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Introduction of Gateways
  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 04 Mar, 2021

Gateways as the name suggest are one kind of gate (passage) that connects smart objects to the servers by application of fog computing. 

In IoT, Gateways are network hardware that an application/system uses for interacting with the server

  1. Gateways make communication between the application and the server feasible by connecting them altogether through a network tube, an imaginary tube that is believed to exist between the application and the server and constituted by network waves through which data transmission takes place.
  2. A request about a certain amount of data is made by the user end and then the server finds and processes data accordingly with the request.
  3. The transmission is made via network tubes through the server to the gateway and then the gateway to the application that made a request for data.
  4. Gateways are considered to be the backbone for preserving the intelligence as well as the storage capacity of the Smart device altogether without compromising on the loss of the duo.
  5. Gateways do this by application of Fog computing, on which a brief is provided below that helps you to get an overview of the deal between Gateways and Fog Computing and the whole data processing thing.

Gateways

Why It Is Important to Learn About Gateways?
Gateway is not just hardware but a program in itself as important as other aspects of the Internet of Things. Gateways are designed as a passage for data transfer and the more intelligent a gateway could be, the more secure gateways could be, the more approachable the gateways could be, the more sophisticated the programming and designing of gateways could be, the more approachable and user-friendly internet of things be and the users could access and enjoy the smart objects in their life more easily. 

If gateways could be understood and made in a manner that makes their potential, accessibility, and user-friendliness to the mark, there could be prominent growth and more security on the Internet of Things. For instance, think of a gateway connected to the smart refrigerator, so now all functions like requesting for data and sending data wherever needed could be done through the gateway itself, and if somebody could get access to the gateway he/she could steal, modify or hinder data. Also, if the gateway could be accessed without authority consent, it could be manipulated by a false server and data could be sent where it should not, and thus machine learning algorithms could verify all of it by various methods. 



Features Of Gateways :
Gateways provide a wide variety of features. Some of which are:

  1. Gateways work as a network bridge for data transmission as it makes the transmission of data possible to transmit with more ease and does not demand high storage capacity.
  2. Gateways create a structural temporary storeroom for the data transmitted by the server and data requests made by the user end.
  3. Gateways made the transmission more feasible as it queued up all the data and divide it into small packets of data rather than sending it bulk. Data transmitted through Gateway is divided into various useful and small packets each having its individual significance and a role to play while processing data.
  4. Gateways made the data more secure if the modifications to the gateway could be done which than could create more reliability over smart devices.
  5. Gateways optimize the data for search engines, applications, and servers by implanting better readability to the content so that a machine could understand and optimize data with ease.

Types Of Gateways :
There is not any specification of gateways in the commercial market other than being brand specific. But on the feasibility, performance, speed, and workability gateways can be classified in a broad manner as:

  1. High Bandwidth Gateways –
    These Gateways are meant for a more complex and intelligent Internet of Things or when there are lots of data to be processed and transmitted and a lot of smart devices to be handled once a time. These gateways could process data with more speed and flexibility and are able to handle more data at a time. Gateways basically are not categorized as such in the market, but various brands have certain specifications through which it could be decided either the gateway is of high bandwidth or not.
  2. Low Bandwidth Gateway –
    These Gateways are really the best choice while choosing a simple smart object or when you want to handle a single device once at a time. These Gateways are usually cheap and are easy going with simple smart devices, and usually need a sink* for more feasibility. They are really awesome if want a cheap solution to your data transmission.

NOTE: sink*- A sink is a device that connects various gateways to it and then the sink to the server for easy facilitation of the networking. It is a kind of gateway to gateways.    
 

How Gateways Work :
This is a sequential description of the working of gateway that will guide you through how data rolls in and out through the gateway:

  1. The user end’s application made a request for a certain amount of data via its portal to the gateway. For example, A smart door made a request for the data type: “password” and send this request to the gateway.
  2. The gateway sends this request for a password to the server.
  3. The server receives the request and search for the data type: “password” for a certain “id” and made the data “password” transfer to the gateway.
  4. The data is then sent to the smart door interface where it is matched with the data entered for data type: “password”. If these two data matches then the door gets unlocked.

Advantages Of Gateways :
The gateways provide the following advantages to the user:

  1. It is possible through gateways that smart objects rely on fog computing for data transfer between user and server.
  2. Gateways provide a way for the feasibility of smart objects without reducing the intelligence of objects as there is no need to transfer the intelligence of objects on the server-side hence preserving performance and accessibility
  3. Gateways make the use of smart objects energy-efficient as data transfers do not rely on the smart device and transfers between devices and gateways are possible through low energy options like BLE, ZigBee, or Bluetooth.
  4. Gateways open a new technology to the world, i.e., fog computing.
  5. Gateways could add an extra layer of security to the data if certain modifications added to them.
  6. Gateways make data encryption, data analysis, and handling possible so that a new phase of smart objects is available to users.
  7. Gateways drive industries to innovate and make it possible for industries to grow more.
  8. Gateways led industry and set up an employment opportunity as if development to gateways is made there are more people brainstorming to make gateways more feasible and overcome limitations.

