Internet of Things end to end networking demands

Posted on January 4, 2015 10:14 am

The coming week sees the start of consumer electronics show in Las Vegas and just like the recent events, the Internet of Things latest tech will be at the forefront of event exhibitors. Talking to a Melbourne based gizmo expert who will attend the event few days back, there was a consensus between us that Internet of Things will facilitate the need for engineers to look at end-to-end network solutions far beyond that of data center.In Australia, there are recent studies that suggest it will place huge demands on nodes and the network infrastructure than ever before, creating significant engineering challenges. However, building such a network will require efficient use of silicon at every stage that meets both performance and budgetary requirements.To comprehend the network challenges that Internet of Things brings, it is important to appreciate the scale and the diverse locations in which data will be collected and then sent to the data center. In Las Vegas Consumer Electronic show 2015, there are those who’ve now accepted that an Internet of Things will be one of the key drivers for the big data phenomenon and are looking forward to what exhibitors will display during the event.

However, what is often ignored is the means by which data will be transported from the sensors to the data center. This includes challenges such as the last mile, insufficient networking technologies, a significant increase in base station processing and storage requirements, and bringing new technologies for interconnect and workload efficient processing at the data center. Traditionally, the Internet’s last mile has been houses and micro offices and stable locations that primarily require downstream bandwidth. But over the past five years this has expanded to smartphones and tablets, increasing the need for upstream bandwidth.Wireless networking standards such as WiMax and Long Term Evolution, also known as 4G networks, have sought to increase bandwidth and decrease latency to the end user.While deployment of LTE networks may be patchy, they serve as an indicator of how network requirements are changing in order to provide higher levels of quality of service.To improve performance of Internet of Things, 4G base stations will require more processing power and system memory, making 64-bit processors a requirement for packet routing and caching content at the network edge. The goal is to lower latency and utilization on the backhaul link, while delivering users content much faster.Due to the significant financial investment needed to deploy high bandwidth wireless networks, these networks are usually deployed in areas where operators see potential for high revenue and not those in remote locations where sensors will need to be. The need for integrity, whether it be the accurate reporting of data or the secure transmission of data from source to data center will be critical to the creation of a true Internet of things.

The base station has to handle all encryption duties in real time to preserve quality of service posing significant computation requirements. Not only is the computation requirement significant, but when allied to the fact that these processors will have to be rugged and meet low power utilization, one can start to appreciate the challenge of designing an efficient data transport mechanism from the field to the data center is not trivial one, and especially since the challenges don’t stop once the data has entered the data center.Once in the data center, that data has to be processed across devices via an interconnect into meaningful information. According to a Finnish networking expert, not all interconnects within the data center are equal, as different protocols excel at certain workloads.An efficient compute fabric will manage the transport of granular data within the data center, using lightweight protocols that provide optimal bandwidth and latency. Traditional network topologies have revolved around a central switch. However, point-to-point fabrics allow for nodes to directly communicate with each other, bypassing the need for an external switch and decreasing latency.Internet of Things will push the boundaries of computation and networking technology to allow data capture in hostile locations and provide a high performance, resilient and secure data path for millions of sensors.

Contador Harrison