As the number of IoT (internet of things) and IIoT (industrial internet of things) devices continues to grow, so does the volume and velocity of data that’s being generated, necessitating the need for IoT gateways to alleviate some of the stress placed on the cloud and data centers to house, process, and analyze data. This post will provide you with everything you need to know about Industrial IoT gateways as well as the best source for buying them.
What is an Industrial IoT Gateway?
An industrial IoT gateway is an industrial computer that’s locally deployed to collect, store, process, and analyze data at the edge of a network, alleviating the stress placed on the cloud and data centers. IoT gateways typically gather data from sensors, devices, and machinery. After gathering the data, IoT gateways process the data and analyze it, sending processed data to the cloud for remote monitoring, remote control, and post-analysis.
Essentially, Industrial IoT gateways serve as computers that allow devices and sensors to communicate with one another, as well as communicate information to the cloud. They are similar to routers found in most homes, facilitating communication between devices, as well as between them and the internet. However, IoT gateways are capable of so much more in terms of processing, memory, and storage capacity in close proximity to sensory data.
The major advantage of deploying industrial IoT gateways is that they alleviate the burden placed on the cloud and data centers from having to process the large volumes of data produced by sensors and IIoT devices. They are able to collect, filter, process, and analyze data locally, eliminating the need to send all of the raw data that’s collected to the cloud for processing and analysis.
By collecting and processing data locally, organizations deploying IoT gateways will see significant savings in internet bandwidth since less raw data has to be sent to the cloud. This is extremely beneficial for organizations that are a metered internet, paying for the bandwidth that they use.
What Are the Functions of Industrial IoT Gateways?
IoT gateways can perform the following functions:
1. Facilitation of Communication & Control with Flexible I/O
The major function of industrial IoT gateways is to enable communication between both new and legacy devices. The IoT gateways provided by Premio are equipped with USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, which enable industrial gateways to communicate at great speeds with new devices and sensors, as well as COM ports for communication with legacy technology, eliminating the need to replace old machinery with new equipment for smart connectivity. IoT gateways also enable machine-to-machine (M2M) communications where machines interact with other machines, devices, and environments.
Additionally, IoT gateways can support a variety of different industrial protocols, allowing IoT gateways to communicate with devices that utilize different protocols. The major protocols supported by IoT gateways include Fieldbus, PROFIBUS, EtherCAT, EtherNET/IP, and PROFINET protocols. So, if an organization has legacy hardware that cannot connect to the cloud, industrial IoT gateways can be used to connect such devices with the cloud, as well as allowing organizations to securely and remotely control machinery and programmable logic controllers.
2. Improving Production
Industrial IoT gateways are able to improve the production of factories. This is done by gathering information from the various sensors and devices deployed in the factory and using that data to tune the production for higher output. Additionally, industrial IoT gateways can be used to reduce human error and gain a wide variety of information that relates to the manufacturing process, allowing operators and organizations to use such information to optimize the production process.
3. Predictive Maintenance
Industrial Internet of things gateways have the ability to assist with predictive maintenance. That is, the data gathered by the devices and sensors can be used to predict when some components or devices typically fail by using prediction models to perform maintenance before the breakdown or failure occurs. Production lines often operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so having a failure or breakdown of machinery can halt production, causing a loss of profits.
By employing predictive maintenance from data models, factories can fix machines before they fail or breakdown, thus eliminating any downtime, they would have normally experienced without the insights provided by IoT gateways. This significantly reduces or eliminates the costs associated with detrimental and unexpected downtime.
4. Real-time Data Processing and Decision Making
Industrial IoT gateways can process and analyze data locally at the source of data generation in real-time, eliminating the need for data to travel thousands of miles to a data center for processing and analysis. This enables real-time data analysis and decision making, which is necessary for applications that deal with critical local workloads.
Currently, such applications cannot run on the cloud because of the latency associated with sending, processing, and having data sent back to an industrial setting. Since IoT gateways and industrial computers are located locally, there is little latency associated with such a deployment, enabling real-time data analysis and decision making in as little as a single millisecond.
What Are the Benefits of Industrial IoT Gateways?
Industrial IoT gateways come in two different flavors when deploying for enterprise infrastructures: fanless IoT gateways and rugged IoT Gateways. Fanless IoT gateways are compact industrial computers that can be deployed in volatile environments that experience exposure to extreme temperatures, frequent exposure to shocks and vibrations, as well as exposure to dust and debris. That said, the rugged series of IoT gateways take protection a step further, adding a more rugged outer enclosure for added durability and reliability.
Here are some of the advantages of deploying Industrial IoT Gateways:
1. Compact Design
Fanless IoT gateways and rugged IoT gateways have a compact design that enables them to be deployed in space-limited environments that are not large enough to house full-size desktop computers. The compact design was made possible by passively cooling the IoT gateway computer. Passive cooling made the compact fanless design possible because it permitted IoT gateway manufacturers to place components closer to one another and cool them down via the use of heatsinks. Heatsinks are used to move heat away from the internal heat-generating components to the outer enclosure of the industrial gateway, which then dissipates the heat into the surrounding air.
