Solution Considerations for IoT Gateways

The IoT (Internet of Things) Gateways are the raw data processing and transmission devices. These gateways are the communication points between sensors and the Cloud. Data coming from the sensors pass through the Gateways to reach to the Cloud.

In the IoT technical literature, and particularly in architectural documents, IoT gateways are also known as ‘control tiers’. These devices can be implemented as hardware or software solutions.

The primary purpose of these gateways is to minimise the high volume of data generated by the sensors. Some IoT gateways have additional intelligence for analysing data and only send the relevant data to the Cloud storage units.

Some IoT gateways also provide additional security mechanisms, such as adding encrypted transmissions. As IoT Solution Architects, we need to pay special attention to these devices and factor in the performance, availability, security, and cost-effectiveness criteria in our solutions.

Considering smarter gateways in IoT solutions is vital in terms of data performance. These gateways can perform important tasks such as averaging data and making more effective calculations, even before the data sets are transferred to the analytics servers.

Gateways can connect to the Internet directly or via edge devices. However, as an architectural principle, processing raw data should be performed by the edge devices to improve performance efficiency, and in particular, prevent network latency and data transmission delays in the ecosystem.

It can be useful to make an architectural decision in the solution document to find out why the Internet can sometimes be either directly accessed by the gateway or only through the edge device. There can be specific considerations for each use case of the IoT gateways. These considerations need to be articulated in the IoT solution document as an architectural decision.

Determining decisions related to Iot Gateways upfront and obtain consensus from relevant stakeholders (particularly subject matter experts) on these decisions can yield many benefits when the IoT solution goes to production support and started being consumed.

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