IoT architecture basics | IoT hardware, software architecture

As we know IoT (Internet of Things) has been evolving at very rapid rate. Due to this, research on new IoT devices and IoT wireless technologies are also rising to bring the IoT products at cheaper and faster rate.

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.

IoT structure and IoT technologies

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 Architecture for Software

IoT architecture

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

We have gone through, IoT architecture basics including IoT hardware architecture, IoT software architecture and IoT framework vendors.

IoT Architecture Protocols and Wireless Technologies

MQTT vs REST    ➤BACnet protocol    ➤Lonworks protocol    ➤KNX protocol    ➤What is Modbus    ➤M-Bus vs Wireless M-Bus    ➤WLAN    ➤WLAN    ➤THREAD    ➤EnOcean    ➤LoRa    ➤SIGFOX    ➤WHDI    ➤Zigbee   ➤6LoWPAN   ➤Zigbee RF4CE   ➤Z-Wave   ➤NFC   ➤RFID   ➤Lonworks   ➤CEBus   ➤UPB  

RF Wireless Tutorials