2. Wide Temperature Design
Fanless and Rugged IoT gateways have a wide temperature range, ranging from -40⁰C to 85⁰C, allowing their deployment in extremely cold and extremely hot environments. So, whether you’re deploying an internet of things gateway in the middle of the Las Vegas Desert during the summer or in the middle of Russia during the winter, rugged IoT gateways will operate reliably and optimally without any modifications or additional cooling.
3. Wide Power Design
Fanless and Rugged IoT gateways are equipped with a wide input voltage, ranging from 9 to 50 VDC for compatibility with different variations of power input scenarios. Furthermore, internet of things gateways come equipped with a number of power protection features that include overvoltage protection, power surge protection, and reverse polarity protection.
Overvoltage protection shuts down the power to the system when the device detects an increase in voltage that exceeds safe levels for the system. Power surge protection diverts electricity into the ground when the device detects a rise in voltage that exceeds a safe level. Power polarity protection protects the system from reversed power supply polarity by cutting off the power to the system to avoid damage to the sensitive internal components.
4. Shock & Vibration Resistance
Fanless and Rugged IoT gateways offer shock and vibration resistance, enabling them to be deployed in environments where they will be exposed to frequent shocks and vibrations. Rugged IoT gateway devices are able to handle exposure to shocks and vibrations thanks to their single-piece design, which eliminates the number of joints, screws, and cables that are used in the system, making it more reliable and better able to handle exposure to shocks and vibrations since there are fewer moving parts that can fail.
5. Industrial-grade Components
Fanless and Rugged IoT gateways are incredibly rugged, able to handle deployment in harsh environments because they are made using industrial-grade components that have been tested and validated to operate reliably in the harshest conditions possible. Additionally, the outer enclosure of rugged IoT gateways is made from steel and aluminum, creating a strong outer shell, protecting the sensitive internal components.
6. Energy Efficiency
Rugged and Fanless IoT gateways are energy efficient, making their deployment in environments where stable power is not always present possible. IoT gateways consume significantly less power than regular desktop PCs because they are configured using low-powered yet efficient Intel processors, such as the Intel® Celeron® J1900, which has a TDP of 10 watts, using little power and generating little heat. Although the savings from deploying a single low-powered IoT gateway are negligible, if you’re deploying tens, hundreds, or even thousands of these devices, you will notice significant savings on your energy costs. SoC (systems on chip) use less power than socket PCs, but they have understandably have less computing power. The small size of SoC designs offers great flexibility for industrial applications and IoT deployment that require low power computing performance.
7. Rich Connectivity Options
Fanless and Rugged IoT gateways are ideal for deployment in remote environments where stable connectivity is not always available. This is so because IoT gateways come equipped with wired connectivity options, as well as wireless and cellular connectivity, allowing gateways to connect to the internet in all types of volatile environments.
Fanless and Rugged IoT gateways can use wired connectivity to connect to the internet via a minimum of 2x GbE RJ45 ports that offer support for Wake-on-LAN and PXE. Additionally, some IoT gateways offered by Premio can be expanded for additional RJ45 and M12 LAN ethernet ports that include PoE+ (IEEE 802.3at), offering power and ethernet over a single cable.
Additionally, industrial-grade IoT gateways are able to connect to the internet via the use of Wi-Fi 6, delivering reliable, low-latency communication. Wi-Fi offers a ton of flexibility, allowing organizations to configure the range and power consumption of Wi-Fi according to their specific requirements.
Furthermore, IoT gateways come equipped with cellular connectivity, allowing internet of things gateways to connect to the internet if Wi-Fi and wired connectivity are not available. Cellular connectivity options 4G, LTE, and eventually 5G, offer blazing-fast cellular connectivity. 4G tops out at a theoretical speed of 100Mbps, whereas 5G tops out at a theoretical speed of 10Gbps.
We understand that cellular connectivity is extremely important for organizations that want to deploy IoT gateways in remote environments where stable internet connectivity is not always present. Additionally, IoT gateways come equipped with dual SIM slots, allowing gateways to connect to two different internet service providers for redundancy if needed.
Moreover, IoT gateways come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing quick and simple connectivity with low-powered Bluetooth devices. Although Bluetooth does not offer the speed and range of Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, it does offer reliable and simple connectivity for one-to-one or many-to-many devices.
The main purpose of IoT gateways is to move data back and forth from sensors; as such industrial IoT gateways come equipped with enhanced security, employing TPM 2.0. TPM 2.0 is a secure cryptoprocessor that provides hardware-based security, making IoT gateways tamper-resistant.
What Are Some Examples of Industrial IoT Gateway Use Cases?
