Expertise

7 min reading

11 June 2024

11 June 2024

How to Choose the Right Industrial IoT Gateway: 16 Answers to Help You Pick the Best Option

How to Choose the Right Industrial IoT Gateway: 16 Answers to Help You Pick the Best Option
How to Choose the Right Industrial IoT Gateway: 16 Answers to Help You Pick the Best Option
Summary

If you’re taking the first steps into launching your Industrial IoT (IIoT) project or looking to optimize your existing infrastructure, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re here to help you and explain how to choose an industrial IoT gateway.

Choosing the right IoT gateway can be challenging if you’re not an expert. With so many options out on the market today, all claiming to be the best, it’s hard to know where to start. What questions should you ask your vendor? And what product features should you prioritize?

With more than 20 years of expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry and having completed over 650 successful projects, we’ve noticed that businesses often face challenges in ensuring reliable data collection, seamlessly integrating with existing systems, and maintaining optimal performance in harsh environments. These challenges can lead to inefficiencies, increased costs, and potential long-term problems in achieving your project objectives. It’s not something you expect to get, right?

In this article, we aim to simplify the process of selecting the right gateway by providing valuable insights and practical tips. After reading it, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions that align with your project goals and requirements.

So let’s dive into the world of IIoT gateways together and empower your IoT initiatives for success.

Industrial IoT Solutions

Key considerations for choosing an Industrial IoT gateway

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 16 key considerations and collected some interesting insights that could help you make the right decision. These points cover various important aspects for evaluating and choosing the best IIoT gateway tailored to your specific needs and deployment requirements.

Let’s have a look at what factors you should keep in mind when selecting the right Industrial IoT gateway solution for your project.

1. How robust does your Industrial gateway have to be? 

When you’re considering how rugged your IIoT gateway needs to be, it’s crucial to factor in the environment where it’ll be deployed. If it’s going into harsh conditions with extreme temperatures, humidity, or a lot of dust, you’ll need a gateway that’s built to withstand these challenges.

Over our 20 years of experience, we’ve noticed the impact of choosing cheaper options in tough environments. Many companies find themselves replacing their gateways every 6 to 7 months, resulting in significant annual costs.

That’s where TEKTELIC’s KONA Mega Ex gateway comes in. Designed specifically for rugged industrial environments, the KONA Mega Ex is engineered with a carrier-grade design, making it the right choice for harsh conditions without compromising performance. With TEKTELIC’s robust IoT gateway solution, you can rest assured that your IoT infrastructure remains reliable and cost-effective, even in the toughest environments for 10+ years.

2. Which connectivity options, interfaces, and protocols does the gateway provide?

When evaluating an Industrial IoT (IIoT) gateway, consider the connectivity options, interfaces, and protocols it offers. Assess your project requirements to determine which connectivity technologies are essential. Look for gateways that support a variety of options, such as Ethernet, Wi-Fi, cellular, and LoRaWAN, to ensure compatibility with your existing infrastructure and future expansion needs.

Ensure that the gateway provides interfaces like RS-232, RS-485, and digital I/O, allowing seamless integration with diverse industrial devices and sensors. Additionally, verify that the gateway supports industry-standard protocols like MQTT, Modbus, and SNMP, facilitating interoperability with different systems and applications.

Choosing a IIoT gateway with flexible connections and communication methods ensures smooth operations and gets the most out of your IoT setup.

3. What is the final purpose of the gateway (indoor, outdoor, extreme conditions)?

Consider where you’ll deploy the gateway. Is it in protected indoor environments, braving the elements outside, or enduring extreme conditions like heat, cold, or dust? The purpose of your gateway determines its durability and features. Indoor gateways might focus more on data processing power, while outdoor ones need to withstand weather. If you’re dealing with harsh environments, look for rugged solutions that can withstand any environment and operate reliably for many years.

Outdoor equipment should also withstand electromagnetic interference from lightning strikes and other sources. Besides, it must comply with recognized lightning protection and grounding standards. Proper grounding, antenna protection, and interface protection are key to ensuring the smooth operation and longevity of your gateway.

Gateways should undergo thorough testing to meet and exceed the requirements of the “four corners,” i.e., maximum and minimum temperature and voltage. This type of reliability testing eliminates any hardware, software, or digital design flaws, guaranteeing long-term operation and superior radio performance.

At TEKTELIC, we conduct a number of tests to ensure our gateways can easily work in conditions such as extreme heat (+60°C) with intense solar radiation (+15°C) or freezing temperatures with ice and snow (-40°C).

Below is a great example of the KONA Macro deployed in extreme freeze conditions, demonstrating its resilience and ability to continue operating reliably despite the challenging weather conditions.

