Frequent Asked Question (FAQ)

1: What is IoT?

Answer: IoT stands for Internet of Things. It is basically a network using which things can communicate with each other using internet as means of communication between them. All the things should be IP protocol enabled in order to have this concept possible. Not one but multiple technologies are involved to make IoT a great success.

2: Explain the basic architecture of IoT network?

Answer: IoT has been classified into two categories viz. people to things referred as C2B (Customer to Business) and things to things or machine to machine referred as M2M.

People to Things involves IoT devices available at home such as wearables, fitness related devices, connected goods etc. M2M involves everything related to manufacturing and automation industry.

Let us understand basics of IoT architecture. As we know IoT system consists of three main parts viz. sensors, network connectivity and data storage applications. The same has been depicted in figure-1. As shown in the figure, Sensors in the IoT devices either communicate directly with the central server for data storage or communicate via gateway devices.

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Sensors for various applications are used in different IoT devices as per different applications such as temperature, power, humidity, proximity, force etc.

Gateway takes care of various wireless standard interfaces and hence one gateway can handle multiple techologies and multiple sensors. The typical wireless technologies used widely are 6LoWPAN, Zigbee, Zwave, RFID, NFC etc. Gateway interfaces with cloud using backbone wireless or wired technologies such as WiFi, Mobile , DSL or Fibre.

As shown IoT supports both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols. Due to support of IPv6 which has about 128 bit long IP address length, there are enough addresses available to growing demand of IoT devices. DTN (Delay Tolerant Networks) is the unique feature of IoT which takes care of large variable delay requirement of IoT based networks compare to traditional computer networks.

As shown , IoT service providers offer varied QoS with different pricing and design need for memory, CPU and battery consumption.

IoT Hardware Architecture

As we have seen that IoT device consists of upper protocol stack and physical and RF layers. The system can be constructed using MCU (Micro-controller Units). Choice of MCU depends on system on chip resources, power required and interfaces needed as per different sensors. Memory requirements of IoT hardware also needed to be carefully studied.

In order to finalize the IoT hardware architecture following aspects need to be collected. These parameters will help finalize ideal IoT hardware prototype as well as cost of the required IoT hardware components.

  • Type of sensors/actuators
  • Communication interface type
  • Amount of data to be captured and transmitted
  • Frequency of the data transportation

IoT Software Architecture

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Typically IoT software architecture is based on open source components. Figure-2 above depicts IoT architecture commonly in use for most of the systems. As shown Linux is widely used; as it need not require to wait to finalize the target hardware and software development can go in parallel.

Now-a-days many companies are working to provide ready to use IoT frameworks for various IoT specific applications. CoAP protocol is used which is unique to IoT applications and offer common mechanism to communicate with IoT devices.

Vendors of IoT frameworks

Following table mentions IoT frameworks vendors, providers or developers.

Vendors, developers or providers of IoT FrameWorks
Thread Framework from Thread Group based on Zigbee and 6LoWPAN standards. This frameworks require gateway in order to communicate with the server.
Eclipse Open IoT
Open Interconnect Consortium known as IoTivity
Linear technology
Microsoft
Oracle