolution and storage requirements.
High Latency Time
Latency is likely to be particularly important for some IoT applications. Sensors cannot afford to transmit data to the cloud and wait until certain effective measures are taken to get the appropriate capacity to work. This is true for life-and-death situations in the medical industry or for fast-moving objects such as vehicles.
Depending on the data being resolved at the gateway and the instructions being delivered locally, higher latency times can be prevented. However, many sensors in IoT applications are too small and have too low a battery capacity to resolve on their own.
Gateways can use resolution on the gateway itself rather than in the cloud to reduce latency in time-sensitive applications.
Every sensor connected to the network is vulnerable to hacking. The gateway reduces the total number of sensors connected to the Internet, as the sensors are only connected to the gateway. Thus, it gets fewer locations to kill, but this also makes the gateway itself the overall target, and the gateway becomes the first line of defense. This is why security factor must become a priority for all gateways.
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