As the Internet of Things expands, businesses find themselves faced with the challenge of integrating a multitude of devices and protocols, many with varying power and connectivity requirements. This mix may also include legacy technologies.
IoT Gateways are emerging as an essential component in building a robust IoT and for delivering computational power in edge computing scenarios.
What is an IoT Gateway?
An IoT Gateway is a solution for enabling IoT communication, usually device -to-device communications or device-to-cloud communications. The gateway is typically a hardware device housing application software that performs essential tasks. At its most basic level, the gateway facilitates the connections between different data sources and destinations.
A simple way to conceive of an IoT Gateway is to compare it to your home or office network router or gateway. Such a gateway facilitates communication between your devices, maintains security and provides an admin interface where you can perform basic functions. An IoT Gateway does this and much more.
What functions does an IoT gateway perform?
IoT Gateways have evolved to perform many tasks, from simple data filtering to visualization and complex analytics. These smart devices are helping power the current wave of IoT expansion.
IoT Gateway feature set
A versatile IoT Gateway may perform any of the following :
- Facilitating communication with legacy or non-internet connected devices.
- Data caching, buffering and streaming
- Data pre-processing, cleansing, filtering and optimization
- Some data aggregation
- Device to Device communications/M2M
- Networking features and hosting live data
- Data visualization and basic data analytics via IoT Gateway applications
- Short term data historian features
- Security – manage user access and network security features
- Device configuration management
- System diagnostics
IoT Gateways and Edge Computing
In edge computing, critical data processing occurs at the data source rather than in a centralized cloud-based location. A versatile IoT Gateway is the essential link in delivering edge computing power to technicians in the field or at the plant floor. IoT Gateways that come equipped with these capabilities are referred to as ’Smart’ Gateways.