This section provides an overview for iot gateways as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 9 iot gateway manufacturers and their company rankings.
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In the computer world, an IoT gateway is a device that relays data communications at the border of a network, or, in relaying data, receives data from the sender and converts it so that it can be interpreted by the receiving device.
Therefore, IoT gateways are necessary when trying to connect many things to the internet. They are responsible for delivering data from each sensor at the end to the internet, and they manage and control each sensor.
IoT, stands for "Internet of Things". Specifically, data collected by various sensors and measuring devices are sent to a server in the cloud via IoT gateways.
Sensors and measuring devices include, for example, temperature and humidity data, river level data, and even image data captured by smartphones, cameras, and other devices. To collect such data, a large number of sensors and measuring instruments need to be installed. Therefore, each unit must be made as simple and low-cost as possible.
Thus, basically, these sensor devices do not have the ability to directly connect to a network and communicate with a server, so IoT gateways are needed as a relay.
Conversely, if a server wants to monitor or control the status of a sensor device, IoT gateways can relay the information to and from the server.
IoT gateways and servers use wireless communication methods such as 3G, LTE, and WiMAX. This is because communication over long distances of several kilometers or more is assumed.
Similarly, wireless communication is used between IoT gateways and sensor devices.
Specifically, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBe (IEEE802.15.4), and 920 MHz band radio (IEEE802.15.4g) are the main communication methods.
All of these communication methods are used for communication within a short distance to several hundred meters.
There are two main reasons for using these methods.
The first reason is that the number of sensor devices to be connected to an IoT gateways can be tens or hundreds, which is a very large number. Therefore, the wireless method is used because it is physically difficult to connect these devices by wired lines.
The second reason is that these are low-power communications that do not require special licensing, and the relatively short distances between IoT gateways and sensors make these low-power communications possible.
For larger IoT systems, IoT gateways are inserted between each field device (IoT device) and the IoT server to aggregate the information of the field devices, for example, by area or by group of related data. The field devices are relayed by the IoT gateways to the IoT server. Here, protocol conversion is performed at the IoT gateways because the communication conditions of the IoT area network (a network with many field devices connected around the IoT gateways) and the communication conditions between the IoT gateways and the IoT server are different.
6LoWPAN and CoAP, which have been proposed for IoT area networks, shorten communication headers and simplify communication sequences to reduce procedures and time required for communication processing, thereby reducing costs and power consumption.
In this way, protocols that match various requirements have been proposed and standardized for IoT area networks.
On the other hand, TCP/IP is widely used in WANs as in the Internet.
Thus, IoT area networks and WANs use different protocols, and IoT gateways perform the conversion.6LoWPAN and CoAP are highly compatible with TCP/IP, making the conversion easy.
Edge computing is a concept of a distributed processing computing environment: when an IoT system is initially built, it is a server-centric system, where all field data is gathered to an IoT server either directly or through an IoT gateways. servers aggregate the gathered data and perform the necessary processing.
Server-centric systems need to process all field data information and also perform server functions, which can cause network load and data storage and processing to occupy resources when the system becomes large. On the other hand, with the improved performance of hardware used in IoT devices and IoT gateways, it is now possible to provide various functions in addition to area network management and protocol conversion functions. Therefore, it has become possible to optimize the load on the network and the data to be communicated by performing possible pre-processing close to the field device and minimizing the interaction with the IoT server to the minimum necessary.
In this way, edge computers are used to give field devices, or IoT gateways placed near them, more advanced data processing and analysis functions in addition to the conventional network relay functions, so that the entire IoT system, including the network, can operate more efficiently.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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