What Is An IoT Gateway? Full Overview


An IoT gateway is one of the essential parts of the IoT ecosystem that support the exponential growth of billions of IoT devices. However, there are various challenges that comes when implementing a multitude of IoT devices at the edge. Here we will discuss how IoT Gateways are a great solution for the growing internet of things deployments and applications.


What Is An IoT Gateway? 



In simple terms, an IoT gateway is an intelligent computer that works as a central hub that manages all of the connected IoT devices, sensors, and actuators. The term gateway is pretty self-explanatory, to easily understand the concept of a gateway, it works as the entrance that aggregates, processes, and filters out all of the data and information sent by various IoT devices before being sent to the cloud.  

More advanced IoT gateways are capable  to perform complex edge computing applications such as artificial intelligence. In this case, the IoT gateways process most of the data at the edge and are capable to run real-time decision-making at the edge without any assistance from the cloud.


How Does an IoT Gateway Work? 

An IoT gateway serves as a bridge between different types of IoT devices and connects them to central data systems or even the cloud. The logistics of the data that travels from the edge, the gateway, and to the external network like the cloud involves aggregating, summarizing, and synchronizing data. IoT devices communicate with an IoT Gateway using short-range wireless technology such as Zigbee, Z-wave, and Bluetooth LE. Some IoT devices also use long-range wireless technology such as LoRa, WiFi, LTE, and LTE-M to communicate with IoT Gateways. The IoT Gateway then connects an array of sensors to the Wide Area Network (WAN) or Cloud through Fiber Optics WAN or Ethernet LAN. 

Moreover, in an IoT ecosystem, there can be hundreds to thousands of IoT devices, sensors, and actuators with different protocols and interfaces. This myriad of IoT data that is being generated every second, creates an overload to the cloud. IoT gateways also filter and translate collected data into a single standard protocol so that the data can be easily processed at the cloud and passed to the edge for more efficient computing.   Some common protocols that IoT gateways translate are AMQP, DDS, CoAP, MQTT, and WebSocket. 


Additionally, intelligent IoT Gateways are capable of managing edge workloads where they can execute decision-making without connecting to the cloud. For example, for in-vehicle applications that transport cold-storage food. When the sensors inside the storage indicate an increase in the temperature,  IoT Gateways can automatically control the actuators to lower down the temperature to their ideal points to prevent damaged goods.  IoT Gateways can simultaneously monitor different aspects of the applications such as light, air quality, security systems, and more. Thus, a main benefit of IoT Gateways is its ability to send the summary of data to an external network for additional processing and analytics.


IoT Gateway Main Features 

  • Provide M2M (machine-to-machine) communication 
  • Bridge IoT devices to the external network (cloud) 
  • Aggregates data across all devices 
  • Preparing data to send to the Cloud (refine, process, and filter data) 
  • Support real-time and offline computing 
  • Perform intelligent edge computing 
  • Reinforce cybersecurity 
  • (FOTA) Firmware Over The Air updates  


What  Are The Uses Of Gateway in IoT and Edge Computing Framework? 


As the number of IoT devices proliferate, the advancement of artificial intelligence applications, and 5G network, there are more and more interactions and computing executed at the edge. The trend  of edge computing applications is the result of migrating the compute power from the cloud to the edge, closer to where data is being produced. Offloading workloads from the cloud and performing computing right at the edge provides various benefits for more intelligent and mission-critical applications. Edge computing provides a low-latency, better-bandwidth,and offers reliable performance due to the shorter distance data is required to travel.  That being said, IoT gateways assist with the edge computing ecosystem where it handles the data processing from all of the connected IoT devices at the edge.  

What Are The Differences Between An IoT Gateway And A Router? 


Although an IoT Gateway and a router are quite similar, an IoT Gateway does so much more.  Both IoT Gateways and routers work as a bridge that connects different types of devices and communication technologies. These local devices and technologies have different interfaces and protocols that are translated by the gateway to fit the protocols and the interfaces that are used by the external network. For example, your home router bridges the connection between your connected devices and the internet. It translates your Local Area Network into an internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to connect with the Wide Area Network of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). IoT Gateways also support a similar process where it connects your IoT devices to the internet. However, the main differences are IoT Gateways aggregate, processes, and filter data before sending it to the cloud. When processing the data, an IoT Gateway is capable of executing real-time decision-making to manage and control your applications without the need to connect to the cloud. Simply said, IoT Gateway can perform complex tasks during offline and online situations whereas router can only work when it’s online to bridge devices to the internet.    

