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IoT Gateways

Written by Jeff Child

Linking the Edge and Cloud

IoT gateways provide a critical link between sensors at the edge and the cloud. Even as the industry becomes less married to the term “gateway”, IoT gateway functionality is creeping into a variety of box-level embedded systems.

IoT gateways continue to serve an important role in Internet of Things (IoT) implementations. These gateways move data from the edge to the enterprise using common protocols—mostly wireless protocols at the edge. By decoupling data providers and data consumers, IoT implementations reap the benefits of scalability and flexibility enabling them to integrate and consolidate data streams. Today’s crop of IoT gateways are built ready-to-deploy as industrial grade smart devices. They enable communications, computation power, simplified application deployment and M2M platform integration for immediate service generation.

An interesting shift has happened over the past year where the terminology surrounding IoT gateways has become much looser. Many box-level embedded PCs essentially have all the components and features needed to provide IoT gateway functionality. Such systems are often not marketed as IoT gateways, but rather as embedded computer systems that can serve as an IoT gateway. Over the past 12 months, IoT gateway manufacturers have rolled out a steady stream of new products, including both general purpose IoT gateways, and those purpose-built for a specific application segment. As the product gallery in this article shows, the design directions in today’s IoT gateways range from increased ruggedness to smaller sizes to enhanced cloud connectivity.

A gateway was critical in an IoT implementation designed to increase rice production. Kontron worked with a local IoT solutions specialist Abbaco Controls in Malaysia and the effort led to Kontron embedded IoT gateway technology being used in an IoT project to increase rice production on behalf of the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). Rice production uses significant amounts of water. A system was needed to make measurable improvements to the accuracy of actual and predicted water levels, speed of response times, system operational costs, water conservation and rice crop yields (Figure 1). The water supply and demand management system were designed and implemented by Abbaco Controls and features an IoT gateway based on Kontron’s Industrial Computer Platform KBox A-201.

For local data acquisition, this fanless system supports a broad range of industrial interfaces such as 2x Gbit Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, as well as an optional CAN bus and/or Profibus interface, whereas legacy installations benefit from two serial interfaces (RS-232/485). For wireless connection to the cloud or the local network, the Kontron K-Box A-201 mini can be equipped with LTE (4G) and GSM (2G/3G) or Wi-Fi. Three external antenna connectors enable high signal quality.

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Apollo Lake Mini PC Provides
IoT Gateway Functions

The RICH-61D0 from American Portwell Technology is a fanless embedded system featuring an Intel Atom processor N series (formerly Apollo Lake). The compact 113 mm (W) × 41 mm (H) × 135 mm (D) mm chassis platform integrates the M.2 interface which enables wireless connectivity such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, making it an ideal embedded computer or IoT gateway.

• System motherboard: WUX-3350 4×4-inch mini PC board
• Intel Atom 14 nm SoC with Dual/Quad Core
• Dual Channel DDR3L 1866 SO-DIMM up to 8 GB
• Dual display by DP & HDMI up to UHD resolution
• M.2 (E+A Key), SATAIII Port and MicroSD 3.0 socket
• DC-In 12 V ~19 V
• CE/FCC Class B approved

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Cortex-A7 Industrial IoT Gateway is Linux-Ready

Cortex-A7 Industrial IoT Gateway is Linux-Ready
Artila’s Matrix-750 IoT gateway was specifically designed to meet the needs of smaller networks required for remote applications. Built-in layered security functionality ensures that the network stays protected at all times. Additional devices can be added quickly and easily without the need to configure the communication paths. Matrix-750 runs Linux 4.19x on NXP’s 800 MHz, Cortex-A7 based i.MX6 ULL.

• NXP i.MX6ULL Cortex-A7 CPU, Up to 800 MHz
• Linux kernel 4.19.x with boot loader and file system
• 512 MB LvDDR3 SDRAM
• 2x 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface
• 1x USB OTG port
• 1x RS-485 / RS232 serial port
• 2x digital Input, 2x digital out
• 1x full size mini PCIe socket inside

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RPi Gateway Offers Cellular, Zigbee, Z-Wave or LoRa

Avnet’s SmartEdge Industrial IoT Gateway is an industrial gateway powered by Raspberry Pi. The gateway enables seamless and secure connectivity to the cloud through Avnet’s IoT Connect platform running on Microsoft Azure, and is well suited for developing industrial automation applications such as, remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, process control and automation.

• Raspberry Pi’s Broadcom BCM2837 SoC
• On-board 8 GB eMMC flash
• 2 USB Ports, Isolated RS-232/485/Modbus, CAN, and Digital I/O
• mPCIe slot (cellular)
• -20°C to 70°C temperature range
• On-board Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0)
• Optional Zigbee, Z-Wave or LoRa

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Rugged IoT Gateway Facilitates Quick Deployment

The IFB125 from Axiomtek is a DIN-rail industrial IoT gateway powered by the NXP i.MX6UL processor with the ARM Cortex-A7 microarchitecture. This compact IoT gateway is designed for versatility of use and quick deployment. The IFB125 is suitable for a variety of applications including applications that require remote control and monitoring management.

