What Should You Look For In An Edge Gateway?

Edge gateways are becoming increasingly important as data processing and analysis move closer to the endpoints that collect it. Here’s what to look for in edge gateways and what can supply them.

Edge computing has emerged as an effective technique for enterprises with extensive IoT deployments to process sensor data close to where it is generated. Edge computing minimizes the latency involved with transporting data from a remote site to a centralized data center or the cloud for processing, reduces WAN bandwidth costs, and handles data security, privacy, and autonomy concerns.

Here are among the most important questions to ask while looking for an edge gateway.

Is the edge gateway currently or potentially interoperable with the application- and network interfaces in my infrastructure?

MQTT, ZeroMQ, CoAP, AMQP, and DDS are examples of application layer protocols (Distributed Data Service). Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Bluetooth, BLE), Z-Wave, and LoRaWAN are all networking technologies. And 5G is undoubtedly on the horizon. Then there are industrial automation network protocols like Modbus, BACnet, CANbus, and LonWorks.

The edge gateway must be able to speak various languages, combine all of the data, and create a unified picture of what’s going on the factory floor, in the oil field, or throughout the smart city.

Look for just an edge gateway that offers data-at-rest encryption, boot time integrity checks, and hardware and software identity management. Edge gateways should be included in any Zero Trust deployment, which provides stringent authentication and authorization, or secure access service edge (SASE), which combines SD-WAN and security.

Is the edge gateway hardened?

Placing compute resources at the edge has several advantages, but the gateways must be engineered to withstand adverse circumstances such as high heat or cold, vibrations, pressure, dust, filth, moisture, and so on. In addition, the gateway must perform when cloud access is limited or sporadic. Based on the deployment environment, you may also wish to inquire whether the gateway is available in a wall-mounted configuration.

Is the gateway designed to use open standards?

Given the fledgling nature of edge deployments in general, as well as the fact that the gateway must communicate with all of the other parts of the edge model, it’s probably best to maintain as many alternatives open as possible, which means standard protocols.

For example, the Linux Foundation’s LF Edge, an umbrella organization that involves multiple open-source, edge-related projects such as EdgeX Foundry (based on code originally written internally by Dell and then open-sourced and donated to the Linux Foundation), and Akraino Edge Stack, is gaining traction. These software products, many of which are still in development, are intended to provide an architecture for the edge in the future.

What is the edge gateway management system?

If you plan to install edge gateways in the whole of your manufacturing plants throughout the world, you’ll need to be able to handle them securely, remotely, and quickly. Look for companies that provide close interaction between the gateway and a cloud-based administration dashboard.

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