Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

Altium Online Store

Buy any Altium Products with few clicks or send us your quote to contact our sales


Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool


    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions
  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

    The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use


    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience

    Altium Online Store

    Buy any Altium Products with few clicks or send us your quote to contact our sales


    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    PCB Technology Trends: The Benefits of Internet of Things Security Gateways

    November 9, 2017

    Glowing yellow spiral on black background

    Do you ever like to take a break from social situations for a few days and spend some quality time with your television? I do that maybe a little more often than I should, and last week I spent that time binge-watching the new season of Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about a girl with psychic powers who opens a portal to another dimension (the Upside Down) filled with creatures. The gateway to that world lets monsters loose, but in the Internet of Things gateways, or edge devices, can help you control monstrous devices. These gateways can help connect modern and legacy devices together, and they can funnel information from local area networks (LAN) to the wider Internet. There are three main advantages to directing Internet of Things (IoT) traffic through one portal: enhanced security, simpler connection protocols, and centralized processing.

    What is a IoT Gateway?

    You don’t have to be as smart as “Bob the Brain” to understand a smart IoT gateway. The gateway device has been invented to control the imminent flood of IoT gadgets. They can help us make sense of a distributed network of sensors or other devices by acting as a connection node for the system. In order to be useful as a gatekeeper, these gizmos generally have processing capabilities, storage, battery backup, an Internet connection, and can communicate via multiple different protocols.

    The diversity of the IoT application is one of its greatest strengths but could become a crippling weakness. With so many companies making different devices that use a variety of communication protocols, creating a coherent system could become difficult. Gateways help solve this problem for designers by giving us a single access point that we can route information through.

    In order to do its job effectively, an IoT portal will need several features including: local processing and storage, connection to the wide area network (WAN), reliable power, and multi-protocol communication.

    • Local Processing and Storage - While you may want to use the cloud for your heavy processing needs, your gateway will need an onboard microcontroller and storage in order to parse and collect data.

    • Internet Connection - Most large IoT systems will eventually route information online so that users can view their data. Every device hooked up to a portal may not have connection itself, so it’s critical that the gateway be able to upload to the Internet.

    • Reliable Power - Most sensors in an IoT network are low power so that they can operate for days, or even years, without having their batteries replaced. Your edge device will be constantly communicating with the sensors and parsing data, which will take a lot of energy. A good portal will have a battery backup or a low power state so that it never completely loses functionality. You don’t want your edge computing to flicker like Joyce’s Christmas lights.

    • Broad Connectivity - The IoT solution will use a variety of networks and protocols to connect sensors. In fact, you may want to mix and match protocols in your system, which is why it’s imperative that a gateway be able to handle any and all communication methods out there.

    CCTV headed man
    An IoT gateway can act as a security guard for your networks.


    Benefits of Edge Devices

    An IoT gateway provides a variety of extremely important benefits for sensor networks. They help improve the security of systems that can be as vulnerable to attack as poor Barb. Since edge devices act as a data node, they can also be used for centralized processing. Lastly, their multi-protocol communication capabilities can allow you to connect any sensor you choose, even extremely old ones.

    • Security - Cybersecurity is extremely important in all embedded systems, from cars to sensors. The primary benefit of using a gateway is that it reduces the exposure of your system. It also lets you secure a few high-level devices instead of a network of dumb sensors. Using a hub will let you easily secure far-flung gadgets, add on new ones, and rest easy knowing your entire network won’t turn into a botnet (like the shadow monster hive mind).

    • Processing - You may want to use something like a multi-sensor IoT platform with AI to inject some sense into your network. The problem, though, is that machine learning takes a lot of processing power. Far more than can be mounted on a typical low power IoT device. Gateways can either have onboard processors or use the cloud to connect to deep neural networks to add intelligence to your system. By using a portal to do the heavy lifting, your devices can get brains without batteries.

    • Connectivity - I’ve already mentioned that most edge devices will be able to communicate on all protocols. Let’s say, though, you also have old legacy devices on your system that you don’t want to get rid of. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to communicate directly with newer sensors. However, if you add that capability to your gateway you can seamlessly integrate aging sensors.

    Steve and Dustin from Stranger Things
    I think we’re all a little envious of Steve’s hair. Editorial credit: DFree /

    You may not be able to have Steve Harrington’s hair, but you can imitate Hawkin’s Lab with a gateway of your own. Instead of ending the world, your portal should enhance network connectivity, process data, connect to the Internet, and always stay on. The right edge device will enhance the security of your network, allow you to centralize processing, and could even let you integrate those old devices that are still running.

    Now that you don’t have to worry about someone hacking your network, you can create the IoT gateway device you’ve been dreaming of. Even Steve needed a bat to fight the Demogorgon, so you might want a little assistance in your designs. CircuitStudio® boasts a wide variety of advanced features that will make PCB design easy peasy.

    Have more questions about an IoT gateway? Call an expert at Altium Designer.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home