IoT Gateways


Before starting to talk about IoT Gateways, we need to understand first the IoT; in a book called "Learning Internet of things", peter waher say that the IoT is what we get when we connect Things (which are not operated by humans) to the internet. the Things in IoT, depending on the system, can be sensors or actuators, or devices. For me, I would say that the internet of things (IoT) refers to the set of devices and systems that interconnect real-world sensors, actuators, and devices to the internet.

When we start the design to move any system to be an Internet of Things (IoT) system, we find ourselves with the challenge of integrating things with different connectivity methods, using different protocols, varying power, and even legacy and old technologies. The IoT Gateways is the solution for this big problem!

IoT Gateway is a solution to enabling IoT communication and integration for many things depending on the system, it is a hardware device that has the power to communicate with it, and performs essential tasks when the system on edge computing (where the system offline for example). The most simple mirror example of this solution is the router in the home of the office, you connect using WiFi to the router and the router connect to the network using a wire, your smartphone has WiFi only solution to connect to the internet, and you use a router to connect to the internet by WiFi! is so simple! the same thing with IoT Gateway, if you have a sensor that uses Bluetooth only to communicate so you should use an IoT gateway that performs the communication with Bluetooth, and you develop a software bridge to link between Date from Sensor via Bluetooth to the internet. 

IoT Gateway can also perform other local features for us with IoT data, like filtering, visualization, storing, and analytics.  

There is a beautiful open-source implementation of IoT gateway for smart home, developed by Mozilla but now move to be an independent project, you can test it using Raspberry pi board or a Linux distribution (Ubuntu ...) in your computer because it has implementation inside Docker container, more info here

If you are a Hobbyist and you want to build your first IoT Gateway, you can use language like NodeJS (It so powerful) inside an embedded Linux device (like Raspberry pi board) or in your computer (you just prototyping!), make a Webserver with it and try to connect sensors and actuators that have a different method of communication (and other things) to it using the hardware and software adaptations to display the status of it in the webserver, try to find a method to access to it outside your local network (via the internet).

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