Get familiar with Azure IoT Hub

The first dilemma that a Software engineer or a Device Layer Engineer runs into while developing an IoT solution is connecting IoT devices plus handling different connectivity issues and scenarios. This is due to the variety of devices that the solution needs to support which bring the IP capabilities and the supported protocols as critical points to deal with.

 

Dive Deeper

IoT Hub by definition is a fully managed service that enables reliable and secure bidirectional communications between millions of IoT devices and a solution back end. The bidirectional communication is one of the key features that the IoT Hub is bringing along since IoT devices are in most cases embedded within more complex system, difficult to reach and hard to update and monitor.

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Figure 1 from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/iot-hub/iot-hub-what-is-iot-hub

IoT Hub is presented by Microsoft as the main entry point to the cloud for all kind of IoT devices. The connectivity architecture handles the variety of device capabilities:

  • IP-Capable
    • Ø Direct connection to the Cloud.
    • Ø Protocols: AMQP, MQTT, HTTPS.

  • Devices + Gateway
    • Ø Connection via Gateway to the Cloud.
    • Ø Supports custom protocols.
    • Ø Security purposes.
  • Low Power Devices + Field Gateway
    • Ø Internet connection is not possible.
    • Ø Specific protocols: Bluetooth, ZigBee…
    • Ø The Field Gateway will handle connectivity and protocol translation.

Why Azure IoT Hub?

Microsoft Azure is already offering a lot services that we can use to handle similar use cases such as Cloud to Device messaging or the other way around however the benefit of using Azure IoT Hub can be resumed to the following:

  • Scales up to millions and simultaneously connected devices
    • Ø No need to manage or scale services.
  • Per device authentication
    • Ø Messages are delivered to aimed device.
    • Ø Per Device identity is embedded into the both communication channels which ensure security.
  • Monitor connectivity status between Device and cloud
    • Ø Feedback and monitoring endpoint that acknowledge each message.
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