The Huawei EC-IoT Solution enables objects to connect to the Internet and communicate with each other, while enabling convenient network management and maintenance.
The rise of the IoT has necessitated a network revolution. According to a report issued by the Integrated Data Center (IDC), in the future:
- 40% of IoT traffic will be handled at the edge
- 79% of IoT traffic will be transmitted through gateways
- 50% of network traffic will originate from the IoT
- The IoT will bring about a connectivity index of 50 billion
The EC-IoT Solution, composed of the IoT operating system LiteOS, Agile Controller, and Agile IoT gateways, applies Software-Defined Networking (SDN) architecture to the IoT, creating smart connections.
LiteOS is a lightweight and open source IoT operating system, similar to Windows and Android. LiteOS provides zero-touch configuration, automatic discovery, and self-networking capability, allowing its IoT terminals to connect to a network automatically. Compared with other IoT operating systems, LiteOS responds 20% faster at the 10 to 6 level, with 75% smaller size and 80% less power consumption. LiteOS provides a unified development platform that allows partners to rapidly build their IoT products, so as to jointly promote the development of the IoT.
Huawei’s EC-IoT Solution has four architectural layers:
- Sensor and actuator layer: Deploys a large number of sensors, control components (such as switches), measurement components (such as electrical meters), and communication components that can be isolated or integrated with other components
- Network convergence layer: Enables convergence and connectivity. In addition to network connection and management, it provides edge computing, on-site handling, and local survival. Local survival and on-site handling services are critical to IoT operations, especially for large industrial and civil facilities. With the development of cloud computing, more and more data is processed in data centers. The IoT must ensure the survival of partitioned networks when the public network experiences an interruption. Protocol conversion is also a significant function at this layer. In the IoT field, protocols need to be converted on gateways so that data is uniformly transmitted on the IP network
- Management and controller layer: Uniformly processes data from gateways and then sends the data to the application layer. The management and control layer also manages lower-layer networks, sensors, control components, and measurement components, and provides automatic tools for network deployment and configuration, ensuring data integrity
- Service application layer: Deploys various industry applications
Huawei focuses on the network convergence layer and management and control layer, provides Agile IoT gateways and Agile Controller, and involves the sensor and actuator layer. Sensors and industry applications are provided by Huawei’s partners.
Agile Controller and Agile Gateway
The architecture of Huawei’s EC-IoT Solution has an Agile Controller, similar to that in Huawei’s Agile Network. The Agile Controller is based on open source architecture like the Agile Controller of the data center and agile branch.
Agile Controller is built on the controller platform of the agile network. With distributed deployment capability and scalability, Agile Controller enables one server to expand smoothly to multiple servers and one Virtual Machine (VM) to hundreds of VMs, without detection of capacity expansion and scalability. Agile Controller also supports standard southbound and northbound interfaces.
As an emerging field related to various industry sectors, the IoT requires intervention from a myriad of vendors, partners, and customers with different backgrounds and professional knowledge. Huawei can provide a complete solution only after integrating these resources. Therefore, open interfaces and platforms are indispensable for building an industry chain.
Because the IoT manages thousands of or even millions of devices, the management system must support higher scalability and smooth capacity expansion. Agile Controller can perfectly meet such requirements.
Huawei’s Agile Controller provides the following management functions:
- Device management: Uniformly manages and authenticates IoT terminals and gateways
- Computing resource management: Manages and distributes computing resources of IoT gateways, including creating and managing VMs
- Application management: Downloads, installs, and maintains gateway applications
- Data management: Handles encapsulation protocols of IoT terminals’ data and manages aggregation data of terminals
In light of the projected rise in IoT traffic, the importance of gateways is self-evident. In the IoT age, gateways are facing a series of challenges:
- Environmental adaptability: IoT gateways are industrial-grade products that need to resist water, dust, and electromagnetic interference in various application scenarios
- Support for abundant interfaces: IoT gateways need to support various interfaces that are rarely seen in the telecommunication field (such as RF, ZigBee, PLC, and RS485)
- Need for various protocols: IoT protocols are only used by end components and are seldom used on traditional networks. Traditional routers and gateways cannot meet the need for these protocols
- Need for local intelligence: IoT gateways need to provide edge computing, edge decision-making, and local survival. When the public network is disconnected, IoT gateways still must be able to provide services for the downstream devices without depending on the upper-layer network
Huawei’s Agile IoT gateway overcomes these challenges by providing a variety of interfaces, a large number of protocols, resilient adaptability, and a high degree of intelligence.
- Variety of interfaces: Provides more than 17 types of IoT interfaces (including RF, ZigBee, Bluetooth, RS485, RS232, DI, and DO interfaces) to meet different connectivity requirements in all scenarios
- Large number of protocols: Provides various industry standards and protocols to meet different interconnection requirements. It can dynamically load protocols on the Agile Controller according to specific requirements so as to interconnect with new and proprietary protocols
- Resilient adaptability: Uses industrial-grade design to resist water, dust, vibration, and electromagnetic interference, and ensures operation at a wide range of temperatures to meet requirements in different application environments
- High degree of intelligence: Provides multiple open modes based on Linux, Android, and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) through Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology so as to implement distributed computing on network edge nodes. Hence, different types of applications can run on the agile gateway, making low-delay and local survival possible
The agile IoT gateway functions with industrial switches, industrial routers, and ICT converged gateways.
- Industrial switch: Provides high-density interfaces, works over a wide range of temperatures, withstands strong electromagnetic interference, and offers zero switchover delay
- Industrial router: Integrates multiple functions, provides various interfaces and protocols, resists against electromagnetic interference, and works across a broad spectrum of temperature
- ICT converged gateway: Provides local computing and storage, multimedia play, virtualization (Linux/Android/KVM), and abundant interfaces and protocols