• NXP 528 MHz i.MX 6UltraLite processor
• 256 MB DDR3 SDRAM onboard
• 8 GB eMMC flash onboard
• 1x SPI, 1x I2C, 1 wireless (Wi-Fi or 3G/4G)
• 2 digital inputs and 1 digital output
• 9 VDC to 48 VDC input range with terminal block
• Embedded Linux operating system (Yocto)
• Fanless design
• Wide operating temperature range from -40°C to +70°C

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Flexible Gateway Embeds Qseven Module

The Conga-IoT 2 from Congatec is a highly flexible IoT gateway that embeds an Atom Quad Core-based Qseven module. This application ready platform is easily customizable for rapid field deployment.

• Conga-QA5 Qseven Module
• Dual-channel 4 GB DDR3L memory
• Internal: 2x USB 2.0, 1x M.2 card slot, 6x mini PCIe (USB 2.0),
2x mSATA
• External: 2x LAN 10/100, 1x PoE support
• Connector for external 19 VDC PSU
• 4x RP-SMA antenna connectors
• 4x SMA antenna connectors
• Operating temp. commercial:
0 to +40°C
• Operating temp. extended:
-20°C to +50°C

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Flexible Gateway Embeds Qseven Module

The Conga-IoT 2 from Congatec is a highly flexible IoT gateway that embeds an Atom Quad Core-based Qseven module. This application ready platform is easily customizable for rapid field deployment.

• Conga-QA5 Qseven Module
• Dual-channel 4 GB DDR3L memory
• Internal: 2x USB 2.0, 1x M.2 card slot, 6x mini PCIe (USB 2.0),
2x mSATA
• External: 2x LAN 10/100, 1x PoE support
• Connector for external 19 VDC PSU
• 4x RP-SMA antenna connectors
• 4x SMA antenna connectors
• Operating temp. commercial:
0 to +40°C
• Operating temp. extended:
-20°C to +50°C

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Rugged IoT Gateways is Based on RPi CM3

Kontron’s KBox A-330-RPI is and IoT gateway based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, the latest COM version of the Raspberry Pi. It supplies a quad-core, Cortex-A53 Broadcom BCM2837 SoC (typically clocked to 1.2 GHz) with a 400 MHz VideoCore IV GPU. The unit compatible with the established Raspberry Pi standards and has been enhanced with industrial features.

• Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3
• 1 GB soldered LPDDR2 RAM
and 4 GB eMMC
• 2x USB ports and 2x 10/100 “Fast” Ethernet ports
• PoE option via the Raspberry Pi PoE HAT
• micro-HDMI (RPI) ports with 1080p video support
• RS232 and a choice of RS485 or CAN
• 4x digital I/O
• RPi HAT compatible GPIO header
• Form factor: 111 mm x 76 mm x 25 mm

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LoRaWAN Gateway Offers a Choice of Processors

The GW-01 from M2M IOT is an open source LoRa gateway compatible with LoRaWAN protocol. The unit consists of two boards. The top board is based on the SX1301, an 8 channel LoRa concentrator that implements LoRa physical interface. The bottom card is an OrangePi Zero H2+ 256 Mb development board and base board. The GW-01 follows a similar GW-01 RPI add-on for the Raspberry Pi and an i.MX6 ULL based GW-01 PoE gateway.

• Temperature range from 0°C to 70°C;
• Frequency: 868 MHz or 915 MHz
• External antenna
• Ethernet 10/100
• 80 mm × 50 mm × 20 mm without antenna
• IC SX1301 (8 channel LoRa concentrator)
• Range: 2.5 km among buildings, up to 10 km in open space

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LoRaWAN Gateway Offers a Choice of Processors

The GW-01 from M2M IOT is an open source LoRa gateway compatible with LoRaWAN protocol. The unit consists of two boards. The top board is based on the SX1301, an 8 channel LoRa concentrator that implements LoRa physical interface. The bottom card is an OrangePi Zero H2+ 256 Mb development board and base board. The GW-01 follows a similar GW-01 RPI add-on for the Raspberry Pi and an i.MX6 ULL based GW-01 PoE gateway.

• Temperature range from 0°C to 70°C;
• Frequency: 868 MHz or 915 MHz
• External antenna
• Ethernet 10/100
• 80 mm × 50 mm × 20 mm without antenna
• IC SX1301 (8 channel LoRa concentrator)
• Range: 2.5 km among buildings, up to 10 km in open space

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