IoT Gateway and IoT Platform Development Projects: Best Practices
Following are some of the best practices to keep in mind before kick-starting an IoT Gateway software and hardware development project:
Scalable & Cost-effective Design
Support ramp-up/ramp-down of IoT sensors network
IoT gateway device compatibility with ZigBee, BT, WiFi, 6LoWPAN, Modbus, Enocean & more
Commercially viable solution – BOM, design & development costs
Configuration & Power Management
IoT Gateway Device should be easy to configure and deploy
Most IoT applications also require remote management of the IoT Gateway
Your IoT Gateway design should have low power footprints
System Recovery and Crash Handling
IoT developers should pay special attention to system recovery and crash handling functionality
IoT Gateway Device should recover from crash & report the crash reasons
IoT Gateway Security
Secure the the IoT gateway devices using data encryption mechanisms and security certifications (TSL/SSL)
Use TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) for IoT gateway device hardware security
Meet Our IoT Leaders
Suhas has over 25 years of experience in Embedded Engineering & Software Development. He is well-known among his peers and customers, for his ability to ensure timely delivery of IoT projects. He has been instrumental in the successful completion of some very challenging and large scale IoT projects at Embitel.
Suhas Tanawade, Senior Delivery and Account Manager, IoT
Vidya Sagar is our bridge between business and technology teams of IoT. He leverages his 18+ years of experience to acquire new businesses and spearheads the IoT project delivery.
Vidya Sagar Jampani, Business Unit Head (IoT)
(The Master of all ‘IoT Trades’!)
[IoT Gateway Video] ‘Off-the-Shelf’ v/s ‘Custom Built’ Solution: Our IoT Consultants Help You to Resolve this Dilemma
Can be connected to either a public cloud server or a hosted cloud server.
Supports both horizontal and vertical scalability to meet the changing business needs.
Is integrated with TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) for hardware security (details about our IoT gateway security practice has been covered under a different question)
Additionally, we have developed customized IoT gateway solutions for a range of industrial automation projects including solar energy plants, enterprise battery management systems, and office automation – to name a few.
A. At Embitel, we ensure that security features are integrated right at design stage itself. While designing such a foolproof IoT gateway solution, we take care of the system security at multiple levels.
Following are some of our IoT security best practices:
Secure booting of the IoT system: For any device to run in a smooth and secure manner, its booting process must be reliable. This forms the foundation of the security of the IoT gateway system throughout its lifecycle.A secured process is necessary to ensure that the booting of the IoT gateway device is initiated only by trusted and authenticated software. Secure boot is very crucial to protect your IoT device against any Malware and Man in The Middle attack.
The robustness of the system boot is ensured by:
Checking the source of the boot: Each time the device is booted, the boot source is verified and authenticated using Secure Boot keys, which is unique for each boot module.
Checking the content of the boot: This is to verify that device is being updated by the correct version of the boot and to ensure that only verified ad authenticated software is being booted in the IoT gateway device.
In addition to the secure booting, we also take care of IoT gateway security at various levels : Data communication ( from sensors to gateway as well as from gateway to cloud) , network security, hardware security & more.
A. While we talk about data communication security, we categorize it: as security of data exchanged between the sensor to the gateway ; that of the data transmitted from gateway to cloud. Here is a snapshot of the two components in detail:
Secure Data Communication between Sensor Nodes and Gateway: Usually, sensor communication protocols such as ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, Z-Wave, WiFi, LoRaWan and others have in-built strong security features to ensure reliable and secure data exchange between the sensor network and the IoT gateway.Additionally, we also encrypt the data from sensor nodes to IoT gateway, depending on your project requirements.
Secure Data Communication with Cloud: All the data packets that are being exchanged from IoT sensors to IoT gateway and then IoT gateway to cloud servers are sufficiently encrypted. The security of the IoT gateway and cloud server communication is ensured through key management mechanisms and security certifications such as TLS or SSL.The IoT gateway devices (that are part of the network) are registered with the server and are given a unique MAC ID.
When the server receives a connection request, it verifies this MAC ID by mapping it with the list of authenticated IoT gateway devices available in the server. Once the mapping is done, it checks for the security certifications of the IoT gateway devices to validate that the connection request is coming from an authenticated source.
A. In our IoT gateway development solutions, hardware security is ensured through Trusted Platform Module / TPM. A TPM offers an additional layer of security, over and above to the security modules discussed above.
TPM helps in ensuring hardware security through integrated cryptographic keys against data phishing attacks. We leverage the following benefits of the TPM for hardware security:
Device authentication through TPM’s unique RSA key that is burned into it.
Generate, store, and manage the use of cryptographic keys.
A. In order to efficiently manage Load Balancing, we create ‘mesh network topology’ of IoT Gateway devices and Sensor nodes.
Such a cluster of IoT gateway devices consists of multiple IoT Gateway systems interconnected with each other. This cluster of IoT Gateway devices is installed between a source node (IoT sensor) and destination node (cloud server).
When a device/system failure occurs, an IoT gateway transfers applications and device connections to the geographic neighbor Gateway, which is compatible with the desired connectivity protocol.
A. In order to ensure a continuous & reliable availability of system devices within an IoT network, we implement temporary data back-up technique.
If due to some reason, IoT gateway connectivity is lost, we store the data temporarily either in a memory or a disk. As and when the connection is restored, this stored data is pushed to the server. This helps in preventing any data loss during a connection failure.
Additionally, IoT gateway clustering also helps in preventing data loss during connectivity failure.
A. At Embitel, we provide support for the testing of the IoT gateway solution, before deploying it in the production environment.
Our IoT testing framework includes Unit testing, Integration testing, Functional testing, and System testing. In addition to these, we also perform: Stress tests, Vibration tests and Heat Chamber testing depending on the deployment field and the customer’s use case requirement.