Why IoT Devices Are Prone To Being Hacked and How IoT Gateways Can Secure Them? 

IoT devices are known to be very prone to cyberattacks. Surprisingly, IoT devices are weak in defenses which, results in being targets for cyber-attacks. Moreover, when your IoT devices experience an attack, this leaves holes for multiple device exposure, leaving the entire ecosystem exposed.   

Utilizing IoT Gateways for your internet of things devices is like installing additional protection layers within the IoT ecosystem to assist with cybersecurity.  An IoT Gateway reduces the number of devices that are connected to the internet since it is more vulnerable for IoT devices to be hacked when they are connected directly to the internet. Moreover, Premio’s industrial IoT Gateway computers are equipped with TPM 2.0 (trusted module platform) that provides end-to-end encryption that secures your data from online and offline threats.  

Benefits Of IoT Gateways 

  • Data Management 
  • Low Bandwidth Consumption 
  • Reduce Latency 
  • Energy Efficient 
  • Cybersecurity 
  • Cost-Effective 
  • Durable and Reliable 
  • Edge Computing 

Data Management – An IoT Gateway manages all the data from IoT devices, sensors, and actuators. It aggregates, processes, and filters data from all of these devices before sending only the most important information to the cloud. It also bridges data that is coming from the cloud when controlling and monitoring the IoT applications from a remote location.  

Lower Bandwidth Consumption – There are hundreds to thousands of IoT devices that are involved in an IoT ecosystem. With so many devices connected to the internet and constantly transmitting data, imagine how much consumption it will take to operate the whole system. IoT Gateways can keep   bandwidth consumption low by pre-processing and managing data from all devices across the system before sending it to an external network.  

Reduce Latency – With the higher efficiency that IoT Gateway has created, the IoT network of devices will connect much faster with the cloud and reduces latency issues. Moreover, with processing data right at the edge, IoT Gateway eliminates latency bottlenecks that appear when IoT devices try to connect to the cloud. An IoT Gateway is much closer to the data source, which improves latency issues.  

Energy-Efficient – With IoT Gateways handling data management, lowering down bandwidth consumption, and reduce latency of the IoT devices, it enables hundreds up to thousands of IoT devices to work efficiently and eventually will require less energy. Having only one IoT gateway to send and receive data from the cloud is much more energy-efficient compared to having multiple IoT devices constantly trying to connect to the cloud.  

Cybersecurity – IoT Gateways improve the security of your IoT ecosystem by reducing the connection points where hackers can target. IoT Gateways also are equipped with multiple security options like the TPM 2.0 to ensure full data encryption. 

Lower Overall Cost – With lower power and internet consumption, IoT Gateways not only increases the efficiency of your IoT applications but also reduces operating costs. Moreover, it reduces downtime risks with more secure and reliable applications which leads to more cost-efficient IoT applications.  

Durable and Reliable – Industrial IoT Gateways are designed to withstand extreme environments that often come with edge computing applications. Built with robust industrial materials, industrial IoT Gateways are much more durable and reliable when being deployed amid tough industrial environments.  

Edge Computing – With more robust processors available on the market, IoT Gateways are configured with high-end specs (CPU, RAM, SSD Storage, GPU, etc.) to perform complex computing algorithms such as Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Artificial Intelligence at the edge. Moreover, with the industrial IoT Gateways, users can deploy them at the most remote and extreme environments for industrial applications such as smart agriculture, fleet telematics, in-vehicle applications, and remote monitoring of Gas & Oil.  


Some Examples of IoT Gateways 

Here are some use cases of real-life IoT Gateway applications:  

Smart Agriculture IoT Gateways 


There are lots of variables that are required to be monitored and controlled in smart agriculture. Various types of IoT devices, sensors, and actuators are installed all around the agriculture site to collect precious data and information about the crops and their environments. These sensors and IoT devices can collect information such as the soil quality, crop growth, UV radiation, humidity, and more information farmers can use to make decisions to improve crop growth. IoT Gateways can also be automated to control the actuators on the farming site such as spraying fertilizer and watering the plant based on the weather conditions to increase the efficiency of the fertilizer and water for the crops.    

