The Internet of Things and Networking

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 27, 2016 2:26:02 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in ConnectSense, connectsense, gateway, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, Nathan Rockershousen, networking, smart home, Wi-Fi, wifi

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to grow at a rapid pace as more devices are becoming connected. However, the IoT is rendered useless without a system of networking to support it. As WiFi-enabled devices increase in popularity, the demand for networking will expand substantially. IoT-based technology is disrupting the current networking market due to vast amount of data that is collected and the quantity of devices connected to the Internet. Companies will be expected to have extremely efficient networks that will allow for real time analysis. In addition to this, simply having faster Internet speeds is essential in supporting the rise of IoT devices.

One of the developing applications of IoT devices is found within the smart home. Smart technology devices require extremely fast networks. The IoT-enabled ConnectSense sensors and Smart Outlet rely on networking to enable machine-to-machine communication. Your ConnectSense products collect large quantities of data in order to provide you with accurate and efficient analysis. Improving the ConnectSense cloud is one of the ways Grid Connect is able to help you adapt to the implementation of IoT devices in your home. The best way to fulfill the necessity of having a fast network is by creating quicker router speeds and ensuring that WiFi is able to be accessed everywhere in the home with a more advanced networking framework.

A strong network is essential for the use of various IoT products, whether it’s a smart home device, a piece of wearable technology, or even if it’s for an industrial application. Managing your network can be accomplished with the use of a Grid Connect gateway device to improve USB, serial, or custom sensor connections. Gateways and other networking devices can help improve networking abilities in order to support the demanding nature of connected and data-driven devices. Finding a perfect network configuration will compensate for whatever quantity of data your IoT devices are bringing in.

It is clear that the impact the IoT is having on networking is only going to expand as the demand for a more connected and efficient world continues to increase. Having quality control of networks will allow for an improved customer experience. Creating networks that can handle a great deal of traffic and data will allow you to be prepared for the IoT’s disruption of the networking market.

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New Product Alert: CloudGate 3G/4G LTE Cellular Kits (Serial, Ethernet or WiFi)

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 13, 2015 8:27:32 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 3G, 4G, ablet, cellular, cellular networks, CloudGate, CloudGate Universe, Ethernet, gateway, General, GPS, hardware, home servers, LAN, Local Area Network, LTE, monitor, PCt, Products, Serial, smartphone, software, Wireless Wide Area Network, WWAN, watchdogs, wifi

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cgThe CloudGate Kits (Serial, Ethernet, WiFi) provided by Grid Connect are comprised of all the CloudGate components required to move local data to the cloud via 3G/LTE cellular data.

The CloudGate Gateway provides cost effective Local Area Network (LAN) to Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) routing with GPS functionality built in. The CloudGate base unit is a compact, reliable, secure, and flexible solution to move critical data to the cloud. The CloudGate Gateway supports both 3G and 4G LTE wireless data interfaces and is certified on all major US cellular networks.

The Gateway is also easy to configure locally or remotely from a PC, tablet or Smartphone. CloudGate automatically resolves common problems associated with wireless machine to machine connectivity. Built-in software and hardware watchdogs continuously monitor each component of the product and its connectivity to home servers. In the event an issue is detected, the product proactively takes steps to re-establish connectivity. All software and configuration images are protected with digital signatures and have dual rollback images that allow the product to revert to previous working settings if an issue is detected. All management functions are protected by certificate and/or password based security mechanisms and all management actions take place over hardware-assisted encrypted links.

The CloudGate Gateway is supported by the CloudGate Universe provisioning system. An automated cloud provisioning system means that each CloudGate can be set with its own custom configuration and image that is automatically loaded from the cloud when the unit initially connects to the Internet.

For more information, and ordering options visit our website by clicking here.

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Putting User Interface at the Start of Your IoT Design Process

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 9, 2015 10:35:25 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in app, connected devices, data, gateway, General, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT design, IoT devices, laptop, LCD, LCD display, LED, LED display, module, network, product design, smart homeg, smart phones, soft access point, soft AP, tablet, UI, user interface, UX, Wi-Fi, White Papers, Wi-Fi modules, wifi

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How are your buyers going to interface with your product?

This is one of the toughest aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) product design right now. Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them and options for connected devices are numerous.

User interface options for IoT design range from using a smart home panel or gateway to an on-product LCD/LED display. The LCD/LED display can then be paired with LEDs or push buttons. In addition, apps to monitor and control connected devices can be web-based or available for on-the-go consumers with smart phones.

To determine what kind of user interface your product design needs, you must consider two things:

  1. The type of product
  2. The use-cases for this product

For example, is this product going to be used strictly in one location or on the go? Will it need to by physically touched to work or will it need to be operated remotely or both? Where will the user want to see the information that the device is collecting and how are they going to use that data?

Wi-Fi-enabled IoT devices may also have the ability to act as a soft access point (soft AP) to allow a user to “join” its network locally with a smart phone, laptop or tablet. Soft APs make product LED/LCD displays unnecessary since the screen of the connected device will serve the same purpose. Using a soft AP does not preclude the module from also connecting to the Internet and cloud-based services with some Wi-Fi modules though. This dual-mode is very attractive because the user can access the product remotely and locally, depending on the features and use-cases for the product.

So, what interface will provide the best user experience for your buyers? This needs to be one of the first questions you ask when designing a product for the IoT in order to provide the easiest and overall best experience for your customers.