Our IoT Consultants will partner with your teams to create a comprehensive test plan for your IoT gateway project.
A. We have successfully helped many of our customers, from varied industry segments, in developing scalable and intelligent
. We have helped them in revamping their legacy industrial automation systems, enabling them to save operational costs in the process.
We will first understand and analyze your industrial automation set up and create an IoT solution roadmap that is most compatible with your existing systems. We will design communication interface cards (between sensor device to gateway & gateway to cloud) that can communicate with your industrial assets and collect crucial information.
This information, via IoT gateway device, will be sent securely to an authenticated IoT cloud server for data processing and analysis.
At all levels, stringent security measures are implemented to ensure safety of data . Thus your critical enterprise data can be remotely accessed and managed with the help of a secure IoT network.
Customized IoT Gateway Development Success Stories
Industrial IoT Solution for UPS Battery Monitoring System
The existing UPS network could not effectively predict the rate of drainage of battery charge
This meant that, as an industrial automation supplier, our customer found it difficult to deliver advantages of no downtime and lower cost of ownership to their clients.
<br\> Embitel Solution:
Design and development of an IoT solution using industrial grade network of sensors for data collection and battery monitoring
Design and development of a data aggregator and storage system
<br\> Embitel Impact:
Our client now has the ability to ensure
Zero system downtime due to Predictive Maintenance (PdM) of the in-service UPS
Reduction in overall cost of ownership
The designed industrial IoT and automation solution also enabled our customer to address the load balance challenges during the charge and discharge cycles
IoT Gateway Development Blogs: Hardware Design Guide, How IoT Gateway Works and More
What is an IoT Gateway Device and Why is it so Important for the Success of IoT Projects?
How an IoT Gateway Device Works: Understanding the Architecture
6 IoT Gateway Development Best Practices for Your Industrial Automation Project
Hardware Design Guide for IoT Projects (Part I): IoT Sensor Nodes and Gateway Devices
8 IoT Design Mistakes You Should Avoid for a Successful IoT Solution Development Project
Hardware Design Guide for IoT Projects (Part I): IoT Sensor Nodes and Gateway Devices
Cloud, Edge or Hybrid IoT Solutions: Which Computing Model is Best Suited for your IoT Application?
What are Zigbee Gateway devices?
Zigbee is a popular open communication protocol for wireless devices. A Zigbee gateway device enables data connection between IoT Sensors and devices within a Zigbee network.
A Zigbee gateway basically offers a universal channel to connect Zigbee-based IoT Sensors, devices and systems to IP-based networks.
Some popular use-cases of Zigbee Gateway include home automation, automated energy management solutions, healthcare monitoring systems and more.
What are some of the most commonly deployed IoT wireless communication protocols?
The modern Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is powered by several protocols (recognised across the Industrial Automation industry), for establishing a seamless communication.
Some of the most widely used wireless IoT protocols are:
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE),
LoRa and LoRaWAN
Zigbee: It is based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard. Zigbee is a is a low-power, low data rate wireless communication protocol used for applications that requires low-bandwidth data transfer.
Modbus: The Modbus protocol is one of the most commonly used communication protocol for industrial automation applications such as SCADA. Modbus is an open-source, flexible protocol that is based on serial communication.
BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy ( BLE) is a wireless personal area network technology designed especially for applications that required low power consumption.Like its classic predecessor ( Bluetooth) , BLE uses 2.4 GHz radio frequencies and also permits dual mode systems to use a common radio antenna.
Enocean: Developed and maintained by Enocean Alliance, this is the only wireless standard based on energy harvesting technology. Enocean standard is mainly used for energy-efficient building automation solutions.
Z-wave: Z-wave is a wireless standard that uses low-energy radio waves to establish connection with the devices. One of the striking features of the Z-wave protocol is its interoperability at the application layer. This helps various Z-wave based hardware and software to smoothly operate together.
6LoWPAN (IPv6 over Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks): 6LoWPAN is a standard protocol for establishing IPv6 communication on wireless networks with low-power modules. Every node in the network has its own IPv6 address. 6LoWPAN facilitates Internet Protocol to be enabled on even the smallest of low-power devices. Such devices with limited processing capabilities can, hence, be part of an IoT ecosystem.
Cellular 2G/3G/4G/5G: 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G are cellular mobile communication protocols that make long-range communication possible in an IoT infrastructure. Amongst the various cellular communication protocols for IoT, 5G offers several advantages. This includes high data rate, reduced latency, reduction in cost, reliability and greater system capacity.
LoRa and LoRaWAN: These are communication protocols that enable extremely long-range connectivity. LoRa based communication requires very low power and hence, can be deployed in devices that run on batteries for many years, across a wide network. LoRaWAN is a protocol that can be used in a large network of devices with low power requirements and low data rates. The main difference between the two is that LoRa is just a radiofrequency signal that contains the PHY layer protocol, while LoRaWAN is the technology that connects LoRa signal to the application (and hence, consists of the data transfer layer as well).
Sigfox: Sigfox is a wireless communication protocol that enables low power, long range, low data rate connectivity between IoT devices, actuators and sensors. Hence, this is widely used in telematics applications, remote monitoring and control of field-deployed devices and mHealth applications. The SigFox network offers a scalable, high-capacity system that consumes minimal energy and uses very narrow bandwidths.
What is an IoT platform?
In simplest terms, an IoT platform is a multi-layer solution offering a seamless connection between remote hardware (IoT Gateway devices and IoT sensors) and a web-based cloud.
An IoT Platform also facilitates a host of other functions such as multi-level security, data aggregation , processing and analysis.
An IoT platform is often perceived as a set of built-in tools that enables the above functions for the development of a scalable and cost-efficient Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.