Carrier Grade Gateways

4. How does it Integrate with an existing platform?

When you’re thinking about how a gateway works with your existing setup, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Compatibility: Make sure the gateway can work with what you already have, like your devices and software. Check if it uses common standards that your systems understand.
  2. Interoperability: Look for a gateway that can easily connect with different devices and systems. This flexibility helps your setup grow and adapt.
  3. API Support: Check whether the gateway offers robust API support for easy integration with third-party applications and services. This makes it simpler to add new features or connect with other tools you use.
  4. Data Management: Check how the gateway deals with your data—storing it, sorting it, and making sense of it. You want it to handle your information in a way that’s organized and useful.
  5. Security: Look into how the gateway keeps your data secure. It should have strong protections to keep your information safe from any threats.

By considering these things, you can pick a right IIoT gateway that fits well with what you already have and helps your IoT plans go smoothly.

5. Are the Gateway instructions well documented?

Documentation might not be the first thing on your mind when choosing a gateway, but trust us, it’s crucial. Here’s why:

  1. Ease of Use: Well-documented instructions make setup and configuration a breeze. Clear guidance helps you avoid errors and get the most out of your device.
  2. Troubleshooting: Good documentation includes troubleshooting guides, saving you time and frustration when issues arise.
  3. Training and Support: It shows the manufacturer values support, offering resources to understand their products better.
  4. Future Maintenance: Detailed instructions help with updates or repairs down the line, ensuring smooth operation.
  5. User Experience: Clear documentation leads to a positive experience, instilling confidence in the product and the manufacturer.

Before deciding, ask your gateway vendor to share with you the documentation to ensure it meets your needs and expectations.

6. What are the built-in security features or settings of the gateway?

Industrial, carrier-grade LoRaWAN gateways come equipped with strong security measures to protect LoRaWAN networks. Communication between gateways and devices is encrypted using AES-128 algorithms, ensuring that only authorized devices can join the network.
TEKTELIC gateways employ a layered approach to security, including secure coding practices, disabling unnecessary applications and services, configuring available services with secure defaults (such as using TLS 1.2/1.3 and disabling outdated ciphers in SSH and TLS), and blocking all unused ports with a firewall.
Regular firmware updates, which are signed to ensure authenticity, help keep the gateways secure. Secure management interfaces allow authorized personnel to configure and monitor operations safely.

7. Where will the gateways be installed?

Selecting the right location for your gateway installation is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Choosing a bad location could lead to several issues, including signal interference, connectivity issues, exposure to extreme weather conditions, physical damage or tampering, and limited access for maintenance. To avoid these potential problems, consider the following recommendations:

  1. Conduct a site survey to identify potential sources of signal interference, such as electronic equipment or structures that could obstruct the signal.
  2. Choose a location that provides reliable connectivity to your network infrastructure, ensuring seamless communication between devices.
  3. Shield the gateway from exposure to extreme weather conditions by installing it in a weatherproof enclosure or selecting a location with adequate shelter.
  4. Place the gateway in a secure area to prevent physical damage or tampering, such as theft or vandalism.
  5. Ensure easy access for maintenance and troubleshooting by selecting a location that is easily accessible to authorized personnel.

Discuss the deployment options with your vendor and ask for their assistance in finding the most suitable location for your gateway installation.

Carrier Grade Outdoor Gateway

8. Is the connectivity range enough for your deployment?

Determining if the gateway’s signal range suits your needs is key for smooth communication across your project area. You don’t want dead zones! Think about the size of your area, how many devices you’ll have, and if there are any obstacles that could block signals.

To assess if the connectivity range is sufficient, take into account the size of the deployment area, the density of devices, and any potential signal obstacles. Conducting a thorough site survey can help pinpoint connectivity challenges and ensure that the selected gateway delivers reliable coverage throughout the deployment area.

At TEKTELIC, we recognize the significance of robust connectivity for your IoT project. Our team offers expert consultation and support to assist you in selecting a gateway with the optimal connectivity range for your deployment.

9. Can it keep up with Edge computing?

Making sure your Industrial IoT gateway can handle edge computing is essential for processing data right where it’s generated in industrial settings. Edge computing allows for quick data analysis and decision-making, cutting down on delays and improving efficiency.

To check if a gateway supports edge computing, look at its processing power, storage space, and if it works with industrial-grade edge computing systems. You want a gateway that can handle computing tasks at the edge, like running applications and algorithms directly where the data is collected.

Also, see if the gateway works with specific industrial edge computing platforms. These platforms are designed for industrial IoT and can help integrate the gateway smoothly into your existing systems.