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10 Internet of Things design considerations

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 6, 2015 10:25:24 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in antenna, Apple HomeKit, Bluetooth, cloud applications, communication, consumers, cost, Embedded Computing Design, Ethernet, FCC certification, Featured In, gateway, General, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT device, manufacturers, network, networking, networking technologies, power source, router, security, smart products, SSL, technology, Wi-Fi, wifi, Wireless

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Connecting products to the Internet of Things (IoT) is essential to manufacturers looking to stay competitive within their industry. Adding IoT capabilities gives consumers more features. It also allows the manufacturer to stay connected with their customer while discovering new product use cases and applications that open them up to new revenue streams. When designing your first IoT device, there are 10 things to keep in mind...

Read more at Embedded Computing Design or download the PDF now.

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Antenna and Cloud

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 26, 2015 2:08:13 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in access point, antenna, antenna design, bill of materials, BOM, ceramic, circuit board, Cloud, cloud applications, coaxial pigtail, companies, connector, data exchange, end-to-end solutions, gateway, General, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT applications, IoT communications, IoT-enabled device, IPEX, mating connector, metal housing, module manufacturers, on-board chip, pin-out, radio frequencies, radios, router, standard protocol, trace, U.FL, whip, wire, wireless technologies, White Papers, wireless signal

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7. Antenna

Most IoT products use wireless technologies to connect with the world. The type and number of wireless technologies used will impact the type and number of antennas needed. For example, 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios all may have different requirements for antenna design.

Module manufacturers often provide multiple options for antennas, such as an on-board chip or ceramic antennas. They may also offer a wire (or “whip”) antenna, a “trace” antenna, or a “pin-out” so the manufacturer can add their own antenna (either internal or external connector elsewhere on the circuit board). In addition manufacturers may offer U.FL (also called IPEX) connectors for external. In this case, the connection from the U.FL connector to the external antenna is accomplished with a short coaxial “pigtail” that has the mating U.FL connector on one end and the mating connector for the antenna on the other end. The costs of the pigtail and antenna are often overlooked but need to be included in a manufacturer’s BOM for their designs.

When selecting between internal and external antennas, designers must consider the material (metal, plastic, etc.) of the housing and the potential placement of the product within a home or business. If a product is placed behind a couch or under a desk, it may have difficulty getting a wireless signal from the nearest gateway, access point, or router. Metal housings almost always require an external antenna design because the metal in the housing greatly reduces the amount of radio frequencies getting in or out of the housing.

8. Cloud

By definition, most IoT applications include some Cloud-based component. Many manufacturers entering the IoT space are new to Cloud development, which makes decision-making for Cloud applications, such as how and when a product will connect to the Cloud, difficult.

“How” an IoT-enabled device communicates with a cloud application refers to what protocol is being used to communicate with the Cloud. Many early IoT implementations followed a proprietary protocol, where the device manufacturer implements its own protocol to communicate with its cloud applications. Recently, more companies have become aware that a standard protocol is needed for IoT communications to be successful and have started providing third party, end-to-end solutions with platforms to develop and host applications.

“When” an IoT device connects to the cloud, refers to the frequency of data exchange with the cloud application. Devices that are always on (connected to a power supply) can easily stay connected to the cloud constantly. This improves the ability to be “near real time” when communicating with the Cloud application. Battery-powered devices often only connect to the internet and send data periodically in order to conserve battery life. In this case there is a delay, as the device has to re-establish its connection to the wireless router and then to the Cloud server. Battery-powered devices should also consider a “heart-beat,” so that the device connects to the Cloud application periodically without an event to trigger it. This allows the application to know the device is still online and has power or battery-life remaining for when an event does occur.

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>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

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10 Internet of Things (IoT) Design Considerations: Cost and Network

[fa icon='calendar'] Jan 5, 2015 7:22:39 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in BLE, Bluetooth, Bluetooth 4.0, Bluetooth Alliance, cellular, cellular service provider network, Cloud, connectded devices, cost, Ethernet, gateway, General, hardwares, internet, Internet of Things, internet protocol suite, IoT, IoT capabilities, IoT-enabled, manufacturers, manufacturing costs, mesh network, modules, network, oftware, TCP/IP, technology, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Alliance, Z-Wave, ZigBee, ZigBee Coordinator, White Papers, Wireless, Z-Wave Alliance, ZigBee Alliance

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1. Cost

Connecting products to the Internet of Things (IoT) is essential to manufacturers looking to stay competitive within their industry. Adding IoT capabilities gives consumers more features. It also allows the manufacturer to stay connected with their customer while discovering new product use cases and applications that open them up to new revenue streams. These added benefits for both parties come with a cost though. Connected devices come with higher manufacturing costs but can also be sold with a higher price tag as well.

Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections can be added to products for less than $10 in bill of materials costs. Other technologies, such as ZigBee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth, can be added for a lower price but may require a separate bridge device to get that device on the Internet to access Cloud services.

2. Network

Manufacturers have many hardware and software options when it comes to network technology for their IoT-enabled products. Some devices can be directly connected to the Internet using networking such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi, which are based on the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP). Other products may use wireless technologies; some of which include TCP/IP, but in the end will require a “gateway” to convert the chosen network to either Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Some of the many technologies available include:

10 IoT Design Considerations - Network Technology

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>  For more information, please call Grid Connect Inc. at +1 (630) 245-1445, or email us at iot@gridconnect.com.

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