Limitations Of Gateways :
There are few limitations of gateways as well. Here are some of them:

  1. Gateways need to device-specific as multiple attachments are not possible to single gateways and there is a need for a sink for this purpose.
  2. Gateways are not data handling master but just are used for data transfers.
  3. Gateways do not validate the sources of data request and user and also could not predict the behavior from the data.
  4. Gateways are just task-specific and not learners.
  5. Gateways add an unavoidable expense to your daily life if you want your lifestyle IoT-driven.
  6. Gateways need extra space in your space.
  7. They want special attention for maintenance sometimes.
  8. More featured gateways could even make a hole in your pocket if you are looking for something cheap.
  9. A sink is needed for the feasibility of a lot of gateways.

Overcoming Limitations Of Gateways :
Through the following steps, limitations of the gateways could be overcome:

  1. Programming the gateways –
    A question that arises here is why program a gateway? The answer is simple, a much better gateway gives much better results on data sharing and the more intelligently smart objects could work. Now another question arises “How to program a gateway”. The answer is that gateways could be programed by machine learning algorithms so that data transfers could be done more easily and quickly.
    1. Machine Learning algorithms could tell the gateways to transfer data more efficiently and also instruct the gateways to transfer data according to the need of servers.
    2. Through machine learning algorithms, we could use one gateway only for many devices as now data division and transfers could be managed through Machine Learning algorithms.
    3. For instance, think of a gateway connected to the refrigerator, if somebody wants that his data for food and his data for his cat food should be sent to an organization that keeps track of food habits, all needed to be done is incorporate the two devices whizz, the smart refrigerator and the smart food pot of cat to a single gateway as only one sever is needed to be accessed for these two data sets.
  2. Securing the gateways by cyber-attacks –
    One of the major concerns that hinder everybody’s mind when sharing data over the internet is cybersecurity or simply “How data could be safe over the internet”. Although, Smart objects and Fog computing are safe to use what happens if the data could be stolen through the path or simply saying what if it could be stolen through the gateway. Might it not be possible this time, but as technology advances and new ways are built, new cyber-attack techniques, phishing methods, DOS attacks, and cybercrime also advances and find ways to stole data. Might stealing data from the path and fooling the user end be possible. In that case, the best security way could be providing your data with a watchman, in this case securing the gateways and applying filters and security checks on that platform could prove a game-changer.
    1. Machine Learning algorithms could be applied which could validate the sources asking for information, scan for any unwanted data from the server or user end, check for the amount of data required against the amount of data accessed, and could tell for any possible frauds, threats, or any other security-related issues, thus making smart objects not only smart but also more secure.
    2. For instance, if a machine learning algorithm is incorporated in the gateway, what it would do is whenever a server request is made to the gateway, it would check its list of severs and make a match for it, if the match is all correct then it would allow data transfer otherwise not.
    3. Also, machine learning algorithms would check on how and what data is requested by what source.
    4. For instance, a food survey company would inquire only the data on monthly basis and would not need e-payment details of the user, so machine learning could sense the way data is sent, less or more frequently and what data sent, food details only and could impose a security threat if something wrong is detected
  3. Making gateways learn –
    One of the major concerns is to make a machine learn something because if this could happen programmer need not program, again and again, the machine and he/she could rely on the machine more than ever. But now a question arises here is what gateways need to be learned and how? The answer is fascinating as if this could happen a major limitation of gateways could overcome and smart objects could also get a benefit of intelligence and also this would promote the smart objects.
    1. Gateways need to learn how to consume Internet service and power for their utilities and how could they conserve both by accessing smarter ways.
    2. Through Machine learning algorithms, gateways could make sense of when they are not in use and could save on power by disconnecting them with power source and device.
    3. Also, through machine learning algorithms gateways could send the data more efficiently by reducing internet consumption by enabling smart ways for data transfers, making disconnection to internet services when not needed, and much more.
    4. For instance, think of gateway connected to the smart refrigerator, machine learning algorithms could sense if there is no request made for several minutes and also it could set a time when all data for the whole day could be collected at once and so it could turn itself on sleeping mode (stand by) and also disconnecting itself from device thus saving on energy and then could reconnect it when needed.
  4. Need for sink –
    This limitation could be overcome by using such gateways that provide more data transmission power and more storage that could be expensive but would save on space.

Conclusion :
Gateways are the backbone for the future of Smart objects and computing. Through gateway design, one could make smart objects more accessible, secure, and relevant. Gateways, as seen, are not that much simple and holds some major breakthrough in their design. Gateways could be the reason for the popularity of smart objects and a building block for a smart world. These could be the leaders of emerging technologies and their design could make the smart objects stand in a long run.  Gateways if combined with modern era technologies could turn the tables and make the witness of a new era.

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