So what are the main benefits:

  1. Increased bandwidth: Only relevant data is transmitted, reducing physical and cost limitations associated with transmitting large amounts of data.
  2. Reduced latency: Crucial for time-sensitive applications like occupancy sensing and cameras, edge computing delivers near real-time responses, minimizing delays.
  3. Enhanced cost-efficiency: Processing data locally reduces the volume of data stored in cloud-based locations, resulting in cost savings.
  4. Improved reliability: By minimizing interruptions caused by network congestion, edge computing enhances the reliability of data transmission and processing.

10. What are the Customization options?

When selecting a LoRaWAN gateway, various customization options can be considered to meet specific requirements and use cases. These options include support for different frequency bands to comply with the regional regulations of the deployment region, antenna variations to optimize coverage and range based on the deployment environment, and diverse enclosure and mounting options tailored to the specific deployment.

Gateways can also offer flexibility in power supply, supporting AC, DC, or PoE options depending on deployment scenarios. Backhaul connectivity interfaces such as Ethernet, LTE, Wi-Fi or even Satellite connectivity can be customized to integrate with existing infrastructure. Integration with IoT platforms, enhanced security features, and remote management tools further enhance customization possibilities.

For TEKTELIC Gateways specifically, all global ISM bands are supported, and the highly-selective cavity bandpass filters are tuned according to the frequency of the region where the Gateway will be deployed.

TEKTELIC Gateways can be purchased with a wide selection of antennas , cables and other accessories to provide a tailored solution for the customer’s specific deployment. Multiple power and backhaul options are always available to seamlessly integrate with existing infrastructure and reduce the complexity of the deployment.

The TEKTELIC KONA Element OA&M (Operations, Administration and Management) can also be utilized for full remote management of the Gateway being deployed from anywhere in the world.

11. How much information does the gateway have to get from the sensors?

A LoRaWAN gateway needs some key details from a LoRaWAN device. First, it needs a unique ID (DevEUI) for the device, which helps it recognize and keep track of each device on the network. Then, there’s an ID for the network itself (AppEUI), making sure messages go to the right place.

They also share a secret key (AppKey) for encrypting messages, keeping communication safe. Each device gets its own address within the network (Dev Address), like a home address for messages. Plus, there are special keys they both use to check if messages are genuine (AppSKey and NwkSkey).

These keys help prevent any unauthorized access or unwanted messages. Lastly, the gateway needs to know what the device can do and how fast it can send data, so it can adjust accordingly for smooth communication.

In addition to all of this, there is the actual telemetry data being send by the device into the network. Telemetry data includes various sensor readings or device status updates, depending on the specific application and use case. This data can include temperature, humidity, pressure, location information, or any other parameters the device is designed to monitor.

The gateway forwards this telemetry data to the network server, where it can be processed, analyzed, and acted upon as needed. This telemetry data is crucial for IoT applications, allowing users to monitor and manage devices remotely, gather insights, and make informed decisions based on real-time data.

12. Is it necessary to filter the data gathered by the sensors?

Filtering the data collected by sensors is important for making sure an Industrial IoT gateway works efficiently. This means only keeping the most important information and getting rid of the rest.

By doing this, the gateway can use less internet space and work faster. It also helps to make sure that only the most useful information is stored, saving money and making analysis more accurate. Filtering data helps to keep things running smoothly and makes it easier to understand what’s happening with your IoT devices.

Overall, while it might not always be required, filtering data is a smart move for getting the most out of your Industrial IoT gateway.

Best Outdoor Gateway

13. How much data can the gateway store?

The amount of data an Industrial IoT gateway can store is vital for holding sensor information before sending it to other systems. Here’s what to consider:

  • Onboard Storage: Evaluate the gateway’s built-in storage capacity. Ensure it aligns with your data volume requirements.
  • Expandable Storage: Look for gateways that support additional storage options, such as memory cards or USB drives. This flexibility allows for scalability as data needs grow.
  • Data Retention Policies: Determine how long the gateway can retain data before purging it. This feature is essential for compliance and historical analysis purposes.
  • Remote Accessibility: Ensure ease of access to stored data, even remotely. This capability enables efficient data retrieval and analysis from any location.

14. Is the gateway approved by the highest standards?

This is a very important point to discuss with your vendor. You should make sure that an Industrial IoT gateway you’re choosing meets the highest standards is crucial for reliability and safety.

Look for certifications like UL, CE, or FCC, which indicate that the gateway has passed rigorous testing and meets industry regulations. These certifications assure that the gateway is safe to use and won’t cause any interference with other devices.