In-Vehicle IoT Gateways 


In-vehicle applications such as fleet telematics often require IoT Gateways to manage the data and information gathered from various sensors and IoT devices. The aggregated data and information include vehicle GPS location, travel destination, machinery information, road information, and other information dependent upon what the vehicle mission is. Let’s assume it’s sending frozen food into a remote location. Then, the additional information may be including the storage temperature, radiator performance, and power meter to know how long the cooling can last. All of these insights are collected and managed by the IoT Gateways. IoT Gateways only send important information to improve efficiency, for example, the IoT Gateways only send alerts when the storage temperature decreases significantly instead of continuously transmitting micro changes of the storage temperature. With a constant data stream, adjustments to the storage temperature can be made per valuable feedback from IoT gateways.  

Furthermore, Premio’s Industrial IoT Gateways are tested and validated for CE, FCC, and EMC conformity. Moreover, in-vehicle and transportation systems certifications including E-mark, EN50155, and EN50121-3-2 Railway Compliance are very important especially for countries that are part of the Economic Commission of Europe. Premio’s Industrial IoT Gateways comply these standards to support our customers across the globe in mission-critical applications. 


Industrial IoT Gateways | Why do you need them?  

Internet of things and edge computing applications are often deployed in extreme environments that involve wide temperature, tough shocks, constant vibrations, dust & water exposure, and more. To ensure the success of the deployments, many applications require industrial IoT Gateways. Industrial IoT Gateways are built in small form factor enclosures with low power consumption for compact remote IoT deployments. Here are some key features of some of the best industrial IoT Gateways on the market.  


1. Compact Design


When you hear the word “industrial” you might think that the device with industrial features will be bulky and heavy to make them extra durable. However, industrial IoT Gateways are extremely compact in design thanks to their fanless design that utilizes ultra-conductive heatsinks instead of fans to cool the system. For example, Premio’s BCO-1000 industrial IoT Gateways measured the size of 142mm(W), 101(H), and 30mm(H) with an extremely tiny 0.43L in volume. The BCO-1000 is twice as small as your common household router.

Learn More About The BCO-1000 Mini IoT Gateway

2. Wide Temperature Design


Fanless Industrial IoT Gateways have a wide temperature range with an operating temperature of -40℃ up to 85℃ for extremely cold and hot environments.  


3. Wide Power Design


To cover a wide array of applications from mobile to edge deployments, industrial IoT Gateways are equipped with a wide voltage range from 9V to 50V of DC inputs.  


4. Shock & Vibration Resistance


Shock and vibration are some of the main factors that cause failures in commercial-grade devices. Industrial IoT Gateways can withstand up to 50G of shock and up to 5Grms of vibrations in compliance with the military standard MIL-STD-810G. This feature makes industrial IoT Gateways great for IoT applications that involve frequent shocks and vibrations such as in-vehicle applications and other heavy machinery applications.   



5. Industrial-Grade Components


Industrial IoT Gateways are built with industrial-grade components from their enclosure to their internal components such as power chokes, resistors, motherboard, I/Os, etc. The outer enclosure of industrial IoT Gateways is made from extruded aluminum with heavy-metal molded into a single piece of the enclosure. These extra steps help to reinforce the durability, reliability, and longevity of the device. 


6. Energy Efficiency


Industrial IoT Gateways do not require a lot of energy thanks to their energy-efficient architecture. industrial IoT Gateways are configured with SoC (system on chip) design using Intel’s Celeron J1900 processor, which has a low TDP (thermal design power) of 10 Watts. This offers great flexibility for remote industrial deployments that require low-power IoT Gateways. 


7. Rich Connectivity Options


Industrial IoT Gateways are equipped with rich wireless connectivity features such as 5G/4G LTE, WiFi6, Bluetooth 5.0, and wired connectivity options such as RJ45 and M12 LAN with PoE+ support. They also support legacy analog signals  for such as RS485, RS232, I2C, SPI, DIO, GPIO, and more for most communication flexibility.


8. Security


Industrial IoT Gateways utilize a TPM 2.0 crypto processor to enable cryptographic keys or digital certificates that encrypt data gathered by the industrial IoT Gateways for online and offline security. 

9. Certified To Pass Telemetry To The Cloud


The industrial IoT Gateways offered by Premio Inc are certified to run and pass data telemetry to the leading cloud providers from Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Greengrass and Microsoft Azure IoT.


Where To Get Your Industrial IoT Gateways? 


All things considered, choosing the best industrial IoT Gateways for your industrial IoT applications can be pretty complicated. Here at Premio, we provide engineering experts to help you choose the best technologies for your complex and highly specialized industrial IoT applications. With 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing rugged computing solutions for enterprises, we are confident our expertise will completely transform your businesses for the better. If you are looking for the most advanced rugged industrial IoT Gateway solutions for your applications, we encourage you to contact us!