As interest in moving towards a ‘more connected world’ mounts (close to 8.4 billion connected devices will be in active use by the end of this year), total investments in Internet of Things (IoT) also continues to soar. Reports from a recent survey have revealed that, by 2020, B2B expenses on IoT devices, applications and technologies will move to just a shade under $270 billion. The combined CAGR of IoT spendings (on utilities, transportation and manufacturing) stood at an impressive 18.0% last year – and the corresponding stat for 2017-2020 will be around the 20% mark. The remarkable growth of Internet of Things, in turn, puts the importance of high-powered IoT gateways under the spotlight.
What Exactly Is A IoT Gateway?
To function effectively, IoT devices require a tool on which all types of data – tracked by smart devices, sensors and related equipments – can be reported via the web. In addition, there is also the need for a platform on which IoT technologies with different protocols can seamlessly interact with each other (generally, for information sharing). IoT Gateways perform both these tasks, effectively serving as a communication bridge between the various Internet of Things tools and devices on one hand, and the cloud network on the other. The main function of a gateway is, hence, establishing and maintaining a strong, reliable connection between the field (devices) and the cloud – ensuring superior control over the active IoT tools, and ensuring enhanced data storage and information processing capabilities.
The Best IoT Gateways Out There
Let us now turn our attentions to some of the popular IoT gateways currently available. There are certain differences in the features and configurations of the different gateways, and we will focus on that here:
Dell Edge Gateway 500
An excellent IoT gateway, with its USP being the cost-effective solutions that it delivers. The underlying OS for this series of Dell gateways is Ubuntu Core 15.04 – and it can be easily mounted on walls as well as DIN-Rail. This feature, in fact, makes the Dell Edge 500 usable both in industrial as well as commercial ecosystems. The gateway draws its power from its robust built-in processor (Intel Atom E3825). Presence of a 32GB solid state hard drive is yet another high point of the Dell Edge 500 series, and it also comes with DDR3L (2GB) memory space. The usability of this IoT Gateway is significantly enhanced by its support for extreme operating temperatures (compatible temperature range: -30 degrees centigrade to 70 degrees centigrade). The hard drive is also compatible with M.2 SATA.
ReliaGate 20-25 (Eurotech)
The ReliaGate 20-25 features among the series of high-performance Eurotech IoT gateways. This one, designed on the basis of the proprietary Everyware Software Framework or ESF, is particularly suitable for rough industrial environments. The gateway offers fast and smooth Everyware Cloud integration, excellent security and hardware diagnostics options, and powerful remote access capabilities. ReliaGate 20-25 also has high-quality Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity (the ReliaCELL 10-20 module has to be plugged in for the connectivity) and offers interesting customization opportunities as well. Once again, the gateway works within a wide range of operating temperatures (-40 to 65 degrees centigrade).
Note: The Everyware framework of ReliaGate 20-25 is the built-for-enterprises version of the Eclipse Kura open-source gateway middleware.
HPE Edgeline Gateways
Two different models of the Edgeline IoT gateways have been brought to the market by Hewlett-Packard (the 10 and the 20). Both have the certification to function in collaboration with the Microsoft Azure IoT – and they run on the Core i5 processor (from Intel). The key advantage of these gateways is the tight security of all data at the network edges. To improve overall performance levels, density levels and power – the Edgeline IoT gateways are geared to work with the HP Moonshot architecture. The setup of the Edgeline gateways is customized for quicker collection, aggregation and analysis of important data/figures – while there are high-powered data management features in them too. Different versions of these gateways (rack-mounted, rugged, mobile) are available.
Huawei AR Series IoT Gateways
The AR series gateways from Huawei operate as high-powered IoT routers – and are particularly suited for video monitoring, manufacturing, transportation, power utilities and other outdoor operations. For Ethernet control and advanced Smart Grid operations, the AR2500 Agile Gateways are the best-suited, while the AR502 Gateways are ideal for retaining functionality under challenging conditions (e.g., temperature and humidity extremes and electromagnetic disturbances). For network integration and sharing via virtualization, the AR3600 gateways (with x86 design) are useful. The AR510, on the other hand, is a powerful gateway for multimedia and video services in different indoor and outdoor locations (including ‘connected cars’). The AR509, AR530 and AR160-M Agile gateways are also designed by Huawei – and each of them offer discrete advantages.