Additionally, check if the gateway complies with industry-specific standards like IEC 62443 for cybersecurity. Choosing a gateway with these approvals provides peace of mind and ensures that your industrial operations remain secure and compliant with regulations.

At TEKTELIC, we prioritize adherence to the highest industry standards in the design and development of our Industrial IoT gateways. Our products undergo thorough testing and certification processes to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and standards.

15. Is the cost within your budget?

Did you know that the cost of gateways is just a small part of the total expenses for LPWAN networks? Most of the money goes into installation, maintenance, and running the network. So, when you’re thinking about buying an Industrial IoT gateway, it’s not just about the price tag. You need to consider all the hidden costs too, like setting it up and keeping it running.

It might seem tempting to go for the cheapest option, but investing in a more expensive gateway can save you money in the long run. Want to know how? For example, a slightly more expensive gateway might have better performance and require less maintenance, leading to savings over time.

Additionally, high-quality gateways ensure efficient data processing and seamless connectivity. Investing in such gateways reduces the risk of failures, downtime, and costly repairs or replacements, ultimately lowering the total cost of ownership over time. By prioritizing reliability and durability, you ensure the longevity and efficiency of your LPWAN network, leading to improved ROI and operational effectiveness.Costs of LPWAN Deployments

16. What is the return on investment (ROI) that you’re looking for?

Deploying a LoRaWAN network yields a substantial return on investment (ROI) by enabling efficient IoT solutions across various industries and use cases. LoRaWAN’s long-range, low-power capabilities optimize operational processes, leading to cost savings through improved asset tracking, predictive maintenance, resource utilization and more. LoRaWAN networks facilitate data-driven decision-making, enhancing productivity and driving revenue growth through innovative services and business models.

Additionally, deploying a carrier-grade LoRaWAN gateway enhances ROI further. These gateways offer superior reliability, performance, and scalability compared to consumer-grade options, ensuring consistent connectivity, data integrity, and compliance with regulatory requirements. With advanced remote monitoring features and professional support, carrier-grade gateways minimize downtime, reduce operational risks, and streamline integration with existing infrastructure, maximizing the ROI of LoRaWAN deployments.

TEKTELIC and TWTG collaboration for the Oil and Gas industry

TWTG is a leading provider of Industrial IoT solutions, specializing in the Oil and Gas industry.

One of the key challenges in this sector is automating the monitoring and data collection processes across vast fields. Because the manual methods are slow and risky as they lack continuous monitoring.

Gateway Mounting Outdoor

To address these challenges, TWTG has selected TEKTELIC’s KONA Macro gateways to deploy a reliable LoRaWAN network connectivity. KONA Macro gateways ensure real-time data transmission, critical for efficient operations in complex environments.

With TEKTELIC gateways, you could easily benefit from fewer gateways number installations, reducing initial deployment and ongoing operational costs by 30-50%. Also, our gateways are engineered with essential features like ESD protection, lightning protection, and resistance to harsh environmental conditions. This ensures durability and reliability in demanding industrial settings.

Industrial Gateway

Which technologies should you consider for your Industrial IoT project?

When planning your Industrial IoT project, consider key technologies that can enhance the capabilities of TEKTELIC’s Industrial Gateway. LoRaWAN is great for long-range, low-power communication, perfect for connecting many devices over large areas. Edge computing allows for quick data processing on-site, reducing delays and improving real-time decision-making. Using AI and machine learning can help with predictive maintenance and advanced analytics, boosting operational efficiency. Cloud integration is important for scalable data storage and easy real-time data access. Lastly, strong cybersecurity measures are essential to protect your data and network. By using these technologies, you can ensure reliable, efficient, and secure connectivity, enhancing the overall performance and ROI of your Industrial IoT deployment.

Besi Industrial Gateways

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to choose an IoT gateway?

1. Understand Your Requirements

Identify the specific needs of your project, such as the types of devices and data volume.

2. Connectivity Options

Ensure the gateway supports the necessary communication protocols like LoRaWAN, Wi-Fi, or cellular.

3. Range and Coverage

Choose a gateway with sufficient range to cover your deployment area without dead zones.

4. Processing Power

Select a gateway with adequate processing power for your edge computing needs.

5. Scalability

Opt for a gateway that can scale with your network as it grows.

6. Security Features

Ensure the gateway has robust security features to protect your data and network.

7. Reliability and Durability

Choose a gateway known for its reliability and ability to withstand harsh environments.

8. Power Supply Options

Consider the power requirements and availability, whether it’s battery, solar, or mains-powered.

9. Vendor Support

Look for a vendor that offers strong support and documentation to help with installation and troubleshooting.

10. Cost

Evaluate the total cost of ownership, including initial costs, maintenance, and potential hidden expenses.

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