6 IoT Gateway Development Best Practices for Your Industrial Automation Project
Whether it is a large-scale enterprise class Industrial Automation project or a less complex Home Automation application, IoT Gateway device is the backbone of all IoT implementations.
Why, you ask? Here is just a glimpse of certain tasks that are meticulously performed by an IoT Gateway:
- Make the IoT devices and sensors (part of the network) available online by connecting them to the Cloud Server
- Ensure compatibility across the IoT network devices by supporting multitude of connectivity protocols like Zigbee, 6lowpan, Bluetooth, WiFi, LoRA, Zwave
- Manage device configuration, perform device authentication for secure network access and support edge-analytics
- Send/receive data and commands from the cloud server
And since IoT Gateway (software and hardware development) is such a crucial aspect of an enterprise-grade IoT implementation project, we decided to learn from our IoT software developers about the best practices.
Image Source: Intel
Following are some of the IoT Gateway development insights we are sharing with an IoT enthusiast like you!
IoT Gateway Clustering : the art of continuity
Leverage Horizontal and Vertical Scaling for a fool-proof IoT network ramp-up
Load-Life Balance for IoT Gateway
Secure IoT gateway to keep the IoT Hackers away!
Configuration & Power Management
System Recovery and crash handling
IoT Gateway Clustering is a technique (best practice) to minimize IoT network downtime and improve the operational continuity of the system. Clustering in an IoT project also ensures that the information received from IoT devices and/or legacy nodes is transmitted to the cloud server without any data loss.
The loss of data can occur due to load issues, faults in IoT Gateway device or connectivity issues. To mitigate this, in IoT gateway clustering, multiple Gateway devices are interconnected with each other. This means that between a source node (IoT sensor) and destination node (cloud server), best practice is to install cluster of IoT Gateway devices
This mesh network of IoT Gateway devices fetches data from your legacy IT systems and/or IoT sensor devices. If certain Gateway node goes down, the redundancy of this mesh network topology ensures reliability and the continuity communication with cloud for commands and storage of data.
When a failure occurs, an IoT gateway transfers applications and device connections to the geographic neighbor Gateway, which supports the desired connectivity protocol
Design an IoT Framework that supports future scalability of the enterprise IoT solution. Following two methods are popularly used to add additional IoT Gateway devices to support redundancy or scalability
Horizontal scaling: In this method a gateway can be easily added to the existing network by connecting it with the common communication bus. In this case no major modification or network overhauling is required.
Vertical Scaling: This method comes into play when some functional changes are required to be implemented. Functional change may vary from the software upgrade, need for change in hardware, memory increment or device or OS configurations or updates .
In order to ensure that your IoT Gateway solution supports vertical scaling, best practice is to design a micro-service application based architecture
Excess data load is one of the major causes of IoT Gateway failure and lower life span (figuratively). Hence to mitigate this, best practice is to implement load balancing techniques. Your IoT development team or IoT vendor should design a cluster manager, to manage the data distribution in your network.
Cluster Manager is used to define the threshold occupancy of each gateway in the IoT Network. When the load on an IoT gateway device goes beyond the defined threshold, cluster manager transfers the excess load to a nearby gateway.
By implementing the Cluster Manager, the data is distributed to different gateways in the cluster for faster response and balanced load distribution.
An IoT network or a gateway can be attacked in various ways such as physical attack, network attack, software attack.
Your IoT security team should be ready and have the right tools to protect your network from all the above mentioned attacks. Each device used in a network should be authorized and the platform should have edge gateways, associated keys and expiration time to authenticate each device.
Also, the hardware security can be achieved in an IoT Gateway Solution by the introduction or adoption of TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and TEE (Trusted Execution Environment).
IoT Gateway should be easy to configure and deploy. Most IoT applications require remote access of the IoT Gateway. Hence, your IoT Gateway design should support remote configuration and management. Also IoT Gateway design should have low power footprints
IoT developers should pay special attention to system recovery and crash handling functionality. IoT gateways should have a proper recovery functionality and should document all the crash reasons.
Hope you found this blog post useful. You can get in touch with expert IoT development team to understand how IoT can help resolve your business pain-points.
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