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Dr Mehmet Yildiz
Importance of Protocols And Standards For IoT Solutions
An overview of IoT (Internet of Things) protocols and standards for high-performance, secure and cost-effective IoT solutions.
In this article, my goal is to create awareness of IoT (Internet of Things) protocols and standards and highlight their importance for creating IoT solutions. I work as a technical consultant, architect and design to support complex digital transformation projects in large business organizations.
Protocols and standards are critical for the success of digital transformation projects. Solution architects and designers need to know these protocols and standards. Other technical team members also need to be aware of the.
Even project managers and scrum masters should have a basic understanding of these protocols and standards. If something goes wrong in the design and implementation of them everything else goes wrong.
I give specific emphasis on protocols such as 5G and LPWAN as they are widespread across the globe. They are critical enablers of IoT solutions.
IoT is an emerging and rapidly growing technology spreading across all aspects of our lives. It is already and will be even as important as the Internet itself. IoT is one of the critical contributors to artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing.
Due to the complexity and comprehensive scope of IoT ecosystems, we need to understand relevant standards and protocols for developing solutions.
IoT solutions require new standard devices, protocols, and communication mechanisms. There are several standards developed by various organisations. It is essential to understand the IoT standards offered by established organisations such as IEEE, IETF, and ITU.
IoT solution architects and designers need to understand and consider the following five established IoT standards in solutions:
IoT Data Link Standards
IoT MAC Standards
IoT Routing Standards
IoT Network Standards
IoT Transport Layer Standards
IoT Management Standards
There are additional IoT standards developed by Open-source organisations such as The Open Group. The IoT work-group has, thus far, produced two Open Group IoT standards for the IoT lifecycle management. These life-cycle management standards are called O-DF (Open Data Format) and the O-MI (Open Messaging Interface).
Another large organisation providing IoT standards is the LoRa Alliance, which is a non-profit association supporting more than 500-member companies. There are also other organisations, such as The Things Network, which provide a set of open tools and a global open network to build maximum security and ready to scale IoT applications at low cost.
IoT Standard Protocols
IoT solutions require several standard protocols and newly developed IoT specific protocols. While architecting IoT protocols in our solutions, we need to consider long-range communication systems and protocols such as LPWAN (Low-Power Wide Area Network). LPWAN is a kind of wireless protocol operating at a low bit rate. LPWAN enables long-range communications between connected IoT devices to a Cloud system using wireless gateways.
LPWAN is known to have low energy requirements. On the IoT marketplace, you may hear a lot about LoRaWAN deployments. IT is an LPWAN protocol that connects IoT devices using LoRa Wireless Technology. LoRa can be used for both public and private deployments. It runs on unlicensed frequencies globally. The economic value of LoRa is that it can enable a long battery life for a multitude of devices in the IoT ecosystems. Another advantage of using LoRaWAN is extending it up to 30 km in flat areas.
One of the critical protocols worth mentioning related to IoT is Sigfox. It uses UNB (Ultra NarrowBand). Sigfox signals have spectral efficiency and can reduce any potential noise. Sigfox also offers a long battery life, which, consequently, may have a positive impact on cost management for our IoT solutions. Sigfox is a global company based in France. Their offerings need to be considered in our solution options from the perspectives of cost-effectiveness, performance, and availability requirements of our IoT solutions.
Talking of protocols from a performance perspective, we cannot move on without mentioning 5G. The promise of 5G sounds so compelling that it has already become popular due to its significant performance-boosting capabilities for data communications.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular wireless protocol. In the very near future, the launch of 5G connectivity can show lucrative business value for our IoT solutions. As you know, at present, most IoT deployments use 4G, which poses insufficient capabilities when dealing with large volumes of streaming data generated by a large number of scattered IoT devices.
Considering the constraints of 4G for performance, there is a growing focus on 5G as a promising enabler of futuristic IoT capabilities. Industry analyses depict that 5G can create more IoT-friendly ecosystems.
Some of the significant benefits of 5G are to speed up data transmission and reduce network latency dramatically.
In addition, the introduction of 5G could bring potentially around 90% reduction in network energy usage. We definitely need to consider 5G in our business-critical future IoT solutions to boost the required performance.
Edge and Cloud Computing Protocols
There are also Edge and Cloud Computing protocols, especially Middleware-related protocols, that we need to consider for various business use cases.
Some important ones are STOMP (Simple Text Oriented Messaging Protocol), MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport), CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) and AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol). While STOMP, MQTT, and CoAP focus on increasing availability and performance for resource-poor environments. AMQP is more focused on increasing security.
I created a simple list to easily remember the protocols which can be considered in our IoT solutions based on nine broad categories. The list below contains the most popular protocols as options which can be used in IoT solutions.
As IoT solution architects, knowing the pros and cons of these protocols and coherently architecting and integrating them into our solutions can be beneficial.
This knowledge can help us make better architectural, design, and deployment decisions as far as IoT protocols and standards are considered in our high performance, secure, and cost-effective solutions. Performance, security, and cost are the key items in the agenda of business executives.
Here is a layered overview of the protocols.
Discovery: mDNS, DNS-SD
Session Layer: HTTP, MQTT, COAP, AMQP, XMPP
Communications and Transport: Bluetooth, LPWAN, Wifi
Identification: uCode, IPv6, URIs, EPC
Network Layer: 6LoWPAN, 6TiSCH, 6Lo, IPv6 over G.9959, IPv6 over Bluetooth Low Energy, RPL, CORPL, CARP
Data Link Layer: Zigbee Smart Energy, Sigfox, LTE-A, LoRaWAN, WirelessHART, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy, DASH7, HomePlug, G.9959Weightless, DECT/ULE, IEEE 802.15.4e, IEEE 802.11
Related to standards and protocols, we also need to consider APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), communication patterns, and application-level communications which I plan to discuss in a separate article soon.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also check my other technical articles on News Break.
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