Cisco 910 Router
The smart cities market is among the fastest-growing sub-sectors under Internet of Things. According to a recent report, the value of the worldwide smart cities sector will go beyond the $1.4 trillion mark by the end of this decade. The Cisco 910 IoT gateway router, with its rugged designs, has been built to support high-end smart city applications, in particular. Glitch-free fog computing is one of the best features of the router – and the latter gets this capability thanks to the on-board memory capability and the excellent horsepower support. An extended array of wireless technologies (with sensors) can be used with the Cisco gateway, due to the latter’s cutting-edge modular slot design. Different RF bands are also supported. From smart parking and smart lights, to environment tracking and asset monitoring – the Cisco 910 is adept for all that, and much more.
Adlink MXE-5400i Gateways
This series of IoT gateways from Adlink comes with official certification from Microsoft Azure, and are powered by the fourth-generation Intel Core (i3, i5, i7) processor. The performance levels of the gateway are further boosted by the presence of the Wind River IDP and the robust QM87 chipset. Tests have confirmed that the MXE-5400i series of gateways excels in terms of processor performance, while keeping the overall power usage under check. To ensure the security of IoT apps, data and software, the Intel vPro technology is in-built within the gateway, along with the Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA) by Adlink. Built with rugged design, the operating temperature range for the Adlink gateways is -20 degrees centigrade to 60 degrees centigrade (fanless operation). Cable-free construction and vibration resistance are two other additional benefits that these gateways have on offer.
Note: Adlink also has the MXE-100i and MXE-200i series of IoT gateways, along with the Intelligent IoT Gateway Starter Kit.
Powered by the Intelligent Gateway concept, the IoT Gateways from Advantech deliver high performance levels, and rank high on the reliability count. The WISE-3310 gateway serves as an advanced industrial IoT platform – with built in support for 200 wireless nodes. The processor powering this gateway is Freescale i.MX6 Dual Cortex 1 GHz, and Linux 3.10.17 is embedded into the hardware (the embedded modules can be changed). The fanless underlying design and the power-saving mode make this Advantech gateway ideal for deployment in varying M2M/IoT scenarios. This gateway abides by the IEEE 802.15.4e and the 6LoWPAN standards.
B-Scada Wireless Ethernet Gateway
Unlike most of the IoT gateways listed above, this one offers end-to-end, real-time, wireless sensing solutions. This gateway can work in three different frequency levels – 433MHz, 868 MHz and 915MHz. One of the biggest advantage of the B-Scada gateway lies in the fact that it allows sensor data to be remotely pulled and accessed from any location (since the gateway guarantees constant communication between the cloud server and the wireless sensors). To establish connection with the B-Scada online servers, all that has to be done is plugging the IoT gateway inside any internet-enabled open network port. A maximum of 50 sensors can be supported by a single gateway.
Note: All B-Scada wireless sensing hardware have the plug-&-play feature pre-configured in them.
FlexaGate FG400 IoT Analytics Gateway
This gateway (from Flexaware) is focused on in-depth analysis of IoT analytics data. The analysing speed (of data from IoT sensors, equipments, etc.) is bolstered by the top-notch Ethernet input (RJ45 8×10 Gbps) and Ethernet output (RJ45 1×1 Gbps) capabilities. The FlexaGate gateway is particularly useful in environments where web connectivity is weak and/or unreliable, and consumption of storage area or cloud bandwidth is a point of concern. The gateway functions on the basis of a distributed memory architecture, and has handy ‘passive cooling’ features. Apart from being high on performance, the FlexaGate FG400 also minimizes processing, memory and bandwidth costs.
Kontron KBox A-201
One of the featured KBox series of IoT gateways by Kontron, the A-201 has the powerful Intel Quark X1011 built-in processor – and comes in a wide range of hardware interfaces. Multiple mounting options are available for this gateway, including desktop mounting and cabinet mounting (in addition to DIN RAIL). The 15G shock resistance of the device enhances its usability in a big way – while it is also compatible with extreme operating temperatures (-40 degrees centigrade to 55 degrees centigrade). This KBox gateway has a batteryless and fanless design, with soldered memory (the design is called ‘wartungsfrei’) and works best as a multi-featured industrial computing platform. Cost-effectiveness is yet another high point of this gateway.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, there are several other high-quality IoT gateways – like the Sierra Wireless products, the Lantronix gateways and the AAEON tool (AIOT-QG). Fujitsu, Amazon Web Services, Bosch, ARM – all feature among top IoT companies in the world at present. For successful, large-scale implementation of Internet of Things, availability of advanced, reliable IoT gateways is an absolute must – and each of the gateways discussed here offers powerful features to users.