Here are some examples of real-life industrial IoT gateway deployments:
1. Smart Agriculture
Industrial IoT gateways are used in smart agriculture to gather information from and manage the deployment of IoT sensors, which are used to collect information, such as the weather conditions in the crop’s environment, the quality of the soil, and the progress of the crop growth. All of this information is collected, processed, and analyzed by IoT gateways, offering farmers valuable insights so that they can make informed decisions such as how much fertilizer they need to use to allow crops to grow at optimal efficiency, as well as improve other aspects of their operation to ensure optimal growth of crops.
Additionally, IoT gateways can be used to predict and foresee the output of production, allowing growers to better plan for product distribution since they will have a pretty decent estimate as to the amount of crop they are going to be able to harvest. Furthermore, IoT gateways processing and analyzing the large amounts of data gathered by the various IoT sensors allow farmers to produce crops with higher quality.
The most popular IoT devices used in smart agriculture include weather stations that utilize farming sensors located throughout the field, collecting a variety of information about the weather and analyzing it for valuable insights as to how to improve the crops.
Furthermore, IoT devices and IoT gateways are often used in greenhouses to gather real-time information on growing conditions, such as the lighting, temperatures, soil condition, and humidity, allowing farmers to adjust the conditions for optimal crop growth.
2. Smart Transportation
IoT gateways are often used to enable smart transportation systems. IoT gateways connect computers, electronics, and other sensors with one another, as well as the cloud. Information collected by IoT gateways includes vehicle information, vehicle location, road information, and many other types of information, creating real-time transportation systems that offer valuable insights into how to improve the transportation system’s performance.
For example, if the industrial computers predict that a road is often closed or full of traffic at a certain time of the day, the system can adjust the vehicle’s route to avoid traffic, thereby improving the efficiency of the system, saving valuable time and resources such as fuel. Furthermore, the data collected by IoT gateways can be used for predictive maintenance.
That is, IoT gateways can predict when a part or component of the transportation system will fail and alert operators to perform maintenance and/or replace parts before the breakdown or failure occurs, thus eliminating any downtime associated with performing unexpected repairs.
3. Factory Automation
Industrial IoT gateways are instrumental when it comes to factory automation as they can facilitate the communication between the tens, hundreds, or thousands of IoT devices, factory machinery, and factory equipment, as well as communication between these devices and the cloud. IoT gateways enable remote monitoring of factory assets, as well as control of such assets.
Industrial IoT gateways are able to connect new machinery that utilizes modern protocols, as well as legacy machinery that utilizes old protocols. The protocols supported by IoT gateways include Fieldbus Protocol, PROFINET protocol, EtherNET/IP, and EtherCAT Protocols. IoT gateways are also able to gather information from these devices, process it, analyze it, providing valuable insights that enable factory operators to maximize the efficiency of their operations, as well as minimize downtime via predictive maintenance of factory equipment.
4. Surface and Underground Mining
Industrial IoT gateways are also important and offer great benefits for the mining industry, allowing mine operators to optimize the mining process and produce better results. IoT gateways are great for gathering, processing, and analyzing information collected through sensors, analyzing it in real-time to permit operators to take the best course of action.
Additionally, internet of things gateways enable mining operators to use data to strategically deploy workers and equipment for increased efficiency. Additionally, IoT gateways enable predictive maintenance by predicting when components and vehicles fail so that mine operators can perform preventative maintenance, reducing downtime caused by unexpected vehicle failures.
Furthermore, IoT gateways have the ability to improve the safety of mining employees. This is so because IoT sensors can be connected to IoT gateways that can monitor unstable areas in the mines, alerting miners in the event that a shaft collapses or becomes extremely unstable.
What is the Best Source for Buying Industrial IoT Gateways?
Premio offers a variety of different industrial IoT gateways, ranging from low-powered yet efficient gateways for entry-level data processing and analysis, as well as more powerful, rugged IoT gateways that are suitable for more complex workloads that require powerful performance. Premio has been manufacturing premium industrial grade IoT gateways for more than 30 years in the United States, offering premium products that are tested and validated to ensure reliable performance in the world’s most volatile environments. Rugged IoT gateways can be deployed in environments that experience extreme temperatures, shocks, vibration, dust, debris, and even water. For assistance with choosing the internet of things gateway device that’s right for your specific workload, contact one of our industrial IoT gateway for professionals, and they will be more than happy to assist you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the main function of an IoT gateway?
The main function of IoT gateways is to connect devices and machines to one another, as well as connect them to the internet. All of the data generated by IoT devices and other devices is processed either at the gateway itself or sent to the cloud for processing and analysis.
2. What makes IoT data valuable?
The insights that are derived from the data collected by IoT gateways are extremely valuable. This is so because the information can be used to improve processes, creating efficiency, and reducing costs.
3. Can IoT gateways communicate with the cloud?
Yes, IoT gateways come with multiple connectivity options that permit internet of things gateways to connect to the internet to offload data to the cloud. The best way to ensure data interoperability and data telemetry into the cloud is to ensure it works with major cloud providers and their tools. Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s AWS Greengrass offer dashboards to control and manage IoT gateways.