Physical design of Internet of Things (IoT) – Networking Funda

Topic: Physical design of Internet of Things (IoT)

Physical design of Internet of Things (IoT)-The Internet of Things will become part of the fabric of everyday life. It will become part of our overall infrastructure just like water, electricity, telephone, TV and most recently the Internet. Whereas the current Internet typically connects full-scale computers, the Internet of Things (as part of the Future Internet) will connect everyday objects with a strong integration into the physical world.

1.  Plug and Play Integration

  • If we look at IoT-related technology available today, there is a huge heterogeneity. It is typically deployed for very specific purposes and the configuration requires significant technical knowledge and may be cumbersome. To achieve a true Internet of Things we need to move away from such small-scale, vertical application silos, towards a horizontal infrastructure on which a variety of applications can run simultaneously. This is only possible if connecting a thing to the Internet of Things becomes as simple as plugging it in and switching it on. Such plug-and-play functionality requires an infrastructure that supports it, starting from the networking level and going beyond it to the application level. This is closely related to the aspects discussed in the section on autonomy.
  • On the networking level, the plug & play functionality has to enable communication, features like the ones provided by IPv6 are in the directions to help in this process. Suitable infrastructure components have then to be discovered to enable the integration into the Internet of Things. This includes announcing the functionalities provided, such as what can be sensed or what can be actuated.

2.    Infrastructure Functionality-The infrastructure needs to support applications in finding the things required. An application may run anywhere, including on the things themselves. Finding things is not limited to the start-up time of an application. Automatic adaptation is needed whenever relevant new things become available, things become unavailable or the status of things changes. The infrastructure has to support the monitoring of such changes and the adaptation that is required as a result of the changes.

3.  Semantic Modeling of Things-To reaches the full potential of the Internet of Things, semantic information regarding the things, the information they can provide, or the actions they can perform need to be available. It is not sufficient to know that there is a temperature sensor or an electric motor, but it is important to know which temperature the sensor measures: the indoor temperature of a room or the temperature of the fridge and that the electric motor can open or close the blinds or move something to a different location. As it may not be possible to provide such semantic information by simply switching on the thing, the infrastructure should make adding it easy for users. Also, it may be possible to derive semantic information, given some basic information and additional knowledge, e.g. deriving information about a room, based on the information that a certain sensor is located in the room. This should be enabled by the infrastructure.

4.  Physical Location and Position- As the Internet of Things is strongly rooted in the physical world, the notion of physical location and position are very important, especially for finding things, but also for deriving knowledge. Therefore, the infrastructure has to support finding things according to location (e.g. geo-location-based discovery). Taking mobility into account, localization technologies will play an important role in the Internet of Things and may become embedded into the infrastructure of the Internet of Things.

5.   Security and Privacy, In addition, an infrastructure needs to provide support for security and privacy functions including identification, confidentiality, integrity, non-repudiation authentication, and authorization. Here the heterogeneity and the need for interoperability among different ICT systems deployed in the infrastructure and the resource limitations of IoT devices (e.g., Nanosensors) have to be taken into account.

Physical design of Internet of Things (IoT)
Generic block diagram of an IoT device


Devices like USB hosts and ETHERNET are used for connectivity between the devices and the server.


A processor like a CPU and other units is used to process the data. these data are further used to improve the decision quality of an IoT system.

Audio/Video Interfaces

An interface like HDMI and RCA devices is used to record audio and videos in a system.

Input/Output interface

To give input and output signals to sensors, and actuators we use things like UART, SPI, CAN, etc.

Storage Interfaces

Things like SD, MMC, and SDIO are used to store the data generated from an IoT device.

Other things like DDR and GPU are used to control the activity of an IoT system.

IoT Protocols

These protocols are used to establish communication between a node device and a server over the internet. it helps to send commands to an IoT device and receive data from an IoT device over the internet. we use different types of protocols that are present on both the server and client-side and these protocols are managed by network layers like application, transport, network, and link layer.

Physical design of Internet of Things (IoT)

Application Layer protocol

In this layer, protocols define how the data can be sent over the network with the lower layer protocols using the application interface. these protocols include HTTP, WebSocket, XMPP, MQTT, DDS, and AMQP protocols.


Hypertext transfer protocol is a protocol that presents in an application layer for transmitting media documents. it is used to communicate between web browsers and servers. it makes a request to a server and then waits till it receives a response and in between the request server does not keep any data between two requests. 


This protocol enables two-way communication between a client and a host that can be run on an untrusted code in a controlled environment. This protocol is commonly used by web browsers.


It is a machine-to-machine connectivity protocol that was designed as a publish/subscribe messaging transport. and it is used for remote locations where a small code footprint is required.

Transport Layer

This layer is used to control the flow of data segments and handle the error control. also, these layer protocols provide end-to-end message transfer capability independent of the underlying network.


The transmission control protocol is a protocol that defines how to establish and maintain a network that can exchange data in a proper manner using the internet protocol.


a user datagram protocol is a part of an internet protocol called the connectionless protocol. this protocol is not required to establish the connection to transfer data.

Network Layer

This layer is used to send datagrams from the source network to the destination network. we use IPv4 and IPv6 protocols as host identification that transfers data in packets.


This is a protocol address that is a unique and numerical label assigned to each device connected to the network. an IP address performs two main functions host and location addressing. IPv4 is an IP address that is 32-bit long.


It is a successor of IPv4 that uses 128 bits for an IP address. it is developed by the IETF task force to deal with long-anticipated problems.

Link Layer

Link-layer protocols are used to send data over the network’s physical layer. it also determines how the packets are coded and signaled by the devices.


It is a set of technologies and protocols that are used primarily in LANs. it defines the physical layer and the medium access control for wired ethernet networks.


It is a set of LAN protocols and specifies the set of media access control and physical layer protocols for implementing wireless local area networks.


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