Gateways build communication bridges

To enable different manufacturers’ terminal devices to communicate with each other on the Internet of Things, translators are required. Gateways perform this task, orchestrating data interchange between Internet-enabled things – be they production machines on a factory shop floor, sensors in central heating systems, or security cameras.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is picking up speed. In the consumer sector, growth is already very dynamic due to connected personal devices or sensors around the home, or so the pundits say. On the industrial Internet of Things, in contrast, the full-scale success story has yet to kick in, analysts claim. The potential for business benefits as a result of greater efficiency is convincing.

 Terminal devices speak many languages

Not all devices that will be integrated into the IoT in the medium and long term are able to share data with the Net directly and without problems. They may lack a suitable interface or their operating system may be a proprietary one. This lack of compatibility impedes the smooth flow of data that is so important for the IoT. One solution approach is to use gateways that build a bridge to the Internet of Things with its many and varied applications for terminal devices of this kind. 

Gateways make a material contribution toward eliminating connectivity problems that can occur between individual devices and the IoT. The key to the solution is the fact that the IoT gateways on the market support different communication paths such as Modbus to GSM. In this way different devices can be coupled in a wide range of variations without problems. To do so they collect data from different sources and put them on the Internet. Users of individual components do not need to deal with the complexity of data interchange or to accept high costs for a high-speed interface to connect them with the IoT. The gateway establishes the necessary connection.

Connection made easy

Subject to the application, there are different ways to implement an IoT gateway in a given environment. At present, simple or embedded gateways are used. Both can receive data from any number of distributed stations and make it available on the IoT.

Simple gateways sort and packetize data for sending via the Internet. They also ensure that data is returned to its starting point if an application requires that to be done. The gateway performs the role of a bridge across which different kinds of data travel, being fed in via different communication interfaces and converted for transmission using different protocols. 

Gateways can connect LANs with the Internet with a minimum of effort and expense, thereby making simple end-to-end solutions possible. In the Smart Home, for example, components that have no Internet access of their own can be incorporated in this way.

Embedded gateways with built-in intelligence

Embedded gateways provide similar functionalities. In addition to data transmission options, however, they can process local applications directly, which speeds up processes and makes real-time applications possible.

An embedded gateway can, for example, filter sensor data while at the same time performing sophisticated management tasks. Critical situations are recognized automatically. The system can then trigger an automatic alarm and send it over the network to trigger appropriate action by someone in a position of responsibility.

IoT technology is already in use in production environments and power networks and to monitor construction sites. Especially for devices installed at locations where conditions are rough or that are unmonitored or remote, the gateway establishes a reliable communication bridge between the terminal device in question and the company’s central server. These are situations in which the use of embedded IoT gateways is especially appropriate because they are robust and reliable and can deliver around the clock the very data that is required in the IoT environment.

Open architecture connects

A building block for swift realization of the Internet of Things is the hyperconnecting architecture on which the leading players in the IoT market rely. Based on open standards, it enables users to access the information they require anytime, anywhere. Hyperconnecting supports a large number of protocols, which is why, for example, sensor aggregation with several wireless protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and ZigBee, can be realized.

Scalability is also simplified across different hardware platforms such as ARM and Intel architectures. In this kind of environment, unproblematic coexistence of C and Java development with open programming interfaces (APIs) and dynamic components is possible. Another feature is flexible messaging, which enables swift and seamless transmission of information.

Tags: IOT , M2M , Machine-to-Machine , Internet of Things , Industrial Internet of Things , gateways

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